Caldy 17 Blackheath 25
A superb performance, and deserved victory, to topple the National League One leaders and keep Blackheath’s challenge at the head of the table firmly alive.
In a tight game each side scored three tries but the visitors kept their noses in front, bar a five-minute spell early in the second period, and mounted a staunch defence to see themselves to a fourth successive win.
Blackheath were led by the inspirational Markus Burcham who captained the club for the 100th time – 99 of them consecutive. He had a fine match in the midfield and was heavily involved in the attack straight from the kick-off which demonstrated Blackheath’s intent and took the visitors close, only for Caldy to turn over ball at the first scrum. But as a strong break from Henry Staff resulted in the outside-centre being held up across the goal-line, the ensuing set-piece saw ball spun across field for Jake Lloyd to pop ball inside for Nick Foster to score the opening try.
Elliot Clements-Hill added the conversion and a further three points as Caldy came up off-side, but a penalty at the other end saw the Cheshire side opt for a scrum from which tight-head Derek Salisbury drove across, reducing the hosts’ deficit to 10-7.
Great work again by Burcham, allied to Neale Patrick making good yardage, enabled Mark Cooke to send Staff powering across in the left corner, despite a slight juggle with the ball.
Caldy responded again as phases of line-out ball opened up space for left-wing Luke Hibberd to cross, leaving the score 15-12 at the break in favour of the visitors.
Caldy had their best period of the match around the interval. A needless forward pass put Blackheath under pressure, the hosts again benefitted from the option of a scrum from a penalty, this time hooker Ted Stagg driving over for the score.
With a two-point deficit and Craig Dowsett in the sin-bin, Blackheath might have begun to flounder. But a Cooke penalty restored the lead before, on 54 minutes, the decisive moment came as Caldy allowed the ball to fall loose, and Foster pounced, the full-back sprinting 40-metres and under the uprights.
Another Cooke penalty struck the post, and two attacking line-outs which might have enabled the visitors to move out of sight went wayward in the stiff breeze.
Blackheath return to Well Hall on Saturday to take on newly-promoted Sale FC (2 pm kick-off).
Tries: Salisbury, Hibberd, Stagg
Tries: Foster 2, Staff
Conv: Clements-Hill, Cooke
Pens: Clements-Hill, Cooke