The Big Match: Old Elthamians v Blackheath

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by Nick Sullivan

 

The season reaches the halfway point this weekend and what better match to mark the occasion than Blackheath’s first ever league encounter with local rivals Old Elthamians (7th).

 

Elthamians joined National One as victor over Sale FC in the National Two North/South play off last season.  Any thoughts they might struggle at this level – particularly having lost their first two matches – were soon abandoned as the season warmed up.  They have shown themselves perfectly adaptable to the demands of Level Three, playing some very good rugby in the process, exemplified in some ways by one of their losses rather than some of the stonking high-scoring victories.  They are one of the sides who came closest to beating Coventry – only losing out 16 -20 at home in mid-November – no mean feat given Cov’s runaway position at the top of the table.

 

Teams may change, but in OE’s recent history there is one rock.  Former Old Dunstonian and current Director of Rugby Gavin Lach has been in his post since OE’s were in London Two way back in the 2010/11 season, steering the club through several promotions since that time.  Whilst he might not wish to admit it, he deserves a great deal of credit for his contribution towards the club’s current position.

 

Visitors to College Meadow tomorrow my also notice some familiar faces…the Head Coach berth is now taken by Sam Howard and the Team Manager spot occupied by Ally Vanner.  Other than that, Truman Sullivan and Tom White have graced OE’s starting line-up this season, although whether are available tomorrow remains to be seen.

 

So why not make the short trip down the road to support the boys tomorrow…

 

 

The League

 

National One as at Friday 15 December 2017

 

Psn Club Pld W D L F A PD TBP LBP Ded Pts
1 Coventry 14 14 0 0 595 191 404 12 0 0 68
2 Darlington Mowden Park 14 10 1 3 400 310 90 11 2 0 55
3 Blackheath 14 10 0 4 395 266 129 7 2 0 49
4 Plymouth Albion 13 8 2 3 411 246 165 9 2 0 47
5 Ampthill and District 14 8 1 5 367 274 93 8 4 0 46
6 Bishop’s Stortford 14 9 1 4 377 339 38 5 2 0 45
7 Old Elthamians 14 7 1 6 335 326 9 6 2 0 38
8 Birmingham Moseley 13 7 1 5 310 359 -49 5 1 0 36
9 Cambridge 14 6 0 8 294 286 8 4 5 0 33
10 Esher 14 5 0 9 358 427 -69 8 3 0 31
11 Caldy 14 4 0 10 318 384 -66 6 5 0 27
12 Loughborough Students 14 5 0 9 327 464 -137 5 1 0 26
13 Hull Ionians 13 4 0 9 317 433 -116 8 2 0 26
14 Rosslyn Park 13 3 1 9 329 381 -52 6 3 0 23
15 Old Albanian 14 3 0 11 232 418 -186 2 4 0 18
16 Fylde 14 3 0 11 216 477 -261 2 3 0 17

 

 

 

Past Meetings and Recent Results

 

Aficionados will remember Kent Cup clashes over the years, although the two sides have never met in league action.

 

As for their recent form, OEs have two wins and a loss to their name.  Last time out, they travelled to St Albans to face the other old boys’ side.  They returned home with a well-deserved 15 (2) – 24 (3) victory over an Albanian side fortified with a number of Sarries’ loanees.  A similarly strong performance the prior weekend saw them thump visiting Moseley 47 (7) – 17 (3) at College Meadow.

 

The only blight on their recent record came at the back end of November when they came off second best away to a fired-up Hull Ionians’ side, returning with empty coffers following a 27 (4) – 11 (1) defeat.

 

Match Day Details

 

Kick off at College Meadow is at 2pm.  Ensuring fair play is Veryan Boscawen ably assisted by Simon Dodd and Tracy Pettingale.

 

Doom and gloom claims that this will be the coldest winter since the last cold winter may or may not be true, but it will be chilly tomorrow, so wrap up warm.  Given where temperatures have been over the last few days, a light overnight frost is possible although that should lift in the morning.  By the time the sun passes the yardarm, it should be sunny and dry, although the thermometer will only creep up to 3 or 4 degrees, accompanied by an 8/9mph westerly breeze.

 

If you cannot make this weekend’s match, 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.

 

 

Team News

 

Blackheath First XV V Old Elthamians  AWAY 16 December 2017

 

15 Leo FIELDING
14 Geoff GRIFFITHS
13 Markus BURCHAM (Capt)
12 Mark COOKE
11 Jake LLOYD
10 James SHANAHAN
9 Josh DAVIES
1 Haydon KING
2 Mike PERKS
3 Danny HERRIOTT
4 CJ OSAZUWA
5 Tom STRADWICK
6 Hugh McCORMICK_HOUSTON
7 Harry BATE
8 Tom BALDWIN
16 James HALLAM
17 Kieron SCUTT
18 Sam FARMER
19 Anders NILSSON
20 Tom CHAPMAN

 

 

Around the Grounds

 

A whole bunch of potential corkers this weekend in the final match of the season’s first half.  Top of the table Coventry (1st) make the long trip to their closest league rivals Darlington Mowden Park (2nd), where a win will give them 15 points + of daylight ahead of the chasing pack.

 

Plymouth Albion (4th), who suffered a postponement at Moseley last weekend, hope to pick up some momentum as they welcome Old Albanian (15th) to Brickfields.  Moseley (8th) themselves travel to Rosslyn Park (14th) who, coincidentally, were another victim of the weather last time out.  Bishops Stortford (6th) make the 30-odd mile trip to local-ish rivals Cambridge (9th), whilst Esher (10th) trek slightly further and head northwest towards Caldy (11th).

 

Bottom placed, although by no means adrift, Fylde (16th) had a near miss, going down 10 – 13  against DMP last weekend and will look to improve on that result as they visit Loughborough Students (12th).  Finally, the last of the postponement victims, Hull Ionians (13th) face a tricky ask as they travel to Ampthill (5th).

 

 

 

Heathens

 

The Heathens maintain their 5th position in the Zoo League following an impressive 47 – 26 win at home to London Scottish last weekend.  This time out, they also make the short trip down the road to take on second placed Old Elthamians at College Meadow.  Kick off is at 1 pm.

 

 

Good luck Blackheath and Come On Youuuu Cluuuuuub!

Graham Cox

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