Photos courtesy of Claire Jeffrey
Fitter, faster, stronger – on this showing, Rosslyn Park are a class above any of the opposition Blackheath have faced to date.
On this mild November evening, the Roehampton side ran in nine tries, five before the interval, demonstrating throughout an ability to strike from anywhere, roaring through the slightest defensive chink with skill and searing pace, and creating hat-tricks for two of their number.
It took only three minutes for the hosts to strike, right-wing Ben Marfo crossing after a couple of phases following a close-range lineout.
Blackheath enjoyed some territory for a while, and although Park turned-over possession, a loose kick saw Nick Foster away down the left flank, the wing cutting inside and finding Ollie Claxton to finish, Freddie Gabbitass’ conversion giving the visitors the slight advantage.
Only briefly though. Blind-side Dan Laventure peeled off a maul for the first of his three on 18 minutes, and as Park burst through a gap in the Club’s midfield to reach the goal-line, ball was played left for Craig Holland to cross, the fly-half converting his own score for a ten-point lead.
Luke Baldwin off-loaded beautifully after breaking blind from a lineout move near halfway, sending Ben Howard sprinting down the left touchline, and the left-wing added his second on the stroke of half-time as quick hands moved the ball out wide from inside.
Briefly, hope flickered for Blackheath, as Park infringed six times after the restart, before Freddie Owen drove across for the Club’s second try in the 47th minute.
The visitors’ scrum too was solid enough, but the lineout, so reliable a week earlier against Taunton, faltered at key moments, and once Holland found a brilliant kick from defence to claim a 50:22 from the narrowest of angles, the Surrey side’s confidence surged and they simply enjoyed themselves.
Laventure hit his pass at pace to storm over on the left, before Holland completed his brace on the right flank. And in the final ten minutes Laventure and Howard notched up their hat-tricks, the final score bringing up a half-century against Blackheath for the first time in seven years.
Next Saturday Blackheath return to home soil for the visit of Bishop’s Stortford. Kick-off at Well Hall is at 3.00 pm
Tries: Marfo 3, Laventure 18, 60, 71, Holland 21, 67, Howard 37, 39, 78
Conv: Holland 21, 37, 39, 71, 78
Tries: Claxton 14, Owen 47
Conv: Gabbitass 14, 47
15 . Alex Brown
14 . Jake Lloyd
13 . James Newey
12 . George Spencer
11 . Nick Foster
10 . Freddie Gabbitass
9 . Ollie Claxton
1 . Tom Williams
2 . Nathan Morris
3 . Matt Collins
4 . Dom McGeekie
5 . Ed Taylor (Capt)
6 . Tom Stradwick
7 . Steve Leonard
8 . Harry Holland
16 . Harry Fry
17 . Andrew Boye
18 . Freddie Owen
19 . Dan Hiscocks
20 . Sam Evans