Henley 13 Blackheath 47

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Blackheath down Hawks

Photo courtesy of Andy Fitzpatrick

An outstanding performance from Blackheath, and in particular their forwards who, against a Hawks pack who themselves had performed heroically against Darlington Mowden Park a week previously, dominated their counterparts and set the platform for this six-tries-to-one victory.

Two early Freddie Gabbitass penalties, the second from 45 metres, and both courtesy of their superior set-piece scrum, put the visitors ahead, and although Henley fly-half James Comben responded when Blackheath were themselves adjudged to have collapsed, Tom Baldwin and Gregor Gillanders succeeded in turning over possession straight from the re-start, and Terry Read drove powerfully under the posts for the first try. Five minutes later and clean line-out ball and a neat Jack Walsh dummy pierced the Henley defence, before Geoff Griffiths moved up into the three-quarter line for a second score and an 18-3 lead at the end of the first quarter.

Handling errors plagued Henley early on, but the hosts gradually ground their way into Club territory and, despite Gillanders’ frequent disruption of their line-out, open-side Tom Hall was driven across for a converted try on 33 minutes, but as the Hawks conceded another penalty from a set-scrum, giving the visitors field position, James Catt and Markus Burcham made the inroads before Aston Croall scampered across for a 13-point advantage at the break.

Henley arrived with more purpose at the start of the second period, and with George Edgson off to the sin-bin, Comben reduced the arrears by three points.

However, with the lock-pairing of Gillanders and Devin Montgomery performing magnificently, Blackheath were soon recycling their way back into Hawks territory, and with Dave Allen driven across from line-out ball for the four-try bonus on the hour, the Club were firmly back in command at 30-13.

Gabbitass added his third penalty, and as Henley tired in the gorgeous Dry Leas sunshine, Edgson made up for his earlier misdemeanour by bursting away from a ruck for try number five. And as the Club pack surged forward in the final play, against a Hawks defence depleted by two men in the sin-bin, referee Veryan Boscawen awarded the penalty try that completed an emphatic win.

Next Saturday, Blackheath return to Rectory Field to take on Darlington Mowden Park. Kick-off for the game is 3.00 pm.


Tries: Hall
Conv: Comben
Pens: Comben 2


Tries: Read, Griffiths, Croall, Allen, Edgson, Penalty try
Conv: Gabbitass 4
Pens: Gabbitass 3


Blackheath Team

15 Geoff Griffiths
14 Mike Mvelase
13 Markus Burcham
12 Simon Whatling
11 Tom Chapman
10 Freddie Gabbitass
9 Jack Walsh

1 Aston Croall
2 Scott Wright
3 Terry Read
4 Gregor Gillanders
5 Devin Montgomery
6 Tom Baldwin
7 Dave Allen
8 James Catt

16 George Edgson (Wright)
17 Kieron Scutt (Read)
18 Tom Ellis (Allen)
19 Jake Loyd (Chapman)
20 Mark Briant (Whatling)

Graham Cox

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