Blackheath 22 Chinnor 17

An outstanding performance from Blackheath, halting a run which had seen four successive home defeats and, on top of the win at Cinderford the previous week, putting further daylight between the Club and the National League One drop zone.

At the same time, the result ended a sequence of nine straight wins for league-leaders Chinnor, inflicting a significant blow to the Oxfordshire side’s aspirations for a place in the Championship.

It was an ominous start for the hosts, however. With only three minutes played, Chinnor right-wing Josh Gillespie showed strength to force his way over in the right corner for a try, converted well by centre James Bourton, but at the other end, Club second-row Tom Everard demonstrated equal power to drive under the uprights, after Tom Baldwin and Will Davis had made the initial inroads.

Blackheath got close again as they went through the phases until an accidental offside spoilt progress, while only a Tom Ffitch tap-tackle on Chinnor scrum-half Luke Carter, and the first of two brilliant turnovers by Noah Sloot, playing at open-side, also thwarted the visitors.

On 27 minutes, Chinnor brought the power of their driving maul into effect, as hooker Alun Walker crashed over, but again it was to be a short-lived lead.

As the Club pack, led by Baldwin at number-eight, consistently made effective carries, and probed the opposition defence, Davis, enjoying an excellent game at loose-head, showed great dexterity to reach over his head to touch-down next to the posts, Ffitch’s simple conversion giving Blackheath a 14-12 interval lead.

The advantage increased to seven points within three minutes of the restart, as Bill Harding’s accuracy at the lineout saw Blackheath recycle across field, before Chinnor ran out of defenders and Markus Burcham slipped over in the corner.

Ball lost forward on the goal-line denied the visitors what looked a certain try, and Blackheath’s tackling needed to persist in its ferocity (one notable effort from Andy Denham driving the ball-carrier metres backwards), but the hosts continued to exploit their opportunities as Ffitch added another three points.

A series of assaults from four close-range lineouts were repelled with heroic defence, until Chinnor lost patience, went for the quick tap from a free-kick, only to be held up in-goal, allowing the hosts an exit.

In the closing stages, Chinnor’s composure returned, and this time the lineout maul saw fly-half Nick Smith over on the blind-side, but Blachkheath’s rearguard efforts had sucked time out of the game, and the hosts held on for the remaining four minutes for an impressive win.

Next Saturday Blackheath are at home once again as they welcome Plymouth Albion to The Utilita. Kick-off is at 3.00 pm.


Tries: Everard 9, Davis 33, Burcham 43
Conv: Ffitch 9, 33
Pens: Ffitch 52


Tries: Gillespie 3, Walker 27, Smith 75
Conv: Bourton 3

Attendance: 745

Blackheath Team

15 . Jake Hennessey
14 . Jake Lloyd
13 . Markus Burcham
12 . Mark Cooke
11 . Andy Denham
10 . Tom Ffitch
9 . Jack Daly

1 . Will Davis
2 . Billy Harding
3 . Andrew Boye
4 . Tom Everard
5 . Tom Stradwick
6 . Paul Schroter
7 . Noah Sloot
8 . Tom Baldwin (Capt)

16 . Ollie Walliker
17 . Jack Owlett
18 . Archie Holland
19 . George Daly
20 . Matt Armstrong

Photos: Andy Wansbury

Graham Cox