By Nick Sullivan
Well, we’ve passed the halfway point of the season and it’s downhill to the end of the year. Just prior to breaking out the Christmas Cheer though, Blackheath make the gruelling journey across country to Mottingham this weekend, where they meet local rivals and league leaders Old Elthamians (1st).
The Old Boys have enjoyed a fantastic season to date, leap-frogging their guests to the top of the table a fortnight ago. Undefeated since the first week of October, the visitors need to put in a huge shift if they are to have any chance halting Elthamians’ winning run.
Ahead of tomorrows match Club Captain Markus Burchum was interviewed by the NCA website
National One as at Friday 21 December 2018
|4||Ampthill & District||15||9||1||5||389||270||119||8||4||50|
|8||Darlington Mowden Park||15||7||0||8||339||376||-37||7||3||38|
Past Meetings and Recent Results
Last season’s fixtures went the way of the home sides. OE’s won 32 – 7 at College Meadow on 16 December, with Blackheath gaining a modicum of revenge at Well Hall towards the end of April, winning 28 – 23.
The Mottingham side hold the whip hand this season, beating their opponents 10 – 21 in the second game of the season.
More recently, are hosts have been on a winning run since a 13-all draw with Ampthill 17 November. They haven’t actually lost since being pipped away by Sale in a 12-try thriller on 6 October. Three weeks ago, the Old Boys convincing beat Caldy 34 (5) – 7 (1) in Southeast London. The following weekend, they put a similar number of tries on Cinderford in the Forest of Dean, winning 12 (2) – 32 (5). Back at home again last weekend, they prevented Bishop’s Stortford from crossing their try line, eventually beating the Hertfordshire side 17 (2) – 3 (0).
Match Day Details
Kick off at College Meadow is at 2pm. The man in the middle is Alexander Thomas, ably assisted round the edges by Charles Gayther and Robert Warburton.
Mother Nature is spreading some Christmas cheer and making it unusually pleasant for the time of year. It should stay dry with some sunshine through patchy cloud. Temperatures should be around 12 degrees and a gentle 10mph westerly breeze.
A number of Members and Supporters are meeting up at Well Hall from 11am, before jumping into their cabs / public transport to head to College Meadows for 1pm.
Blackheath First XV V Old Elthamians AWAY 22 December 2018
15. Joe TARRANT
14. Jake LLOYD
13. Alex PICKERSGILL
12. Markus BURCHAM (Capt)
11. Craig DOWSETT
10. Mark COOKE
9. Stef LIEBENBERG
1. Tom WILLIAMS
2. Mike PERKS
3. Danny HERRIOTT
4. Josh PETERS
5. Tom STRADWICK
6. Andrew DAISH
7. Freddie OWEN
8. Anders NILSSON
- Harry FRY
- Phil ACKUAKU
- Billy YOUNG
- Jack DALY
- Elliott CLEMENTS-HILL
Around the Grounds
Hot on Blackheath’s heels after victory over Caldy last time out, Rosslyn Park (3rd) will want to make it 5 from 5 as they travel to a Bishop’s Stortford (15th) side looking to recover from a loss away at OEs.
Ampthill (4th), bonus point victor over Sale last weekend, have the probably trickier job of entertaining Chinnor (6th) this time around. Home advantage may just make the Bedfordshire side favourites. Rotherham (5th), another side looking to make it 5 from 5, are on home turf for the second week in a row as they welcome Darlington Mowden Park (8th) to Clifton Lane.
A potentially feisty derby takes place on the Northwest coast where Caldy (7th), not on the Mersey but in the County of Merseyside, host Sale FC (12th), who are on the Mersey but not in Merseyside. The home team will put the geographical niceties aside as they look to avenge a 2 point defeat from when the two met earlier in the season. On current form, they start favourites.
Another club with a current record of 4 in a row is Cinderford (9th) although, in their case, it the wrong letter in the W/D/L column. Whilst always a difficult place to go, visiting Moseley (13th) must fancy their chances to climb away from the bottom three. Further down country, Plymouth Albion (10th) welcome Esher (14th) to Brickfields.
Finally, Cambridge (11th) aim to do the double over bottom placed Loughborough Students (16th). Home advantage should help, but the Leicestershire side are a far more difficult prospect now than they were three months ago.
Merry Christmas, Good luck Blackheath and Come On Youuuu Cluuuuuub!