Match preview by Nick Sullivan
A blast from the past this weekend, as Blackheath welcome old friends from Cinderford RFC (9th) to Southeast London for the first time since September 2015.
Promoted as Champions of National Two South last season, Cinderford return to National One after a two year break. Whilst not yet mathematically safe from relegation, our guests look pretty comfortable in mid-table and it is difficult to see them under any real threat.
National One as at Friday 8 March 2019
|2||Ampthill & District||24||17||1||6||731||473||258||16||5||91|
|7||Darlington Mowden Park||24||12||1||11||595||609||-14||12||5||67|
Past Meetings and Recent Results
This is the 9th season that these two have faced each other, in a Level Three history stretching back to the 2008/09 season, albeit with a hiatus over the last two seasons. The record is pretty close – in the Forest, both sides have won four, with a solitary 22-all draw occurring back in November last year. In Southeast London, Blackheath edge the contest, with 5 wins to Cinders’ 3. For some reason, more points seems to be scored in London, Cinderford scoring 161 in 9 games at home (Blackheath 166 in those same games), but 208 points in 8 away games (to Blackheath’s 242).
More recently, our guests have won one of their last three, a 27(4) – 25(5) home win over Caldy last weekend. Prior to that, they suffered in a low-scoring 10(1) – 6(0) loss away at Cambridge and a creditable 20(3) – 26(4) home defeat by big guns Ampthill on 9 February.
Match Day Details
Kick off at Well Hall is 3pm. The man in the middle is Phillip Davies, ably assisted around the edges by Michael Woods and James Cornell.
The changeable weather of the last few days looks set to continue, so expect some light cloud with bright spells. There is a chance of showers late afternoon, but they should hold off until the evening and the temperature will hit around 13 degrees for kick off. The wind will build to a breezy 17/18 mph westerly by 3pm.
Blackheath First XV V Cinderford HOME 9 March 2019
15. Ben RANSOM
14. Jake LLOYD
13. Leo FIELDING
12. Markus BURCHAM (Capt)
11. Elliot CLEMENTS-HILL
10. Mark COOKE
9. Stef LIEBENBERG
1. Tom WILLIAMS
2. Mike PERKS
3. Danny HERRIOTT
4. Tom STRADWICK
5. Josh PETERS
6. Freddie OWEN
7. Harry BATE
8. Andrew DAISH
16. Harry FRY
17. George DAVIS
18. Matt MILES
19. Alex PICKERSGILL
20. Henry STAFF
If you want a bit of early rugby action to warm you up for the Big Match, the Bandits take on fellow title contenders Beccahamians on the lower pitch at 1pm.
Around the Grounds
Eyes turn to Bedfordshire this weekend as the top two slug it out. Level on 91 points but with OEs having one more win (and one more draw) in the bag, Ampthill (2nd) host Old Elthamians in this clash of the Titans. Unsurprisingly perhaps, both come into the game off the back of bonus point wins last time out, Amps by virtue of a 24 (4) – 36 (5) victory away at Rotherham, and the Old Boys a 40 (4) – 29 (4) home win over Plymouth Albion.
Rosslyn Park (3rd) have the shortest trip of the day, hopping on the bus for the journey to Esher (15th). Park were another bonus point winner last weekend, 38 (6) – 31 (4) at home to Chinnor. Their hosts only narrowly lost out 24 (3) – 17 (2) away at DMP last time out and will be looking for their first win in 6. Things look pretty grim for the Molesey Road side though, announcing the departure of their DoR during the week and currently 9 points adrift of safety.
Chinnor (5th) host Birmingham Moseley (14th) as they look to recover from that loss at Ross Park. Mose narrowly beat the bottom placed students 30 (5) – 29 (4) last weekend and, of the bottom 3, are only one who seem realistically in the mix to survive. Rotherham (6th) travel to Cambridge (12th), both smarting after losses last weekend and looking for a tonic.
Compared to the 12 mile journey in West London, trek of the day – by a long way – falls to Darlington Mowden Park (7th). The County Durham side must cover the 380 miles to meet Plymouth Albion (8th), so they’ve probably already left. Elsewhere Sale FC (10th) head to Leicestershire and will be looking to rub more salt in the wounds of struggling Loughborough Students (16th).
And finally…Caldy (13th), victims of a tight 27 (4) – 25 (5) loss at Cinderford, brush up Paton Field as they prepare to welcome Bishop’s Stortford (11th), convincing 24 (2) – 6 (0) victors over Cambridge last weekend.
Good luck Blackheath and Come On Youuuu Cluuuuuub!