Blackheath 0 Rosslyn Park 15

The last time Rosslyn Park came calling at The Utilita, Blackheath produced their best performance of the 2021/22 season to win 31-24, all but extinguishing the Roehampton side’s hopes of promotion to The Championship from that campaign.

On this occasion there would be no upset of the form book, as Park eased to a comfortable and controlled win with three unconverted tries, their fifth victory in six starts, whilst consigning the Club to a fifth defeat from the same number of matches, and leaving them precariously positioned, just one place above the National League One relegation zone.

As they often do, Blackheath started at pace, recycling well, and sending the ball through numerous hands.

Unable to make inroads, however, they soon found themselves on the back foot and, despite possession, unable to exit their own territory with the strong and gusty wind in their faces.

On ten minutes, a long-range penalty attempt from Park’s Josh Bragman struck an upright, quickly followed by a drop-goal attempt from the fly-half from even greater distance falling narrowly wide, but as Blackheath misjudged a box kick from former Club scrum-half Dan Hiscocks, Benji Marfo was on hand to gather on the bounce and score.

Moments later, as Park moved ball across field via inside-centre Matt Gordan, who frequently broke the gain-line, an overlap was created for open-side and skipper Arthur Ellis to send his left-wing strolling across for his second try, and an advantage of 10-0 that the visitors would take into the break.

Not an insurmountable lead, with the clouds still scudding across the darkening sky at pace, and the elements now in Blackheath’s favour, but the Club’s kicking game yielded scant territorial gain.

As penalties cost further ground, only a try-saving tackle from Jake Lloyd denied Marfo his hat-trick, but as Blackheath were adjudged off-side, the resultant close-range lineout saw the forwards crab infield to work Ellis across.

Too little, too late, Blackheath instilled some urgency into their game, but errors close to the goal-line thwarted them, and no consolation came their way.

Blackheath’s final league match of 2023 takes them to Hertfordshire next Saturday for the meeting with Bishop’s Stortford. Kick-off at Silver Leys is at 3.00 pm.

Rosslyn Park

Tries: Marfo 16, 22, Ellis 52

Attendance: 613

Blackheath Team

15 . Alex Noot
14 . Jake Lloyd
13 . Shae Tucker
12 . Markus Burcham
11 . Matt Armstrong
10 . Mark Cooke
9 . Jack Daly

1 . Archie Holland
2 . Ollie Walliker
3 . Andrew Boye
4 . Tom Stradwick
5 . Ed Taylor (Capt)
6 . Paul Schroter
7 . Stevie Clark-Leonard
8 . Tom Baldwin

16 . Alex Witchell
17 . Jack Owlett
18 . Ronan Foley
19 . Chris Bell
20 . Leo Fielding

Photos: Andy Wansbury

Graham Cox