Get involved: Send pictures, video, news and views - text NEWS SHOPPER to 80360 or email us
Green barrage fails to spoil Club’s New Year
Wharfedale 15 v Blackheath 25.
One of the most outstanding defensive performances you’re ever likely to witness denied Wharfedale, and ensured Blackheath were able to build on their pre-Christmas success against Esher and begin 2013 in fine fashion.
At this remote and beautiful (even on a grey afternoon) venue, way up in the Yorkshire Dales, the Club put up an impenetrable dry stone wall against a Green onslaught as the hosts spent 90% of the second period in opposition territory.
However, victory wouldn’t have been possible without the Club gaining an almost perfect start to the contest.
In the opening minute, scrum-half Jack Walsh caught the Dalesmen cold, breaking 30-metres with a quickly taken free-kick, before ball was spread across field for left-wing Liam Gibson to cross for his debut try for his club.
Rory Teague added the conversion, and moments later the fly-half hoisted a perfectly judged cross-field kick for opposite wing Richard Lankshear to collect and fall over the goal-line for a 12-0 lead on just six minutes.
Now though, the Green Machine awoke from its slumber. First a delightful scissors move sent outside-centre Joe Donkin beneath the uprights, followed by an attacking line-out leading to hooker Steve Graham driving across, and by the 21st minute the hosts were back on level terms.
Despite being temporarily reduced to 14-men, Teague nudged Blackheath back into the lead with two penalties prior to the break, while opposite number Tom Barrett reduced the arrears to three as Wharfedale were similarly impeded after the re-start, but they were the only points the visitors would yield in the second period and in the 48th minute the Club took full advantage of their extra man.
As the drive off another successful line-out reached the goal-line, Wharfedale came in at the side to collapse, and referee Andrew Taylorson awarded a penalty try to give Blackheath a ten-point lead.
Restored to full strength and with the sloping pitch in their favour, Wharfedale launched wave after wave of attack, the Greens spreading the ball wide and cutting neat angles as they probed the defences, twice forcing the ball across the goal-line only to find Blackheath bodies underneath.
But aided by the heavy surface the Blackheath defence remained watertight, and as the hosts began to tire and the unforced errors increased in number, the visitors could start to celebrate an important win at this tough and hostile venue.
Next Saturday, Blackheath look forward to their first home fixture of 2013 as they take on Old Albanian, one place above the Club in National League One in fifth position. Kick off at Rectory Field is 3.00 pm.
Tries: Donkin, Graham.
Tries: Gibson, Lankshear.
Conv: Teague 2.
Pens: Teague 2.