The Big Match: Blackheath v Bishops Stortford

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England Deaf v New Zealand Deaf

by Nick Sullivan


Well, the good news is that if you forgot to put your clock back last weekend, you’ll turn up at the right time for tomorrow’s clash, as Blackheath (5th) welcome Bishops Stortford (6th) to Well Hall for an earlier than usual 2 pm kick off.


Promoted as winners of National Two South last season, Stortford have been there or thereabouts at the top of Level Four for a few seasons now and have shown themselves well suited to life in National One so far, sitting next to Blackheath in the table.


Note the earlier kick off tomorrow is to help accommodate the subsequent England v New Zealand international which kicks off at Well Hall at 5pm.  The match is included as part of the entry price to the league match at no additional cost or £10 in isolation after 3pm.  So why not hang around for the afternoon to see fireworks of a different sort…



The League


National One as at Friday 3 November 2017




Past Meetings and Recent Results


The cupboard is bare on the past meetings front as this is the first occasion that the two sides have met in league action.


Stortford’s recent matches have all resulted in narrow wins.  Kicking boots made the difference in the earliest of those, the Hertfordshire side edging a 4 try apiece home clash against Hull Ionians 35 – 31 on 14 October.  The following weekend, our guests travelled Northwest to Birmingham, once again securing a four-try bonus point as they beat Birmingham Moseley 25 – 27.


Finally, last time out, our visitors claimed bragging rights at home in the local derby against Old Albanian.  Stortford’s error count never allowed them to escape entirely from their opponents, but they showed sufficient strength to hold off the OA challenge and take an 18 – 14 victory.



Match Day Details


Kick off at Well Hall is at the earlier time of 2 pm.  Keeping track of proceedings is Matthew Carley, ably assisted around the edges by David Parsons and Tracy Pettingale.


Mother Nature has decided that it’s time to crank up the autumn/winter weather, sending us heavy rain through parts of the morning, clearing over the course of the afternoon.  Temperatures will just about reach double figures at 11 degrees accompanied by a 10mph west wind.


If you cannot make Well Hall this weekend, don’t forget the always excellent Graham Cox on BBC Radio Kent (96.7 FM, 104.2 FM, 774 AM, DAB & On-line) who provides live score updates and reports, post-match interviews, plus a full round-up National League results for all Kent clubs after 5 pm.



Team News


A third of the way into the season and the bumps and bruises are having their attritional effect.  Mark Cooke is recovering from a knock he took against DMP but should be back in a couple of weeks.  Neale Patrick needs an injured shoulder checked out and Jamie Davies is likely to be out for ongoing treatment until at least the New Year.


Tom Stradwick replaces Neale in the second row and Alex Pickersgill slots into Mark Cooke’s space.  Sam Evans returns from Sidcup to join the bench.


Blackheath First XV V Bishop’s Stortford  HOME 4 November 2017


      15. Leo FIELDING


      14. Jake LLOYD


      13. Markus BURCHAM (Capt)


      12. Alex PICKERSGILL


      11. Geoff GRIFFITHS


      10. Joe TARRANT


      9. Josh DAVIES


      1. Hayden KING


      2. Matt MILES


      3. Danny HERRIOTT


      4. Chukwuma OSAZUWA


      5. Tom STRADWICK


      6. Freddie OWEN


      7. Harry BATE


      8. Tom BALDWIN

16. Mike PERKS
17. James HALLAM
19. Jack WALSH
20. Sam EVANS




Around the Grounds


Around and about, league leaders Coventry (1st) are now 7 points clear following their 7 – 40 away win at Cambridge last time out.  Back at home tomorrow, they are favourites to take another 5 points from their game against Caldy (13th) at the BPA.  Nearest challengers Darlington Mowden Park (2nd) hope to follow up last weekend’s final gasp home victory over Plymouth when they visit North Surrey to face Esher (11th).  The home side will be buoyed by their second home gate in a row and brimming with confidence after putting Blackheath to the sword.


Plymouth Albion (3rd) themselves have their second away trip in a row, this time hoping to make amends for last weekend’s defeat as they visit Rosslyn Park (10th).  The Southwest London side good value for money but coming up short 34 – 27 at OE’s last weekend.  Speaking of the Old Boys, Old Elthamians (7th) hit the road this time out as they head up the M1 to take on Ampthill (4th).  The home side’s powerful pack probably starts as favourites against the away side’s flying wingers but anything could happen.


The last of the top half sides, Moseley (8th), return home following a squeaky away win at Fylde to take on second from bottom Loughborough Students (15th).  The college side, attracting some attention recently for the number of Leicester Development players apparently available to them, will hope to build on a high-scoring 58 – 29 home win against Ionians.  Hull Ionians (14th) themselves welcome Cambridge (9th) to Brantingham Park in what could be a cracking game.  Finally, Old Albanian (12th), narrow 18 – 14 losers at Stortford last weekend, start November with a home tie against bottom of the shop Fylde (16th).




The Heathens fared better than their counterparts last weekend, beating Esher Cardinals 34 – 38 at Molesey Road.  That result lifts them to 3rd (29 pts) in the table, behind OEs in 2nd (31 pts) and league leaders London Scottish (31 pts).


This weekend, the boys entertain Bishops Stortford IIs at Rectory Field.  Kick-off is at 2 pm.






Good luck Blackheath and Come On Youuuu Cluuuuuub!


Graham Cox

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