Blackheath 33 Old Albanian 21

A ninth home win of the National League Two East campaign for Blackheath, who remain unbeaten at Well Hall, but no other side can claim to have pushed them as hard as Old Albanians.

The Hertfordshire side arrived as one of only two teams to have defeated the Club this term, and with the confidence of their 24-19 victory at The Woollams in October behind them, OAs once again demonstrated an ability to strike from anywhere with some impressive backs play.

Not in the opening quarter, though, when Blackheath were dominant, playing some of their best rugby of the season to date.

As OAs wing Tom Stileman was dispatched for a deliberate knock-on, a penalty-try was awarded on twelve minutes for collapsing from the ensuing lineout drive, resulting in a second yellow card for the visitors, and was soon followed by Freddie Owen putting Nick Foster clear down the vacant right touchline.

A half-break by Jack Daly was followed by great work in midfield from Markus Burcham, to send Andy Boye over for a third try, giving Blackheath 19-points in as many minutes, and had further chances soon after been executed, the hosts could have been out of sight.

As it was, an accidental trip handed OAs their own penalty-try on 35 minutes in their first assault in opposition territory, and with Blackheath briefly down to 14-men, and Alex Noot controlling play, the fly-half combined with Stileman to put scrum-half Elliot McPhun across, reducing the deficit to just five points at the break.

A 50:22 gave OAs a foothold after the re-start, pressure they maintained throughout the third quarter, testing the Blackheath defences to the full. However, the ramparts would not be breached, and as the siege was finally lifted, and Daly got the better of his opposite number off the base of a scrum, the Club scrum-half popped loose ball up for Burcham to race away and score.

It was only a brief respite for the hosts though. As Andrew Nurse juggled possession, the OAs full-back found himself clear and, with support up quickly, more good handling sent open-side Kemp Price gliding across to cancel out the seven points, bringing the visitors back within striking range.

Nevertheless, it was Blackheath who finished in the ascendancy and, despite losing possession in attack on two occasions, the Club pack picked and drove to work James Catt across late on and secure the win.

Next Saturday Blackheath travel to the south coast to take on Worthing in the re-arranged fixture from December. Kick off at Roundstone Lane is at the earlier time of 2 pm.


Tries: Penalty 12. Foster 15, Boye 19, Burcham 69, Catt 78
Conv: Ffitch 19, 69, 78

Old Albanian

Tries: Penalty 35, McPhun 39, Price 71
Conv: Noot 39, 71

Attendance: 520

Blackheath Team

15 . Alex Brown
14 . Jake Lloyd
13 . Jake Hennessey
12 . Markus Burcham
11 . Nick Foster
10 . Tom Ffitch
9 . Jack Daly

1 . Archie Holland
2 . Ollie Walliker
3 . Andy Boye
4 . Kaden Pearce-Paul
5 . Ed Taylor (Capt)
6 . Tom Stradwick
7 . Freddie Owen
8 . Tom Baldwin

16 . Alex Witchell
17 . Charlie McCallum
18 . James Catt
19 . Chris Bell
20 . Alex Harris

Graham Cox

Photos: Andy Wansbury