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Allen’s four revive Blackheath
Blackheath 35 v Cambridge 18.
A cold, wet, gusty afternoon which didn’t help either set of players produce a fluent game of rugby. But in the end, a worthy victory for Blackheath against a Cambridge team that, despite providing resilience for much of the contest, simply ran out of gas towards the close.
And in conditions made for forward play, it was four tries from flanker Dave Allen, all from driving mauls off line-outs with Tom Bason and Tom Stradwick proving exemplary at lock, which separated the two sides.
The first effort came after just five minutes as the Club opened with sustained pressure close to the Cambridge goal-line, off-loading well at this stage, until the visitors conceded their first penalty and hooker Gavin O’Meara hit his target for Allen to be driven across.
However, in a largely error-strewn first period, in which Blackheath committed no less than eleven handling mistakes, it was Cambridge who stole the initiative. First a penalty from fly-half Elliot Bale narrowed the gap, and then as centre Albert Portsmouth tore into Club territory, creating the overlap, a converted try from wing James Ayrton.
Nevertheless, it was the Club pack who held the upper hand and two tries in two minutes regained an advantage the hosts were not to relinquish. On the stroke of half-time, full-back Geoff Griffiths gave Blackheath field position with a penalty to touch from which Allen was heaved across for parity at the break, and within moments of the re-start, the open-side recorded his hat-trick for a 15-10 lead.
Club scrum-half Jack Walsh and Bale exchanged penalties, before some superb driving work from loose-head James Cleverly and Stradwick on 58 minutes took play to the Cambridge goal-line for outside-centre Richard Windsor to dive over for the fourth try bonus point.
And although Blackheath finally paid for some loose kicking out of hand, as Cambridge’s Patrick Tapley rounded the defence for Cambridge’s second try, Allen’s final score, and a late effort from replacement back-row James Catt, as the hosts hammered the visitors’ goal-line, eased the Club to their first victory in four matches.
Next weekend Blackheath have another tough outing as they travel the West Midlands for a Sunday fixture against Coventry before returning to Rectory Field for their next home match in SSE National League One against Rosslyn Park on 10th November.
Tries: Allen 4, Windsor, Catt.
Tries: Ayrton (James), Tapley.
Pens: Bale 2.