The Big Match: Esher v Blackheath

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by Nick Sullivan

Time to put your garishly festive jumper on for the last match before Christmas – and the first match of the second half of the season – as Blackheath hit the South Circular for the short-ish trip to Esher RFC (11th).

The Eeees have had a disappointing season to date by their own standards, currently 5 wins from 15 starts, although they do have 11 bonus points stacked onto their tally. Tomorrow they will be looking for revenge for the narrow early season 13 – 6 loss at Well Hall.

Past Meetings and Recent Results

These two sides have been knocking lumps out of each other on and off at Level Three in its various guises since the 2004/05 season. Our hosts had by far the better of the earlier years’ encounters, but since Esher’s return to National One for the 2012/13 season, honours have been far more even. In fact, victory has generally gone to the home side in the period, the only exception being last season, with Blackheath sneaking a 21 – 24 win at Molesley Road at the end of April.

More recently, Eees suffered a 24 – 6 loss away at Moseley last weekend and a 48 – 31 reversal away at DMP at the end of November, but these sandwiched an impressive 34 – 22 bonus point win at home to Loughborough on 3 December.

Match Day Details

Kick-off at Molesey Road is at 3pm. Ensuring all the elves behave themselves is Calum Howard, ably assisted by Stephen Light and Paul Kimber.

As for the weather, it will be cloudy but should stay dry with no wind to speak of. The sun may even poke its head out later. Expect a temperature around 10 degrees.

If you are not travelling to the leafy suburbs 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 Esher AWAY 17 December 2016

15. Geoff GRIFFITHS
14. Leo FIELDING
13. Markus BURCHAM (Capt)
12. Mark COOKE
11. Tom CHAPMAN
10. Simon WHATLING
9. Sam EYDMANN
1. Aston CROALL
2. Mike PERKS
3. Kieron SCUTT
4. Gregor GILLANDERS
5. Devin MONTGOMERY
6. Tom BALDWIN
7. Chris WALKER
8. Anders NILSSON

16. George BAKER
17. Terry READ
18. Ruairi FALLON
19. Jamie DAVIES
20. Jake LLOYD

Around the Grounds

There’s a weekend of local (loosely speaking) derbies this weekend. Clash of the day may well prove to be Plymouth Albion’s (3rd) tilt at Hartpury’s (1st) unblemished record as the latter visit Brickfields. Albion trying to put some sort of dent in the College’s 20 point lead at the top of the league.

The two As – Ampthill (4th) and Old Albanian (9th) go head-to-head in Bedfordshire, with the home side starting as favourite. In the West Midlands, Coventry (6th) are looking to avenge their close early season loss as they travel to face Birmingham Moseley (2nd) and Rosslyn Park (7th) travel up the M11 to meet Cambridge (10th).

At the other end of the table, Macclesfield (16th) look for some festive cheer as they visit Fylde (12th) and the Northeast derby sees Blaydon (15th) with home advantage over Darlington Mowden Park (13th). One side hoping that DMP slip up are Hull Ionians (14th) who have the chance to climb out of the relegation zone in those circumstances if they can defeat Loughborough Students (8th) on Humberside.

Heathens

And remember… the Heathens are in Zoo Shield action tonight at Well Hall with a 7.30 kick-off against London Scottish 2nds.

Good luck Blackheath and Come On Youuuu Cluuuuuub!

Graham Cox

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