Blackheath resolve set-piece issues as they pull off win over Bishop’s Stortford

BY GRAHAM COX

Blackheath are third in National League 1 after a 19-14 home win over Bishop’s Stortford last weekend.

For much of the contest the away side held sway while Blackheath’s discipline crumbled and looked like they might make it a hat-trick of victories in only their third visit to Well Hall.

But Club stabilised their set-piece, which had wobbled in the middle of the game, and emerged worthy winners.

Blackheath couldn’t have asked for a better start either.  A penalty for a scrum infringement saw Tom Baldwin take the throw from the touchline, and with backs joining the pack for the drive towards the goal-line, Jake Lloyd touched down for the first score.

Things immediately got worse for Stortford as, with a player in front of the restart, a scrum followed by a free-kick saw ball moved quickly by Jack Daly and Mark Cooke for Leo Fielding to combine with Lloyd down the right flank, giving the right-wing his second try.

Cooke added the second of two excellent conversions and the hosts led 14-0 with only five minutes played.

Stortford began to play the elements better as the game settled down. Blackheath conceded 11 first-half penalties – and two yellow cards – and the visitors were back on level terms by the interval.

First, on 36 minutes, skipper and number-eight Baxter Wilson found space to touch down following a close-range scrum after ball was initially held up.

Stortford set the ruck for second-row Tom Lewis to dive over and score despite being shunted back at another close-range scrum.

Fly-half Brad Burr made use of the crossbar to strike his second conversion and bring the score to 14-14.

The rain returned for the second period, hampering both teams further, as the game continued in its attritional, scrappy manner.

Burr attempted a long-range penalty on 52 minutes to break the deadlock, but it fell short.

Blackheath stepped up the intensity and Tom Baldwin’s try from a series of drives off lineout ball on the hour proved decisive.

Blackheath travel to Cambridge tomorrow (2pm).

PICTURE BY SEAN GOSLING

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