ROSSLYN PARK 15
BY GRAHAM COX AT WELL HALL
A final tally of three tries to nil and quite possibly Blackheath’s best period of rugby this season to date, as the hosts came back from a four-point deficit at the break to claim victory in this hard-fought physical contest.
Not, however, before Rosslyn Park had taken the early initiative. With heavy rain falling throughout, Park saw two clearances land in touch on the full, but as the visitors adjusted to the conditions, the out-of-hand kicking of full-back Henry Robinson and fly-half Greg Lound kept Blackheath firmly in their own territory, the latter on target at goal with three penalties for a 9-0 lead.
With the wind against them, Blackheath’s kicking in the first period was less effective, and on a day when ball was difficult to control their line-out struggled too.
But their set-scrum, with Neale Patrick and Josh Peters in the engine room, had the upper hand.
The hosts finally broke the stranglehold on 35 minutes. Jake Lloyd gathered a misdirected clearance, Mark Cooke’s chip towards the corner was fumbled and Nick Foster was able to ground for a try on his home debut to reduce the deficit to 9-5 at the interval.
Now with the elements assisting their kicking, allied to a reduced penalty count, the restart saw a much improved Blackheath take the lead on 51 minutes.
As Stef Liebenberg opted for a tap-penalty, ruck ball was set up in front of the Park uprights, and with play moved wide, Jake Lloyd broke through a tackle to score, Cooke adding the conversion from a difficult angle.
Lound and Elliot Clements-Hill exchanged penalties, but it was the Club right-wing’s second try, a beauty as ball from Blackheath’s dominant scrum was moved inside, and Lloyd found a fine line, as well as outstanding pace, to out-sprint the cover and cross in the corner.
Lound struck a fifth penalty to bring Park within five points, but the visitors’ only real attacking opportunity of the second period floundered on a moment of indiscipline. Clements-Hill’s final goal put Blackheath out of range.
Blackheath go to Cambridge on Saturday.
PICS BY DAVID WHITTAM