The Big Match: Blackheath v Darlington Mowden Park

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Least said, soonest mended?

by Nick Sullivan

Who knows, although nobody will want to dwell on last weekend’s performance in St Albans.

Blackheath have a chance to pull things together this weekend as they welcome Darlington Mowden Park (9th) to Well Hall. It’s a 2pm kick off in Southeast London to allow everyone a chance to get to the bar for the Calcutta Cup showdown at 4pm.

The County Durham side have recently announced the retention of 4 influential players for next season’s campaign – club captain and full-back Chris Auld, centre Ben Frankland, Tongan lock/back-row Talite Vaioleti and South African 2nd row Dave Fisher.

DMP sit ninth in the table, 2 places and 7 points behind their hosts and are gunning to take advantage of Club’s poor run of form and avenge a loss at the Northern Echo Arena back in November.

Past Meetings and Recent Results

This is the third season these two sides have met. Blackheath chalked up their first away victory at DMP earlier this season and hope to replicate that success tomorrow. The two previous meetings at Rectory Field resulted in a 29 – 27 win in March 2015 and a slightly more convincing 23 – 7 win, largely built on a dominant first half performance, in September 2015.

Darlo though, will have different ideas. They are clearly the form side of the two opponents, having won all of their last three. They beat Loughborough Students 27 (2) – 13 (1) at home on 11 February, and followed that with an impressive 19 (3) – 21 (3) away at Moseley on 8 February. Most recently, they hammered Macclesfield 48 (7) – 12 (2) in Darlington last weekend.

Match Day Details

Remember it’s an early kick off this weekend – the starting gun is fired at 2pm at Well Hall. Ensuring fair play is Matthew O’Grady, ably assisted by Simon Dodd and Tracy Pettingale.

As for the weather, its looking positively balmy compared to the last week. Temperatures should perk up to 13/14 degrees by kick off with some light cloud and a gentle 7mph southerly wafting its way across southeast London.

If you cannot make the game 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 5.00 pm.

Team News

Blackheath First XV V Darlington Mowden Park HOME 11 March 2017 – KO 2 PM

15. Jamie DAVIES
14. Tom CHAPMAN
13. Leo FIELDING
12. Markus BURCHAM (Capt)
11. Alex PICKERSGILL
10. Mark COOKE
9. Simon WHATLING
1. Aston CROALL
2. Mike PERKS
3. Kieron SCUTT
4. Gregor GILLANDERS
5. Devin MONTGOMERY
6. Freddie OWEN
7. Jesse LISTON
8. Tom BALDWIN

16. Adam KWASNICKI
17. George BAKER
18. Tom STRADWICK
19. Joe MCEVOY
20. Sam ISAACS

Around the Grounds

The analytical will have noticed that, bar any points’ deductions, Blackheath are now mathematically safe from relegation. Similarly, if Hartpury (1st) gain at least 3 points at home this weekend, they will be mathematically champions. Standing between them and that momentous achievement are Old Albanian (8th).

Their nearest rivals, Plymouth Albion (2nd) have a tough ask away at Moseley (4th), although the hosts have been faltering in recent weeks. Two big packs meet 20 miles down the road as Coventry (6th) have a home tie against Ampthill (3rd).

Rosslyn Park (5th), who came close to toppling Hartpury at the Rock last weekend, travel the short distance to North Surrey to face Esher (12th). At the other end of the table, it is probably too late for Macclesfield (16th) to pull anything out of the bag but if they lose their match tomorrow, and Blaydon (14th) win theirs, the Blues will be in a hair’s breadth of mathematical relegation. Macc have a home clash against Loughborough Students (10th), whilst Blaydon travel to Hull Ionians (15th), in what should be an intense relegation dogfight.

Finally, the Lancashire coast sees two expansive sides going at it when Fylde (11th) take on Cambridge (13th).

Heathens

The Heathens (2nd) are back in Zoo League action tomorrow as they have home advantage in a tough local derby against Old Elthamians (7th). The Heathens are looking to avenge a narrow 18 – 13 away loss early September.

This match is also at Well Hall tomorrow with a 1 pm kick-off.

15. Mike Mvelase
14. Hubert Dampier
13. Elliot Simmons
12. Ed Oram
11. Matt Wekpe
10. Ian Cross
9. Lloyd Swift
1. Bertie Haskins
2. Conor Mitchell
3. Chris Shorter
4. Robert Field
5. Matt Patching
6. Arby Keheli
7. Ruairi Fallon
8. Tom Ellis

16. George Greenwood
17. David Le Bas
18. Jordan Guy
19. Steve McNamara
20. Alex Tate.

Good luck Blackheath and Come On Youuuu Cluuuuuub!

Graham Cox

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