The Big Match: Loughborough Students v Blackheath

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by Nick Sullivan

An early-ish start this weekend as Blackheath prepare for their 26th game of the season and a trip 150 miles north to take on 10th placed Loughborough Students.

Whilst not quite mathematically safe, the Students have no real relegation fears and may choose to throw the ball about and give their electric back line a chance to shine. They will hope to replicate the form that saw them deservedly get the bonus point 26 – 32 win over Blackheath back on a cold and foggy November afternoon.

If you are travelling by train from southeast London tomorrow, please remember that there are engineering works on the lines from Dartford through to London, so allow some extra time for your journey.

Oh, and don’t forget that the clocks go forward an hour at 1 pm Sunday morning.

Past Meetings and Recent Results

The university side have been a fixture at Level Three since their promotion at the end of the 2011/12 Season.

Unusually, Blackheath have won all four away fixtures to date and have only come a cropper at home – Loughborough’s very first visit to Rectory Field in April 2013 and the disappointing loss back in November this season. The two also drew 28 all in southeast London back in January 2014.

The Students will hope that last weekend’s lay off did them good as they look to end a losing sequence stretching back 6 matches. Their last victory was over Cambridge on 21 January, having suffered at the hands of Rosslyn Park, OAs, DMP, Plymouth, Moseley and, most recently, a 42 – 38 loss at Macclesfield on 11 March. Despite how that may appear on paper though, the matches have been pretty close, and the Leicestershire side have scored 21 tries with 4 losing bonus points and three try bonus points in that run.

Match Day Details

Kick off on campus is at the slighty earlier time of 2pm. Ensuring fair play is Daniel Parrott, ably assisted by James Minards and Nick Marshall.

Things are slowly perking up on the weather front. We should get some sun and the temperature should reach the dizzy heights of 11 or 12 degrees accompanied by a mild 10 mph northeast wind.

If you are not travelling to Leicestershire 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 Loughborough Students AWAY 25 March 2017

15. Jamie DAVIES
14. Tom CHAPMAN
13. Leo FIELDING
12. Markus BURCHAM (Capt)
11. Jake LLOYD
10. Mark COOKE
9. Simon WHATLING
1. Aston CROALL
2. Mike PERKS
3. Kieron SCUTT
4. Gregor GILLANDERS
5. Devin MONTGOMERY
6. Freddie OWEN
7. Jesse LISTON
8. Tom STRADWICK

16. George BAKER
17. Bertie HASKINS
18. Chris WALKER
19. Alex PICKERSGILL
20. Sam ISAACS

Around the Grounds

Hartpury (1st) are now mathematically champions bar any unforeseen points’ deductions. They are favourites to cement that position with this weekend’s away trip to Darlington Mowden Park (8th). Plymouth Albion (2nd) are also likely favourites to maintain their lead over the third placed side with their home tie against under-pressure Blaydon (14th).

A similar gap in league position exists between Ampthill (3rd) and their guests this weekend, Hull Ionians (15th). And the same again between Moseley (4th) and their visitors this weekend, Macclesfield (16th). Whilst not quite mathematically relegated yet, if Blaydon were to win and the Blues lose without getting a bonus point, it will be all over for Macclesfield.

On the other side of London, Rosslyn Park (5th) host Fylde (11th), and heading up the M11 Cambridge (12th) take on Coventry (6th) at Volac Park. Finally, Old Albanian (9th) take on Esher (13th) in Hertfordshire.

Heathens

The Heathens are looking to bounce back from last weekend’s disappointment in the Kent Cup with a home tie against Bishops Stortford.

A Club win means that they will leapfrog Jersey into second place, but it will be a tough match as Stortford are only one place behind the Heathens.

If you cannot make Leicestershire this weekend, why not visit Well Hall to support the boys? Kick off 2.30 pm.


Good luck Blackheath and Come On Youuuu Cluuuuuub!

Graham Cox

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