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Summers’ debut and Allen’s century steer Club to victory
Blackheath 32 Hull Ionians 16
The newly-promoted champions of SSE National Two North have struggled to adapt to life at the higher level to date, but a tight result at home to fellow Yorkshiremen Wharfedale a week ago would have given cause for optimism, as Hull Ionians arrived for their first visit to Rectory Field.
Indeed, the men from the East Riding competed well in the tight phases, giving themselves some decent possession. However, the visitors had little answer to Blackheath’s greater firepower behind the scrum (despite the blow of losing Mike Canty in the eighth minute) and two tries in each half saw the Club to their first victory in four matches, while at the same time kept Ionians winless and firmly at the foot of the table.
Not that there was much evidence of Blackheath’s superiority early on. As their set-piece floundered, passes were spilt (partly due, in fairness, to a sharp shower shortly before kick-off) and penalties conceded, Ionians fly-half Lloyd Hayes opened the scoring for the visitors with a penalty, but on 18 minutes the match changed as Tom Bason rose to snatch an opposition line-out.
Richard Windsor weaved into opposition territory before finding Jack Walsh on his blind-side to race in from 30 metres and score.
David Marshall followed up his successful conversion with two penalties and, in the 32nd minute, Markus Burcham and Ben Summers (the latter making his first Blackheath start) combined in a further attack deep into the Ionians’ half. Second phase ball was played inside to where Marshall’s short pass saw Dave Allen pierce the defence, a flamboyant dive marking the 100th try in Club colours for Blackheath’s stand-out player of the last decade, and giving the hosts a 20-3 interval lead.
Ionians took the scrum option at every opportunity, and as the visitors put pressure on the Club goal-line after the re-start, a third set-piece paid dividends, as number-eight Alex Campbell drove across for a converted try. But as the visitors pressed again soon after, Jon West turned over ball enabling Blackheath to counter, and a move which went the length of the field, and through numerous hands and phases, climaxed with Walsh finding the gap to release Summers for his debut try, restoring the hosts’ 17-point advantage.
The Yorkshiremen weren’t out of the contest just yet, and as Blackheath incurred the wrath of the Rectory Field crowd for some lousy out-of-hand kicking, Hayes (who, like his opposite number, struck beautifully at goal in blustery conditions) reduced the deficit with two further penalties.
However, Blackheath always had the ascendancy with ball in hand, and as Allen drove forward from a lineout supported by Bason and Nik Grier, Simon Whatling found the neatest of off-loads to Geoff Griffiths to cross over for the final score.
Blackheath travel to the Forest of Dean next Saturday to take on Cinderford. Kick-off at The Beavis Memorial Ground in Dockham Road is 2.30 pm.
Tries: Walsh, Allen, Summers, Griffiths
Conv: Marshall 3
Pens: Marshall 2
Pens: Hayes 3
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