by Nick Sullivan
Back at home after last week’s disappointment at being unable to convert advantage into points at Ampthill, this weekend Blackheath welcome old friends and rivals Rosslyn Park (6th) to Well Hall.
The southwest London side sit three places above their hosts, by virtue of a losing bonus point and 2 more try bonus points. They may count themselves unlucky not to be 2 or 3 places higher and have already ticked off some tricky opponents from their ‘to do’ list. Overall, and despite two losses, Park have had a very solid start to the season and will provide a stern challenge for the home side tomorrow.
National One as at Friday 5 October 2018
|5||Ampthill & District||5||3||0||2||149||131||18||4||1||17|
|7||Darlington Mowden Park||5||3||0||2||124||121||3||3||0||15|
Past Meetings and Recent Results
These two have been knocking lumps out of each other for longer than anyone cares to remember. If we concentrate on the recent years when they have been together at Level Three (2010/11), the record is remarkably close. So close in fact, that it may not even be fair to say that it is just shaded by the Southeast London side.
Sixteen fixtures, eight wins to Club (4 home, 4 away), seven to Rosslyn Park (4 home, 3 away) and one draw. Both have scored 170 points in their home fixtures across those 8 seasons. Park have scored 149 points in the away matches, with this weekend’s hosts just nicking that, having potted 153 away at Priory Lane. The solitary draw came at Well Hall last December, the teams ending up two tries and seventeen points apiece in the cold and dark 2 days before Christmas. That was a much improved Rosslyn Park side over the one Blackheath had played 3 months earlier, winning away 6 – 25 in Southwest London.
More recently, the majority of the Park faithful believe that they left 3 points in Darlington last weekend, coming up short of a win at 34 – 33. Five tries and a losing bonus point were their only reward from the visit to DMP, falling to a try in the last few minutes whilst reduced to 14 players. Not many sides are likely to better that at the Arena this year.
A home tie the week before saw our guests hand Old Elthamians their first defeat of the season, with a tough fought encounter ending 37(4) – 24(3) in the home side’s favour. The weekend prior to that, Park’s indiscipline saw them kicked to defeat 29 (1) – 12(2) away at newcomers Rotherham in what was otherwise a closely contested game. The prolific boot of the Yorkshire side’s full back slotted 8 penalties to slowly move his side out of the visitors’ reach.
Match Day Details
Kick off at Well Hall is 3pm. The man in the middle is Dr Jonathan Cook ably assisted by Christopher Bartlett and Tracy Pettingale.
On the weather front, it looks as though Mother Nature intends making things difficult this weekend. Cloud is likely to darken over the course of Saturday with heavy rain expected by mid-afternoon. Temperatures will be around 12 degrees with gentle 12 mph breeze from the north, leaving an overall chilly feel to the day.
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 pm.
Blackheath First XV V Rosslyn Park HOME 6 October 2018
|12||Markus Burcham (Capt)|
Around the Grounds
Last weekend saw Caldy (1st) leapfrog from 3rd to top of the league following a squeaky bonus point home win over Esher. EEEs almost salvaged a draw with the last kick of the game, but the missed conversion meant it was not to be. A tough ask for the Wirral side to stay top of the shop this time out though, as they have the 300-odd mile journey south to Plymouth Albion (11th). The Devon side are looking to kick start their season following a disappointing loss away at Cambridge last weekend.
Previous leaders Cinderford (4th) dropped three places following a home loss to 2nd placed Chinnor and are hoping to make amends on their trip to Esher’s (14th) leafy suburbs this Saturday. Chinnor (2nd) maintain their place as they prepare to welcome Bishops Stortford (13th) to Kingsey Road. Old Elthamians’ (3rd) march up the table continues following a home victory against Moseley. They now look forward to a replay of the 2016/17 N2 play off as they hit the road for Sale FC’s (10th) Heywood Road ground.
Blackheath’s vanquishers of last weekend, Ampthill (5th), have a second home tie in a row as they host Blackheath’s opponents of next weekend, Cambridge (8th), to Dillingham Lane. Darlington Mowden Park (8th), victors over Ross Park last time out, trek to the West Midlands to meet Birmingham Moseley (15th).
Finally, and still looking for their first win of the semester after being on the wrong end of a 57 – 25 result at Bishops Stortford, bottom of the heap Loughborough Students (16th) hope that home advantage will count against a slowly improving Rotherham (12th) side.
Good luck Blackheath and Come On Youuuu Cluuuuuub!