Bishop’s Stortford 14 Blackheath 18

Not pretty, but the win Blackheath desperately wanted to halt their decline down the National League One table. However, they had to work mighty hard for it.

Having put daylight between the sides with an eleven-point advantage soon after the re-start following the break, the Club had to withstand a number of Stortford assaults, the concession of nine second half penalties not helping their cause, but despite a late try from the Hertfordshire club, they hung on to win.

Jake Hennessey gave the visitors the early lead, the full-back slotting an eighth minute penalty as Stort were caught offside, but the advantage was soon wiped out with interest, as a charged-down kick from defence was pounced upon by the hosts, second-row Alex Wardell grounding for a converted try.

Matt Dalrymple arrived in place of the unfortunate Mark Cooke (the fly-half off early with a shoulder injury) in time to strike a long-range penalty, but both sides struggled to build sustained pressure.

However, as the interval approached, Blackheath found some continuity, with the ball moving through numerous hands, including Sam Hill’s having a fine game at inside-centre in his final Club appearance, and as play moved out wide, Alex Noot cut an angle inside to score, Dalrymple converting for a 13-7 lead to the visitors at the break.

The advantage was extended nine minutes after the re-start, as Tom Baldwin was driven across following a penalty to touch, but it was the last time Blackheath managed a foothold.

At The Utilita in September, two late Stortford tries had overturned a ten-point advantage, but although the hosts’ pressure eventually told, with fly-half Matthew Riddington crossing and adding his second conversion, Blackheath held firm for the win.

‘We’re extremely pleased with that,’ said Club skipper Ed Taylor. ‘Stortford is a very tough place to come to.’

‘We analyse the defences in the league, and currently we have the third best record, and clearly we knew we had to come here and back that up.’

‘I felt the pack really fronted up today. Our scrum, our maul in attack and defence really held the ball, and that was the basis of our victory.’

National League One takes a break now for the festive period. Blackheath are back in action on 6th January when they head to the north-west to take on Sedgley Park, before welcoming Leicester Lions to The Utilita on the following Saturday.

Bishop’s Stortford

Tries: Wardell 10, Riddington 76
Conv: Lloyd 10, Riddington 76


Tries Noot 35, Baldwin 49
Conv: Dalrymple 35
Pens: Hennessey 8, Dalrymple 12

Attendance: 613

Blackheath Team

15 . Jake Hennessey
14 . Alex Noot
13 . Leo Fielding
12 . Sam Hill
11 . Matt Armstrong
10 . Mark Cooke
9 . Jack Daly

1 . Will Davis
2 . Ollie Walliker
3 . Andrew Boye
4 . Michael Etete
5 . Ed Taylor (Capt)
6 . Paul Schroter
7 . Stevie Clark-Leonard
8 . Tom Baldwin

16 . Alex Witchell
17 . Archie Holland
18 . Tom Everard
19 . Chris Bell
20 . Matt Dalrymple

Graham Cox