Blackheath 94 Westcliff 0

The reorganisation of domestic rugby was always likely to throw up a few mismatches, and this one signalled itself sometime in advance.

Westcliff arrived at Well Hall on this cloudy afternoon having claimed nothing more than three bonus points from their ten previous matches, while Blackheath, sitting at the head of the table, were scoring at an average of 40-points a game.

They improved on that statistic in this match, while at the same time, recording their best-ever league result, and their best-ever try-count (fourteen), having exceeded the 82-0 win against Manchester almost exactly 13 years ago.

It took only a minute for Blackheath to open their account, as Tom Stradwick went under the posts.

Soon after, a huge shove by the Club pack saw ball moved blind, Tom Ffitch sending Jake Hennessey across, before Jake Lloyd did well to gather his own chip and cross for try number three.

The bonus point score came with just 15 minutes played, as Paul Schroter crossed, and Brendan McMillan was driven over following a penalty to touch.

Chris Bell and Alex Brown, the full-back making his first appearance since breaking his leg almost exactly a year ago, sent Andy Denham into contact just short of the line, Bell finishing off from close-range.

Schroter added his second try and, just prior to the interval, great handling saw Lloyd also complete a brace, the right-wing scoring out wide.

Tom Ffitch added a fine conversion, his seventh of the period, and at the break Blackheath held a 54-0 lead.

A further three tries came within eight minutes of the re-start.

Scrum ball was moved across field for Stradwick to stroll over for his second, Charlie MacCallum drove across for his first Club try, and when loose ball at the base of the lineout was hoofed clear, it was collected for Stevie Leonard to take the score into the seventies.

Luc Jeannot got in on the scoring on 57 minutes, and Ed Taylor crossed soon after. However, although Jeannot claimed his second in the closing the stages, the final quarter was notable for some committed Westcliff tackling that, despite their hopeless position, saw them spirited to the end.

‘Obviously it’s very satisfying to get such a big win, but more than that I’m really pleased with the performance,’ said Blackheath head coach James Shanahan.

‘Our accuracy, speed of ball, surpassed anything this season to date.’

‘Credit to Westcliff, we know they’re struggling, but they’re working hard and they never gave up.’

‘But today we were outstanding. If we can take this performance into two huge games against Barnes and Worthing we’ll be well set at Christmas.’


Tries: Stradwick 1, 43, Hennessey 8, Lloyd 13, 39, Schroter 15, 29, McMillan 19, Bell 25, MacCallum 45, Leonard 48, Jeannot 57, 74 ,Taylor 61,
Conv: Ffitch 1, 8, 13, 19, 25, 30, 39, 43, 45, 48, 61, 74


Blackheath Team

15 . Alex Brown
14 . Jake Lloyd
13 . Jake Hennessey
12 . Markus Burcham
11 . Andrew Denham
10 . Tom Ffitch
9 . Chris Bell

1 . Luc Jeannot
2 . Brendan McMillan
3 . Archie Holland
4 . Tom Stradwick
5 . Ed Taylor (Capt)
6 . Stevie Leonard
7 . Paul Schroter
8 . Tom Baldwin

16 . Alex Witchell
17 . Charlie MacCallum
18 . Freddie Owen
19 . Oli Claxton
20 . Alex Harris

Graham Cox (in absentia)

Photos: Andy Wansbury