Blackheath 54 Worthing 5

Eight tries for Blackheath who signed off their 2022/23 National League Two East season at Well Hall in fine style with this performance against the side who started the day in third place in the table.

Also, impressively, it ensured the Club maintained their perfect home record, with thirteen from thirteen bonus point wins, and a fitting prelude to the formal presentation of the league title secured at Westcliff three weeks previously.

On a bright and sunny afternoon, early penalties gave Blackheath field position, and as Tom Baldwin took lineout ball, and Blackheath nibbled around the fringes, Stevie Clarke-Leonard picked and drove for the first of his two tries on eleven minutes.

A couple of forward passes spoilt further promising moves from the hosts, and Worthing also probed, forcing some great defence, notably from Markus Burcham and Baldwin.

Indeed, it was from defence that Blackheath claimed their next score, as Chris Bell and Jake Lloyd combined to break from the Club twenty-two. Alex Harris recovered the move as it appeared to break down, the wing evading defenders to make ground and allowing support to arrive, before Clarke-Leonard shrugged off tacklers for the blind-side’s second score.

Moments later, on the stroke of half-time, Nick Foster made a fine run off an attacking scrum, Andy Boye popped up in midfield, and Harry Holland, making his final home appearance before setting off for Australia, sent Lloyd over out wide to put Blackheath 19-0 ahead at the break.

Two quick scores after the re-start stamped further authority on the contest. Burcham and Foster sent Harris on another wonderful mazy run, this time from 40-metres out, to dive under the uprights, and as the Club pack drove forward from its smoothly functioning lineout, Tom Ffitch’s grubber-kick allowed Burcham to touch down for a fifth try.

James Catt, also in his final home game after a Club career stretching back to 2008, and which has seen the loose forward appear in a Blackheath jersey 173 times, joined the fray on 52 minutes to help power Luc Jeannot over from another close-range lineout.

Baldwin continued to be a towering presence at both lineout and re-starts, but it was Boye who took the main plaudits. The tight-head not only anchored the Club scrum, but was immense in the loose, as when on 62 minutes he mopped up loose ball, before play swept across field and Oli Burgess sent Andy Denham across to score.

As the game opened up further, Worthing skipper and blind-side Liam Perkins broke clear, off-loading to wing Curtis Barnes to get the visitors on the scoreboard.

However, the final word went to Blackheath with a moment of brilliance from Burcham. The outside-centre, and former skipper, first ripped possession, before collecting his own grubber and dummying his way over the goal-line, Ffitch adding his seventh conversion.

Blackheath complete their campaign next Saturday with a first-ever trip to Dorking, the side who replace Worthing in third place in National League Two East. Kick off at The Big Field is at 3.00 pm.


Tries: Clarke-Leonard 11, 37, Lloyd 39, Harris 44, Burcham 47, 71, Jeannot 57, Denham 61
Conv: Ffitch 11, 37, 44, 47, 57, 61, 71


Tries: Barnes 68

Attendance: 850

Blackheath Team

15 . Nick Foster
14 . Jake Lloyd
13 . Markus Burcham
12 . Oli Burgess
11 . Alex Harris
10 . Tom Ffitch
9 . Chris Bell

1 . Archie Holland
2 . Ollie Walliker
3 . Andy Boye
4 . Tom Stradwick
5 . Ed Taylor (Capt)
6 . Stephen Clark-Leonard
7 . Harry Holland
8 . Tom Baldwin

16 . Alex Witchell
17 . Luc Jeannot
18 . James Catt
19 . George Daly
20 . Andy Denham

Photos: Andy Wansbury

Graham Cox