Sunday 3rd December 2017 saw half of the UK under a varying amount of snow and not alot of rugby was played as a result. Fast forward to Sunday 9th December 2018 and 80mins of rugby had only one score to separate the two teams.
Reading had the better start, stringing phase play and accurate passing together to enter the opposition 22 within 2 minutes of play. Strong defence from wing combination Jen Evans and Elaine Jaxon forced a knock on from Reading’s fullback allowing Blackheath to exit. Hard fought defence from Blackheath would be the story of the next 80 minutes.
A lot can be said for the very different game, the last time these two teams met (39-0 result to Blackheath at home) but the underlying fact was that this was to be a hard fought and very tight affair. It’s not often a game is 0-0 at half time, especially with a bitterly cold and strong, end to end, December breeze. But scoreless we were when the teams changed ends.
After what seemed like three games worth of time, Club were found camped on our own try line for the umpteenth time, again repelling attack after attack. The ref eventually decided to award a penalty in front of the posts, which was duly taken for a 3 point lead. 58 mins played.
Club took that as the touch paper to ignite their attack and off the resulting restart, turned ball over and quickly into decent possession. The 10, 12 & 13 combining well to release Tahn Talbot on the right hand side. The covering tackler resulting in a yellow card and 10 mins on the sideline.
Club took the scrum option at the penalty and executed a lovely backline move. Aoife, who had been crashing up everything she got at 12 and making great yards, was used as a dummy runner, allowing Frankie to release our potent running option at 13.
Lyndsay, with her trademark bend and sidestep cut through the covering defence and then totally bamboozled the fullback to dot down under the posts. She smashed the resulting conversion through the uprights (and into the next field) to make a powerful statement. Thats how you convert possession into points!
Last 10 mins saw Club defending the lead, keeping possession and running the clock into the red.
Not the prettiest performance, but a hard fought one from both teams and for Club, that so far illusive (and valuable) Away Win has been obtained.
Reading 3 – Blackheath 7.
Back of the Match: Julia Gulia / Forward of the Match: Charlotte
Sunday 16th December, By Lyndsay Whitley
Blackheath have a history of frustrating performance against Trojans and with Trojans currently at the bottom of the table, Club knew that Trojans would come out fighting, desperate to avoid relegation from a league they undoubtedly deserve to be in.
The game started with a good pace, although somewhat frantic and Trojans showed their dominance in the rucks, making sure that Blackheath didn’t get too much clean ball. But Blackheath proved their dominance in the scrums, and after a number of scrums El Shorrock was held up on the line! This time the backline decided to stop the forwards fun in the scrum and get the ball out early, with a well-executed dummy switch, a space open up for Captain Frankie Newby to break through, offloading to Lyndsay Whitley for a try close to the posts, converted. In a very even game with a number of errors from both sides, Trojans kicked a penalty-goal to take the game to 7-3 at Half Time.
Not long after the restart of play, Blackheath were punished when knock-on was capitalised by the Trojans centre, who showed her Footballing skills to dribble the ball over the whitewash and dot down under the posts. With the try converted the score was 7-10 Trojans. Flanker Janet was brought on, hoping to make an impact with her dominant hits and carries, but unfortunately was shown a Yellow moments after coming on for a repeated infringement. Trojans were savvy to the reduction in numbers and with their fly-half showing Blackheath why they need to reduce their penalty count, despite our views differing with the ref as to what constitutes a high tackle, Trojans scored out wide after kicking their way up the pitch, with the try unconverted it was 7-15 Trojans.
Spurred on to prove their worth and show their dominance on home soil, it came to stalwart Becky Watling to cross the line next, and score for Blackheath, after some slick hands but good defence on the line, a number of phases later, she was able to break the line, with a difficult kick converted, the score was 14-15.
In the closest of games, Trojans played tactically, and when a penalty presented itself in front of the posts, a penalty goal was scored to bring the score to 14-18. Undeterred by the score line, Blackheath pressed hard, back three Elaine, Tash and Jacqueline were under constant pressure as Trojans made use of a big boot and played a territory game. Aoife Fehilly came on for Blackheath and her presence lifted the squad, with some dominant carries and excellent rucking, Blackheath found themselves in the attacking 22, with just under 2 minutes to go. Despite some frantic attempts to crash over the line, Club were stalled, however, the defence was sucked in, a call from the backs to highlight space on out wide and the ball was passed down the line for fullback Elaine Jaxon to dot down, 5m to the right of the posts, 19-18 Blackheath. With under 1:30 to go Lyndsay Whitley showed her experience, running down the clock, much to some of the oppositions disgust. In what was a game of fine margins, here, using every second of that last 1:30 to keep the ball in Blackheath’s possession would be key, albeit a simple conversion was shanked wide. 19-18 Blackheath.
With under 30 seconds to go, the kick-off was gathered by Club and taken into ruck after ruck, retaining possession, before Captain Frankie Newby checked the time and decidedly kicked the ball to touch for Blackheath to take the win.
A game we made somewhat difficult for ourselves, but showed our resilience and determination to come back from a losing position to take the win!
Forward of the match: Aoife Fehilly / Back of the match: Tashana Goode / Sponsors player: Becky Watling
Blackheath U15 A team faced a committed Folkestone team in their final round of the Kent Cup pool games before the knock out phases next year. On a sunny but chilly Sunday morning, Blackheath started fast and continued to play their trademark, expansive 15-man rugby spreading the ball wide and running the ball from all areas of the field.
At half time Blackheath lead 24-0 Folkestone’s loud supporters were treated to a fast flowing rugby match as Blackheath dealt with the large Folkestone pack and their persistent ‘pick and drive’ while continuing to run the ball from all areas of the park.
Final score: 43-0.