Blackheath 27 Esher 23

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Club ease out the EEEs!

As tight as the final tally suggests, with only a brief five minute spell where more than a converted score separated the two sides.

Blackheath, though, never found themselves behind and fully merited a victory which stretches their unbeaten run to nine matches – indeed they have yet to lose a game in 2015.

Ryan Squires, who missed nothing at goal all afternoon, and added a further 17 points to his season total, put Blackheath ahead with a third minute penalty as Esher went off their feet, and Markus Burcham’s ripped possession set up a further attack which helped give the hosts the territorial edge during the first quarter.

However, on 19 minutes EEEs fly-half Ian Cross (who also achieved a 100% strike rate) cancelled out the advantage with his first strike for the visitors, followed by a rampaging break from second-row Peter Daly straight from the re-start which threatened to expose the hosts, but Burcham’s intercept in midfield put pressure back on Esher.

As wing Spencer Sutherland was removed for ten minutes for not retreating, after Jesse Liston had taken a quick tap-penalty five-metres out, line-out ball was moved across field where Burcham’s overhead pass found debutant Club wing Jake Lloyd to cross in the left corner.

Esher responded immediately, Cross’ flat pass met perfectly by outside-centre Jack Cooke who in turn produced a lovely off-load for scrum-half Robbie Shaw to score, but Gavin O’Meara’s throw taken at the back of the line-out by Liston led to another expansive move from which Geoff Griffiths, who had a fine game at inside-centre against his former team, held his line to draw his man with perfection before off-loading to Squires to cross and give Blackheath a 17-10 advantage at the break.

Two penalties from Cross, both for scrum infringements, brought Esher back within a point after the re-start, but in the 59th minute, with Blackheath still looking to move the ball wide at every opportunity, Tom Carlisle’s long pass enabled Burcham to ignore the two men outside him, the centre slicing through the defence for the Club’s third try.

Nevertheless, the Surrey side again replied quickly. For the second time in the period, a charged-down kick put the hosts under pressure, Liam Nichols storming forward after second-row George Drye had taken possession, and although Chris Sewell produced a try-saving tackle to bring down EEEs; replacement hooker just short, support arrived quickly for Daly to dive over, Cross again bringing the deficit to a single point.

However, with Tom Bason, who popped up just about everywhere, continuing to lead from the front and constantly carrying ball into the opposition, allied to Carlisle’s fine line-kicking and distribution from fly-half, the hosts continued to hold the ascendancy. To their credit, Esher’s robust tackling frequently knocked the hosts backwards and off their stride, but as time ran short, hands were adjudged to have interfered at the breakdown and Squires’ late penalty eased the Club home.

The victory keeps Blackheath in fourth place in National League One. The Club take a break next weekend before returning to action on 7th March when they make their first ever trip to Hartpury College near Gloucester.

Tries: Lloyd, Squires, Burcham
Conv: Squires 3
Pens: Squires 2

Tries: Shaw, Daly
Conv: Cross 2
Pens: Cross 3

We now have a Blackheath Channel on Grandstand where you can to watch the highlights of this match – click here to find out more.

Graham Cox

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