North Walsham 25 Blackheath 35

The side sitting second from bottom of National League Two East, facing the club twelve points clear at the top, will rightly feel mighty disappointed with the end result of this contest.

North Walsham fought magnificently, leading from the fifth to the 58th minute, their backs slicing through the Blackheath defences, making the visitors’ tackling look decidedly ordinary.

In the end, however, the Club’s forward power took control, giving Blackheath the full quota of five league points while the Norfolk club finished empty-handed.

The first quarter belonged entirely to the hosts. A soft penalty gave Walsh a close-range lineout, from which centre George Loose joined the maul to claim the opening score and, moments later, full-back Dan Smith was scything through the cover for a second try.

Fly-half Matt Hodgson added the conversion, and a 45-metre penalty, and to the delight of the vocal home support, Walsh held a 15-point lead on 18 minutes.

However, the hosts had no answer to the Club scrum, which consistently drove the opposition backwards, and as the penalties came, the visitors opted for the set-piece five-metres from the Walsh goal-line, from which Tom Baldwin touched down at the base.

Tom Stradwick, making a storming return from injury, powered across for a second converted try, following a short lineout, and despite minimal territory, Blackheath narrowed the deficit to a single point at the break.

Walsh again took the initiative after the re-start. Scrum-half Connor Dudley sped over on 43 minutes, put through by the impressive Hodgson, who also converted.

Almost immediately, Jake Hennessey was caught just short of the try-line, the Club outside-centre popping the ball up for Stradwick to claim his second try, but Hodgson’s second penalty kept the hosts four points ahead.

However, as the steady drizzle intensified, Blackheath’s pack once again took the upper hand, with Freddie Owen driven over from lineout ball, followed by Chris Bell diving over after huge pressure under the uprights, Oli Burgess’ fifth conversion extending the Club’s advantage to ten-points.

Walsh attacked desperately in the closing moments, searching for a fourth try, even spurning an easy three points in the process which would have yielded one league point. All to no avail as, this time, Blackheath’s defence stood firm, denying Walsh reward, and claiming an eleventh successive win.

Next Saturday Blackheath return to Well Hall for the visit of Kent rival Tonbridge Juddian. Kick-off is at 3.00 pm.

North Walsham

Tries: Loose 5, Smith 8, Dudley 43
Conv: Hodgson 8, 43
Pens: Hodgson 19, 50


Tries: Baldwin 23, Stradwick 34, 45, Owen 58, Bell 69
Conv: Burgess 23, 34, 45, 58, 69

Attendance: 600

Blackheath Team

15 . Nick Foster
14 . Andy Denham
13 . Jake Hennessey
12 . Matt Armstrong
11 . Alex Harris
10 . Oli Burgess
9 . Jack Daly

1 . Archie Holland
2 . Oli Walliker
3 . Andy Boye
4 . Tom Stradwick
5 . Ed Taylor (Capt)
6 . James Catt
7 . Freddie Owen
8 . Tom Baldwin

16 . Alex Witchell
17 . Luc Jeannot
18 . Harry Holland
19 . Chris Bell
20 . Alex Brown

Graham Cox