Blackheath 10 Sale FC 21

Nobody will have left The Utilita feeling they’d witnessed a classic after this contest, but Sale departed with a precious four points, while for Blackheath it meant successive defeats to a side propping up the National League One table.

Sale deserved it too. If their three tries came gift-wrapped, they had the patience and initiative to exploit their chances, while an error-strewn Blackheath fired blanks, and now find themselves looking nervously behind at the relegation battle threatening to engulf them.

It started well enough for the hosts, with Jake Lloyd gathering the kick-off and setting Blackheath on an attack which culminated in three points from the boot of Matt Dalrymple but, moments later, messy recovery of a half-charged down kick saw ball popped into the grateful hands of Oskar Hirskyj-Douglas, the Sale outside-centre gliding through two defenders for the softest of tries.

Sale were equally, if not more, generous, as numerous infringements handed Blackheath the vast majority of territory and possession, but not releasing, an overthrown lineout and, on this perfect winter’s afternoon, a penalty kicked dead and three missed strikes at goal from in front of the uprights, kept the score at 7-3 to the visitors at the interval.

Ironically it was while reduced to 14-men that Blackheath at last broke the deadlock.

As Blackheath moved ball infield from a lineout, quick recycling saw Tom Ffitch send Leo Fielding scything through the Sale defence for the converted try that put the hosts ahead.

All too briefly. If Lloyd’s sin-binning for a deliberate knock-on was tenuous (especially given the weight of penalties awarded against the visiting side), there was no argument in favour of Jack Daly for the same offence, and this time the one-man deficit hurt.

As close-range lineout ball was collected, play moved inside, and left-wing Tom Walsh had the speed and space for a wonderful arcing run to put the Cheshire side back in front.

Blackheath threw everything at Sale in the closing stages, but twice hindered themselves with obstruction while the visitors’ defence simply soaked up everything else.

Eventually, and almost inevitably in their desperation, the ball fell loose, and Walsh again was on hand to race 60-metres, nailing home the win and denying Blackheath a losing bonus point.

Next Saturday, Blackheath head to the north-east for their re-arranged fixture with Darlington Mowden Park. Kick-off at The Darlington Arena is at 3.00 pm.


Tries: Fielding 55
Conv: Ffitch 55
Pens: Dalrymple 3

Sale FC

Tries: Hirskyj-Douglas 5, Walsh 65, 79
Conv: Robins 5, 65, 79

Attendance: 335

Blackheath Team

15 . Alex Noot
14 . Jake Lloyd
13 . Leo Fielding
12 . Markus Burcham
11 . Matt Armstrong
10 . Matt Dalrymple
9 . Jack Daly

1 . Will Davis
2 . Billy Harding
3 . Jack Owlett
4 . Tom Everard
5 . Ed Taylor (Capt)
6 . Paul Schroter
7 . Stevie Clark-Leonard
8 . Tom Stradwick

16 . Ollie Walliker
17 . Andrew Boye
18 . Archie Holland
19 . Tom Ffitch
20 . Noah Sloot

Photos: Andy Wansbury

Graham Cox