Can Club put the Squeeze on OEs?
by Nick Sullivan
Well Hall opens its gates for the first home tie of the season as it welcomes local rivals Old Elthamians to the party this weekend.
If you usually get a 126 bus on a Saturday, prepare for a tight fit this time out as the old boys’ squad from Mottingham hop on board for Eltham High Street and the short walk down the road to Well Hall.
Of course, one of the difficulties checking up on our adversaries this weekend is that my computer keeps offering me cut price tickets to the Robin Hood Experience, asking if I fancy a trip to the Lace Market or telling me that it’s too late to book for this year’s test against India. Sheer bloody-mindedness prevails of course and I eventually discover, somewhat unexpectedly, that the late, great, Denis Healey is one of Mottingham’s most famous sons. No, seriously, the man whose various descriptions of his colleagues and opponents included ‘he has the face of a man who clubs baby seals’ (and that was of a colleague) and it’s ‘like being savaged by a dead sheep’ (of arguing with an opponent) was akshully a Southeast London boy. Equally famously, he is associated with ‘…when you realise you’re in a hole, stop digging…’, which is what halted me in my tracks when I thought about using the baby seals line in a description of the front row. Or, indeed, dead sheep and being tackled by a scrum-half.
So, anyway…newcomer Chinnor’s opening day away win over Plymouth stole the limelight last weekend, allowing Elthamians’ own performance to creep under the radar. Gavin Lach’s old boys’ kicked their season off with a 33 – 34 victory in South Yorkshire over relegated Rotherham Titans. Despite that appearing a narrow win, our guests were 18 – 34 up, looking well in control, on 70 minutes, before a succession of injuries left them fielding 3 forwards in the back line. Cue a harum scarum final 10 and a redoubtable backs-to-the-wall defensive display to win the day. Of course, it is early days, squads are still rusty and nobody is quite sure who’s hot and who’s not, but that looks like a very impressive victory all things considered. Blackheath will need to show their mettle on Saturday if they are to come away with the points.
National One as at Friday 7 September 2018
Blimey, look who’s top.
|2||Ampthill & District||1||1||0||0||43||34||9||1||0||5|
|4||Darlington Mowden Park||1||1||0||0||26||23||3||1||0||5|
Past Meetings and Recent Results
Despite a number of historic Kent Cup clashes, and the fact that both clubs have occupied the same piece of geography for 107 years now, last season was the first league meeting between the two sides. The first match, at OEs College Meadow home a week or so before last Christmas, resulted in a convincing 32 – 7 win for the old boys. Revenge of sorts for the men in red and black in the penultimate game of the season, though, as the Well Hall mob ran out 28 – 23 victors on 21 April.
This time out, Elthamians’ pre-season preparations culminated in a three day camp in Jersey where they put in a strong performance although ultimately falling short 35 – 7 to Harvey Biljon’s islanders’ side. Their first league match of the season saw them dominate the relegated Rotherham Titans’ side in most facets of the game. A solid all round performance saw OE’s scoop a well-deserved 33-34 bonus point victory at Clifton Lane.
Blackheath First XV V Old Elthamians HOME 8 September 2018
|13||Markus Burcham (Capt)|
Match Day Details
Kick off at Well Hall is at 3pm. The man in charge is Veryan Boscawen, ably assisted around the edges by David Parsons and James Davies.
The Greene King bar will open for refreshment at midday, and if you can get down early you’ll be able to catch the Bandits taking on Askeans, which also gets under way at noon.
Mother Nature’s mood is likely to be a little cooler than last weekend. The wind will pick up to a breezy 12/13 mph and there will be bright spells as well as an on-and-off chance of patchy, drizzly showers. Temperatures will reach a daytime high of around 19 by kick off.
If you cannot make Well Hall on Saturday, 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.
Around the Grounds
Elsewhere…it’s the second week of the campaign and time for what passes as ‘local derby’ weekend, although in some cases a rather sympathetic definition of ‘local’ is required. Esher hope to bounce back from last weekend’s disappointment as they host their second home game in a row, welcoming a chastened Plymouth Albion, also looking to avenge a week 1 setback, to Molesey Road. Darlington Mowden Park have their first home tie of the season as they welcome Rotherham Titans to the Northern Echo Arena.
Kingsey Road, home of last week’s belle of the ball Chinnor, prepares for its first ever National One fixture as the tough prospect of second placed Ampthill comes a-calling. Rosslyn Park brush down their sparkly 4G pitch prior to Bishops Stortford’s foray to Southwest London, whilst Cinderford leave their Forest of Dean home for the bright lights of Moseley’s Billesley Common. Sale FC, who have recently announced closer working ties with Sale Sharks, roll out the red carpet at Heywood Road for visiting Caldy.
Finally, Cambridge head the 80-odd miles northwest to the Loughborough University Stadium to face the students in what could prove to be a high-scoring game.
Good luck Blackheath and Come On Youuuu Cluuuuuub!