Club dig deep to strike from behind

News Shopper: Club number-eight James Catt on the charge.  Photo: Helen Watson Club number-eight James Catt on the charge. Photo: Helen Watson

Blackheath 30 Cinderford 22.

For the second time in a fortnight Blackheath were forced to come from behind to grind out a win.

And once again it was through their own making, as unforced errors early on put them on the back foot, but when all is said and done the Club managed to produce a second half performance of such pace and dominance that they ended worthy winners.

‘The boys dug deep and showed a lot of spirit after the break,’ said performance director Yusuf Ibrahim.

‘We’re not really clicking as we should be just now, but we’ve worked hard on our fitness with our strength and conditioning coach Lee Eldridge.  That, and Tom Stradwick’s leadership, got us through.’

Blackheath were undoubtedly second best in the first period.  After weathering some early pressure, Cinderford struck decisively on twelve minutes when Mark Davies’ flat pass was met at pace by Mike Wilcox, the full-back’s deft grubber being grounded by wing Lloyd Stapleton.

Hooker Tom Bozzard was driven over from a line-out for a second soon after for a fully merited 12-0 lead before Rory Teague, playing against his former club, got Blackheath on the scoreboard with his first penalty.

Club full-back Geoff Griffiths scythed open the Cinderford midfield with a lovely break on 35 minutes before fine handling from Gethin Davies and Dave Allen sent Richard Windsor across for a score, but Mark Davies added a penalty to his one conversion for a 15-10 half-time advantage for the visitors.

The second period though was a different story.  From the outset Blackheath used their dominant line-out to drive into the heart of the Cinderford defence, and with their set-scrum also providing a platform, scrum-half Jack Walsh nipped through a gap to score close enough to the uprights to provide for an easy conversion.

Teague had missed touch a couple of times early on, but now the Club fly-half’s line-kicking kept Cinderford pinned in their own territory before two more penalties stretched the lead out beyond a converted score.

Turnover ball produced Blackheath’s third try in the 73rd minute, as David Dunne’s pass sent Liam Gibson weaving across the goal-line, and although Cinderford rallied enough to force Bozzard across from a line-out, it was no more than consolation for the men from Gloucestershire.

‘I’m disappointed to leave empty handed, especially after our first half performance,’ said Cinderford head coach Andy Deacon.

‘But we knew Blackheath would come back at us and we didn’t get far enough ahead when we had the chance.  We ended up being caught between keeping the ball and kicking, and lost our shape.’

On Wednesday Blackheath host Tonbridge Juddian in round three of the Kent Cup (KO 7.45 pm at Rectory Field) while their next league match sees them travel to Cambridge on Saturday 2nd March.

Blackheath.

Tries: Windsor, Walsh, Gibson.
Conv: Teague 3.
Pens: Teague  3.

Cinderford.

Try: Stapleton, Bozzard 2.
Conv: Davies 2.
Pens: Davies.

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