Blackheath 43 Darlington Mowden Park 13

With both teams entering this contest on two wins from three outings at the outset of their National League One campaigns, it was, perhaps, no surprise that the game sat on a knife-edge for an hour, with never more than five-points separating the sides.

Eventually, however, Blackheath’s lineout, which had faltered early on, came together to complement a dominant scrum, and some outstanding out-of-hand kicking from debutant fly-half Matt Dalrymple, and the Club stormed away with four converted tries in the final quarter to seal victory.

The first period was very different with the lead changing hands on four occasions.

An early lineout success saw Stevie Clark-Leonard make the inroads into the Mowden Park defences, before Leo Fielding came off his left-wing to weave across out wide on the right on eight minutes.

However, as the Club attacked through the midfield, ball was lost forward, and a neat backhanded pass from DMP second-row Joe Craggs sent wing Henry Hadfield sprinting half the length of the field to score, Josh Ree adding the conversion and a penalty for a 10-5 lead for the visitors.

Blackheath were back in front on 23 minutes, as Dalrymple put his side within five-metres following a scrum penalty, and James Catt, postponing his retirement, burrowed across after a couple of phases for a converted try, and with the two fly-halves exchanging further strikes at goal, the hosts led 15-13 at the break.

Mostly, however, Blackheath’s lineout ball was either messy, or found DMP hands, keeping the score tight, until the 59th minute when the Club pack dismantled the DMP eight once again, and the other set-piece began to purr.

Clark-Leonard crashed across on the hour, and as a throw on the opposite side of the field was collected at second-row by skipper Ed Taylor, ball sped across the park for Dalrymple (who else!) to find Jake Hennessey coming up at pace from full-back to score in the left corner.

Twice the visitors were thwarted by forward passes, while at the other end, Blackheath’s accuracy kept them moving forward, and as Matt Armstrong went close, support arrived for Tom Baldwin to drive over.

Finally, Chris Bell looped a pass out wide for Ollie Walliker to trot over, Dalrymple striking a fifth conversion to end with a 13-point personal haul.

Next Saturday Blackheath make the journey to Cheshire to face Sale FC. Kick-off at Heywood Road is at 3.00 pm.

Blackheath’s next home fixture is on 7th October against Cinderford, with an earlier kick-off of 2.30 pm.


Tries: Fielding 8, Catt 23, Clark-Leonard 60, Hennessey, 63, Baldwin 72, Walliker 78
Conv: Dalrymple 23, 60, 63, 72, 78
Pens: Dalrymple 35

Darlington Mowden Park

Tries: Hadfield 12
Conv: Ree 12
Pens: Ree 19, 31

Attendance: 320

Blackheath Team

15 . Jake Hennessey
14 . Jake Lloyd
13 . Sam Hill
12 . Markus Burcham
11 . Leo Fielding
10 . Matt Dalrymple
9 . Jack Daly

1 . Will Davis
2 . Ollie Walliker
3 . Andy Boye
4 . James Catt
5 . Ed Taylor (Capt)
6 . Stevie Clark-Leonard
7 . Bill Harding
8 . Tom Baldwin

16 . Jack Owlett
17 . Archie Holland
18 . Fin O’Sullivan
19 . Chris Bell
20 . Matt Armstrong

Photos: Andy Wansbury

Graham Cox