Bury St Edmunds 12 Blackheath 21

Photos courtesy of Deborah Lloyd

Two early tries gave Blackheath a grip on this match, but the Club were never able to ease off against a determined and spirited Bury side.

The Suffolk club, who sat fourth in National League Two East after a run of six victories, dominated large parts of this contest only to come up against an organised, well-drilled, defence.

Eventually, they would find their way around the barricades for two scores of their own, but only after Tom Ffitch, a late replacement at fly-half for the unwell Oli Burgess, had stretched Blackheath further away with three penalties.

‘In the first half we were really clinical,’ said Club head coach James Shanahan. ‘We took our chances, and probably should have had a couple more scores.’

‘Bury came out firing, as they’d done in our previous match, but our defence was outstanding – a real masterclass. Our physicality, our time in the tackle, our ability to get back on to our feet and into the defensive line, were all exceptional.’

‘Our discipline cracked a bit towards the end, something we need to work on, but they launched quite an onslaught. Against anyone else Bury would probably have scored 30 or 40 points.’

It was just two into the game when Oli Walliker popped up in the fly-half position to send Andy Denham on a run from the half-way line to beneath the uprights.

Soon after, Markus Burcham’s neat kick forced Bury into conceding a five-metre lineout from which the inside-centre produced a fine off-load for Jake Hennessey to crash across.

Ffitch narrowly missed the conversion, but two of his penalty strikes gave Blackheath an 18-0 lead at the break.

Perhaps Bury should have converted a couple of the penalties their pressure brought, but they opted for set-piece, or tap and go, to little effect until wing Ciaran Leeson found an opening down the left touchline.

The third Ffitch penalty increased Blackheath’s cushion, full-back Charlie Reed’s collection of a cross-field kick for a second Bury try coming too late to affect the outcome.

Blackheath now need just five league points to confirm promotion back to National League One as they head to Westcliff next Saturday. Kick off at The Gables is at 3.00 pm.

Bury St Edmunds

Tries: Leeson 57, Reed 80
Conv: Reed 57, 80


Tries: Denham 2, Hennessey 9
Conv: Ffitch 2
Pens: Ffitch 29, 32, 62

Attendance: 613

Blackheath Team

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

1 . Archie Holland
2 . Oli 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 . Luc Jeannot
18 . James Catt
19 . Chris Bell
20 . Alex Harris

Graham Cox (in absentia)