The Big Match: Blackheath v Cambridge

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Note 2pm Kick off

Blackheath return home this weekend, hoping to put a disappointing January behind them. 

This time out of the blocks, they welcome old sparring partners, and Shanners’ former charges,  Cambridge (12th) to Well Hall.  Cambs have had an on-off season to date, with some impressive performances being offset by patchy form elsewhere.  Games between these two are usually high scoring (averaging 58 a game) and, with a dry – if a bit nippy – day in prospect, there could be some fireworks.

Please note the slightly earlier kick off time, allowing everyone the chance to hit the bar and watch the Ireland/England match in Dublin aft the final whistle.

The League

National One as at Friday 1 February 2019

Psn Club Pld W D L F A PD TBP LBP Points
1 Old Elthamians 20 14 2 4 522 391 131 9 2 71
2 Ampthill & District 20 13 1 6 576 398 178 12 5 71
3 Rosslyn Park 20 13 1 6 547 466 81 10 3 67
4 Blackheath 20 13 1 6 488 406 82 8 4 66
5 Rotherham 20 12 0 8 487 430 57 7 4 59
6 Chinnor 20 10 2 8 507 530 -23 10 5 59
7 Cinderford 20 10 1 9 436 443 -7 8 4 54
8 Plymouth Albion 20 10 0 10 422 426 -4 7 5 52
9 Darlington Mowden Park 20 9 1 10 466 504 -38 9 4 51
10 Sale FC 20 8 1 11 494 564 -70 6 4 44
11 Caldy 20 8 0 12 409 496 -87 6 6 44
12 Cambridge 20 8 1 11 394 416 -22 3 6 43
13 Bishops Stortford 20 7 0 13 472 403 69 7 7 42
14 Esher 20 8 0 12 409 527 -118 4 5 41
15 Birmingham Moseley 20 6 1 13 506 560 -54 7 8 41
16 Loughborough Students 20 5 0 15 531 706 -175 12 5 37

Past Meetings and Recent Results

Other than a three year sojourn between 2013/14 and 15/16, these two have been knocking lumps out of each other since 2006.  In the 19 games they have played in that period, Blackheath score an average of 30 points to their guests’ 29.

Whilst Club’s overall record in the series is won 11, drawn 1, lost 7, on home turf it becomes won 8 lost 1.  The one loss was a high-scoring 41 – 43 reversal in the 2008/09 season.  Blackheath won the fixture last season 23 (4) – 12 (0) and also the reverse fixture this season 24 (3) – 46 (6). 

More recently, Cambridge have won one and lost two of their last three.  The earliest, on 12 January, saw a close 28 (4) – 20 (3) home win over struggling Esher.  In Devon the following week, they fell victim to Plymouth Albion, succumbing 29 (4) – 17 (2) at Brickfields.  Last weekend, they had the unenviable task of taking on in-form Ampthill, losing 11 (1) – 22 (3) to the Bedfordshire mob.

Match Day Details

Kick off at Well Hall is at the earlier time of 2pm to allow everyone time to get to the bar for coverage of the Ireland/England game at the Aviva Stadium.  The man in the middle is Nick Wood, ably assisted round the edges by Matthew Shales and Robert Carnell.

It looks like it will be far drier tomorrow than it has been for the last couple of days.  There will be the odd burst of sunshine, and temperatures will hit around 5 degrees with a 12mph northwesterly breeze.

Team News

Blackheath First XV V Cambridge  HOME 2 February 2019

15.       Leo FIELDING

14.       Jake LLOYD

13.       Alex PICKERSGILL

12.       Markus BURCHAM (Capt)

11.       Elliott CLEMENTS-HILL

10.       Joe TARRANT

9.         Jack DALY

1.         George DAVIS

2.         Harry FRY

3.         Matt BEESLEY

4.         Tom STRADWICK

5.         Josh PETERS

6.         Anders NILSSON

7.         Andrew DAISH

8.         James CATT

16.       Mike PERKS

17.       Tom WILLIAMS

18.       Freddie OWEN

19.       Stef LIEBENBERG

20.       Mark COOKE

   

Around the Grounds

After an eventually convincing 32 (4) – 14 (2) win over Sale, top of the shop Old Elthamians (1st) head north to Leicestershire to face bottom of the heap Loughborough Students (16th).  The Students were unexpected 23 (2) – 29 (4) winners away at Roth last weekend and, whilst undoubtedly a confidence boost, there remains something of a David and Goliath feel to this clash.

Ampthill (2nd), equal on points with the leaders, managed to win 11 (1) – 22 (3) away at their bogey side Cambridge last time out.  This weekend, they roll out the red carpet for visiting Caldy (11th).  The Wirral side lost 3 – 27 at home to Plymouth last week and are looking for their first win in 7 matches tomorrow although that seems unlikely in the face of Amp’s current form.  Lurking a solitary win behind them are Blackheath’s latest vanquishers, Rosslyn Park (3rd).   Park head the 130 miles to Birmingham to meet Moseley (15th), the West Midland team looking to improve on a 17-all draw away at DMP.

Rotherham (5th) have the difficult job of taking on Chinnor (6th) at Kingsey Road.  These two sit next to each other in the table and, whilst home advantage may be the deciding factor, Chinnor also have to psychologically recover from a 47 (7) – 10 (1) mauling at Bishop’s Stortford.  Plymouth Albion (8th) host a Cinderford (7th) side that nilled Esher at Dockhams Road last time out. 

Another two sides next to each other in the table are Darlington Mowden Park (9th) who travel to Sale (10th) in what is a tough game to call.  Finally, Esher (14th) host Bishop’s Stortford (13th) at Molesey Road.   

Good luck Blackheath and Come On Youuuu Cluuuuuub!

By Nick Sullivan

Tim Brindle

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