Bury St Edmunds 36 Blackheath 33

Pre-season friendlies will inevitably be of more use to coaches, players and officials than the casual observer, and that will apply more than ever in advance of a campaign dominated by discussion of the controversial new tackle law affecting domestic rugby at Level Three and below.

Sure enough, this match was punctuated by numerous high tackle calls, as well as other infringements, but those who turned out on this gusty afternoon in Suffolk were able to enjoy some decent passages of play and, reassuringly, a few strong driving, legitimate, tackles (and a worrying moment when a kick to touch drove a large hole in the clubhouse roof!).

For the record, in a game made of three ‘thirds’ to enable both teams to switch around their squads (33 players in Blackheath’s case) Bury always had the edge on the scoreboard, apart from a brief moment when Blackheath sneaked in front during the second period.

The first of the hosts’ six tries came on 24 minutes after a long period of pressure, but scores from Stevie Clark-Leonard, Ben Charnock and Tom Baldwin pegged them back.

The final ‘third,’ however, saw Bury stretch out, until Alex Witchell and Korede Sanusi brought the Club back within range.

Blackheath take on Barnes at Well Hall on Saturday in two matches with kick-offs set for 1.00 pm and 3.00 pm.

Graham Cox

Photo: Helen Watson