The Big Match: Blackheath v Loughborough Students

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by Nick Sullivan

Hopefully, last weekend’s welcome break has allowed some battered bodies to recover in time for this weekend’s clash with Loughborough Students (15th).

There were some significant changes in the Student’s set up over the closed season. Director of Rugby, and former Club hooker, Dave Morris moved on to London Scottish. Stepping into Dave’s boots is former Head of Performance Alan Buzza, albeit Alan is not entirely new to the role, having been there before between 2001 and 2009. Alongside that change, Luff have also formed a partnership with Leicester Tigers. The latter’s Development Coach, Brett Deacon, also now leads the Student’s team in National One. The arrangement allows the Premiership side to make use of their partner’s training facilities and gives their young guns the opportunity to better integrate and play a high standard of rugby whilst representing the Student’s side. Loughborough, of course, gain access to the players and a high standard of technical and management know-how.

The League

National One as at Friday 24 November 2017

Table.jpg

Past Meetings and Recent Results

Loughborough have been plying their trade in National One since the 2012/13 season.

Oddly, Blackheath have a better away record than home record – the figures show 2 wins, 2 losses and a draw at home as against 4 wins and a single loss on the road. Last season, though, Club lost both encounters – 26 – 32 at home in November and 35 – 32 away in March.

More recently, Luff’s last three saw them beat Hull Ionians convincingly 58 (9) – 29 (4) at the end of October, followed by a 36 (6) – 10 (1) away defeat at Moseley the week after. Their latest match, on 11 November, witnessed a solid 37 (4) – 18 (2) home win against Old Albanian.

Match Day Details

Kick off at Well Hall is 3pm. Officiating is Daniel Collins ably assisted by Stephen Light and Timothy Bailey.

Mother Nature plans a mostly dry day with sunny spells. Temperatures are dipping though, with it not expecting to get much beyond 5 degrees, not helped by a cool 12 mph westerly breeze, so make sure you wrap up.

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 5.00 pm.

Team News

Blackheath First XV V Loughborough Students HOME 25 November 2017

15. Leo FIELDING
14. Geoff GRIFFITHS
13. Markus BURCHAM (Capt)
12. Mark COOKE
11. Jake LLOYD
10. Joe TARRANT
9. Josh DAVIES
1. Haydon KING
2. Mike PERKS
3. Danny HERRIOTT
4. Chukwuma OSAZUWA
5. Tom STRADWICK
6. Freddie OWEN
7. Harry BATE
8. Tom BALDWIN

16. Harry FRY
17. James HALLAM
18. Hugh MCCORMICK-HOUSTON
19. Jack WALSH
20. Sam EVANS

Around the Grounds

Match of the day must be the battle royale between league leaders Coventry (1st) and Plymouth Albion (3rd) at the BPA.

Blackheath’s most recent conquerors, Bishops Stortford (6th) will hope to replicate their second half performance in that match as they welcome Darlington Mowden Park (2nd) to Silver Leys. Ampthill (4th) could be in for a tough fight at home against improving Rosslyn Park (11th). Moseley (7th) also have home advantage over visiting Caldy (12th), whilst our near neighbours Old Elthamians (8th) travel to Brantingham Park to face Hull Ionians (13th).

Elsewhere, Esher (10th) will aim to pick up the points at home to Fylde (16th) and Old Albanian (14th) prepare their Woollams home for visiting Cambridge (9th).

Heathens

The Heathens have stumbled in their last couple of matches, now finding themselves sixth in Zoo 1 on 32 points, the pace currently being set by Old Elthamians in first on 41 points.

A chance to improve their lot this weekend as the boys travel to darkest Oxfordshire to face Chinnor IIs (14th).

Good luck Blackheath and Come On Youuuu Cluuuuuub!

Graham Cox

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