The Big Match: Blackheath v Plymouth Albion

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by Nick Sullivan

And…It’s Ladies’ Day

It’s eyes down for Club’s penultimate game of the season as they look to arrest a recent poor run of form and find their first win in four outings. A tough ask as they welcome Plymouth Albion (2nd) to well Hall, unbeaten in 11 and needing only one more point to guarantee second place behind Hartpury as the curtain starts to close on the 2016/17 campaign.

Past Meetings and Recent Results

This will only be the 6th time the two sides have met since the millennium, with Albion holding the whip hand. Way back when you got 2 points for a win and one for a draw in the 2000/01 season, the Devon side were victorious 41 – 0 at home and 13 – 19 when visiting Rectory Field.

Blackheath’s one win in the series to date came in the first half of last season, a convincing 34 – 3 home win in November 2015. Albion took the return match 20- 19 though, the tight score line not accurately reflecting Plymouth’s dominance. This season’s first meeting was at Brickfields a couple of weeks before Christmas, the home side running out 20 – 5 victors.

More recently, Albion are on an 11 match winning streak, their last defeat being away at Rosslyn Park in the first weekend of January. Their last three have seen them nil Blaydon with a 45 (7) – 0 (0) demolition at Brickfields on 25 March, followed by a very narrow 18 (2) – 21 (3) away win at Macclesfield on April Fool’s Day. That was followed by another tough home game the following week in which they held off top end rivals Ampthill to win 19 (3) – 14 (2).

Match Day Details

Kick off at Well Hall is at the usual time of 3 pm. Ensuring fair play is Gareth Holsgrove, ably assisted by Simon Dodd and Tracy Pettingale.

The weather doesn’t show much change from earlier in the week. Overcast and perhaps the odd shower in the morning, but slowly brightening up as the day goes on, although chillier than today. Expect sunny spells by kick off with temperatures around 11/12 degrees and a gentle 5mph north-easterly breeze.

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 Plymouth Albion HOME 22 April 2017

15. Mike MVELASE
14. Tom CHAPMAN
13. Markus BURCHAM (Capt)
12. Alex PICKERSGILL
11. Dan HAMILTON
10. Mark COOKE
9. Jake BEDDING
1. Aston CROALL
2. Harry FRY
3. George BAKER
4. Freddie OWEN
5. Tom STRADWICK
6. Chris WALKER
7. Jesse LISTON
8. Tom BALDWIN

16. Mike PERKS
17. Bertie HASKINS
18. Devin MONTGOMERY
19. Gregor GILLANDERS
20. Simon WHATLING

Around the Grounds

The excitement this weekend is at the bottom end of the table, with three teams still vying for the second relegation place. We have Blaydon (15th) with home advantage over Rosslyn Park (6th), narrowly beaten at home by Hull Ionians last time out. This time out around, that same Hull (14th) team also benefits from home advantage over Old Albanian (9th). Last in the mix are Fylde (13th) who meet Loughborough Students (10th) at The Woodlands. Three points for the Lancashire side will see them home and dry.

At the other end of the table, Hartpury’s (1st) victory over Moseley last time around gives them the record league points score at level three (138, surpassing Esher’s record of 135 in 2009/10) and a home win over Macclesfield (16th) this weekend will give them the record number of wins in a season (they are currently tied with that same Esher side on 28).

Speaking of Esher (11th) and Moseley (4th), they meet at Molesey Road in leafy North Surrey tomorrow, whilst Ampthill (3rd) are on home turf against Cambridge (12th). Finally, Coventry (5th), who have announced a raft of retentions and signings in the last couple of weeks, have their last home game of the season as they take on Darlington Mowden Park (8th) at the BPA.

Heathens

No league action for the Heathens this weekend who are on duty at Ladies’ day.

Good luck Blackheath and Come On Youuuu Cluuuuuub!

Graham Cox

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