Barnes 21 Blackheath 10

Perhaps there was a touch of inevitability about this result, an element of ‘after the Lord Mayor’s show’, Blackheath having concluded the National League Two East title a week earlier.

However, not so comprehensively have the Club been so out-thought and out-gunned this season as they were dumped back down to earth in an untidy mess on this grey, breezy afternoon at Queen Elizabeth Walk.
Barnes, on the other hand, were outstanding, continuing the form that had seen them up to second place, winning nine from eleven of their matches since their 36-5 loss to Blackheath at Well Hall.

On that occasion in December, the Surrey side had their lineout completely dismantled, but on home soil they responded by taking apart the Blackheath scrum so completely, the Club were always on the back foot.

Two early scrum penalties set the tone, though despite being sent backwards at every set-piece, the visitors still managed a territorial advantage in the opening period.

Nevertheless, three lineout opportunities went astray, while Barnes’ rare visits to opposition terrain resulted in two Simon Keller penalties, sandwiching one from Oli Burgess, to leave the score at 6-3 to the hosts at the break.

The Barnes fly-half would miss his second-half kicks at goal in the intensifying breeze, but it mattered not, his forwards, marshalled by the excellent skipper, scrum-half, and former Clubman Josh Davies, completing the job.

Three times the Barnes pack drove forward from close-range set-scrums, and three times number-eight Ryan Nixon touched down at the base for an impressive hat-trick.

Late in the day, Blackheath suddenly injected some pace and energy for Chris Bell to crash across for a converted score, but any thoughts of a resurgence were quickly snuffed out as the game finished in disarray, with two Blackheath front-row in the sin-bin, and the visitors fortunate not to concede a fourth try.

Not the send off Blackheath had hoped to give Freddie Owen as he pulled on a Club jersey for the 158th and final time. Freddie, who made his debut eight years ago at the age of nineteen, and has been a fixture of the Club back-row ever since, now leaves for Australia.

In time he will no doubt dwell on his 157th appearance, and the try he scored to help Blackheath to their record away win at Westcliff and promotion.

This, though, was Barnes’ day, and one for Blackheath to forget.

Blackheath take an Easter break now before returning for their final home game of the campaign against third-placed Worthing, where they’ll be looking to maintain their unbeaten home record.

Kick-off at Well Hall on 15th April is at 3.00 pm.


Tries: Nixon 46, 63, 68
Pens: Keller 12, 34


Tries: Bell 74
Conv: Ffitch 74
Pens: Burgess 20

Attendance: 314

Blackheath Team

15 . Nick Foster
14 . Jake Lloyd
13 . Jake Hennessey
12 . Markus Burcham
11 . Andy Denham
10 . Oli Burgess
9 . Jack Daly

1 . Charlie MacCallum
2 . Ollie Walliker
3 . Archie Holland
4 . Kaden Pearce-Paul
5 . Ed Taylor (Capt)
6 . Freddie Owen
7 . Harry Holland
8 . Tom Baldwin

16 . Alex Witchell
17 . Jed Goodrum
18 . Stevie Clark-Leonard
19 . Chris Bell
20 . Tom Ffitch

Photos: Deborah Lloyd/Andy Wansbury

Graham Cox