Great performances from all the boys who represented Blackheath or Barbarians last weekend, but first please join me is wishing Will L all the best as he has injured his knee. We all wish him a speedy and full recovery.
The Blackheath Team had to play Old Alleynians and Canterbury. Already this season we had lost 30-15 to OAs and 45-20 to Canterbury so we knew it would be tough. However, over the last few weeks against Old Elthamians and Ashford their performances had improved significantly so expectations were high of putting in a strong performance.
Against OAs the performance of the team in the first half was not up to the recent standards and we trailed 5-10 at half-time. With our single try from Dylan crashing over. Showing their maturity the players were able to analyse the performance with the coaches at half-time and put to rights the areas they knew they could, and had to do better. The second half was all Blackheath and the boys scored four tries, conceding none. Great play from the forwards to win, and retain ball, lovely distribution across the backs, with our wingers involved many times, and some sublime offloads to create space. Every player should be credited for keeping the ball alive for such long periods of time that meant we were able to keep the pressure on the defence. In the end the boys fitness started to tell and we ran in four tries – one from Chris who cut a lovely jinking line in from the left wing, two from Levi who found himself in the outside centre and used his pace and power to beat the cover tackles, and one textbook pick and go off the base of the ruck from Charlie to take advantage of a missing guard.
Canterbury had also beaten OAs so the next game was all or nothing to see who would collect the Kent Plate. As expected it proved to be a very physical game with several players getting injured but all dusting themselves off and making themselves available to play on. Massive commitment and team camaraderie. The game was one of attrition and big impacts. At half time we were down 10-0 with an unfortunate disallowed try that would have made it closer. Again the boys picked themselves up at halftime and after several phases Sahib scored a try. Canterbury were now conceding multiple penalties, which I am sure in the senior game would potentially have resulted in a yellow card (testament to our pressure) and numerical advantage, but not at our level. Alas we couldn’t get the equalising try and at the end Billy’s commitment never to give up stopped a last minute 3rd try from Canterbury.
Over the course of the Kent’s we have used 24 different players, won 4, drawn 1 and lost 2 (one against Sevenoaks who ended up Kent Champions), scored 22 tries and conceded 12.
After winning their pool in Kent Waterfall Day II the Barbarians had the challenge to play against Beckenham and Dartfordians. Unfortunately the results did not go our way but the continued effort and enthusiasm in the face of some one-way traffic from Dartfordians showed the grit and character that the boys possess. The camaraderie of the three sets of players as they went to get their medals is what rugby is about and without our players helping to form a team the Southwark Tigers players would not be able to play competitively.
Every coach and parent couldn’t have been prouder of them all! Well done.
By Nick Stone