by Nick Sullivan
It may be Grand National weekend, but something far more important is happening in the North West this weekend as Blackheath pay their first league visit to the Paton Field home of Caldy (10th).
Our hosts, in common with this season’s other two promoted clubs, have had a great first season in National One, thoroughly deserving their place. A club promoting old fashion rugby values and ethics, the men from Southeast London will be thoroughly looking forward to their visit.
National One as at Thursday 12 April 2018
|2||Darlington Mowden Park||27||20||1||6||728||577||151||17||2||0||101|
|3||Ampthill and District||27||16||4||7||697||509||188||15||5||0||92|
Past Meetings and Recent Results
The form book is pretty bare for this fixture. The one previous league meeting was (obviously) earlier this season at Well Hall, where the home side took a 29 (4) – 17 (2) win.
Our hosts have won 1 of their last 3 fixtures. Last weekend, they travelled to ancient St Albans to face Old Albanian, putting up a tough fight but eventually going down 43 (6) – 25 (3) to the Hertfordshire side. Two weeks earlier, they narrowly defeated Moseley 21 (2) – 20 (3) at Paton Field for 4 points that likely dispelled any lingering relegation concerns. Finally, on 17 March, they rolled out the red carpet for Coventry and – not unexpectedly perhaps – ended up on the wrong end of the score line, going down 12 (2) – 55 (9) to the Champions.
Match Day Details
Kick off at Paton Field is 3pm. The man in the middle is Llyr ApGeraint-Roberts, ably assisted by Tudor Griffiths and Jason Garrick.
Not a bad day on the weather front tomorrow. Any early mist should burn off leaving a dry day with the odd spell of sunshine. Expect temperatures around 14 degrees for kick off with only a gentle southerly breeze.
If you are not travelling to The Wirral 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.
Around the Grounds
Elsewhere, with first place in the bag and DMP unlikely to relinquish second place over the next three games, it may be that Ampthill (3rd) have little to play for other than to defend their own position. Nevertheless, a cracking game could be in store at Dillingham Park as the Bedfordshire side host Champions Elect Coventry (1st).
Darlington Mowden Park (2nd) must be favourites to take five points at home to bottom placed Fylde (16th). Similarly, Plymouth Albion (5th), with 2 games in hand over everyone above them, probably fancy their chances of a bonus point win over visiting Moseley (8th).
The remaining four games all have a more direct impact on the relegation struggle. Probably safe Cambridge (9th) host slightly more concerned Esher (12th) at Volac Park. EEEs hover 8 points from the drop zone, although the Students’ side two places below them do have a game in hand. Speaking of them, Loughborough (14th) have a tough nut to crack as they take on Bishops Stortford (7th) on campus, although desperation for the points – and possibly some loan players from the Tigers’ Academy – may help give them an edge.
The two old boys’ sides meet in sunny Southeast London as Old Elthamians (6th) prepare for the visit of Old Albanians (15th). OEs must start as favourites although anything other than a win here will probably doom OAs to relegation. Finally, the other bottom of the table tussle sees Rosslyn Park (11th) welcome Hull Ionians to The Rock.
Good luck Blackheath and Come On Youuuu Cluuuuuub!