Blackheath 32 Cinderford 24
Des Brett may not have been first choice for this match, but the veteran tight-head’s introduction on 18 minutes changed the course of what was turning into a frustrating afternoon for Blackheath.
With both sides guilty of inaccurate passing and handling errors, denting the flow of the game, Cinderford took the early initiative, fly-half Mark Davies kicking them into a 9-3 lead, but as half-time approached the Club pack, with Brett leading the charge, took a grip they were not to relinquish.
As flanker Will Keenan retreated to the sin-bin for illegally stopping a drive, Blackheath launched a further assault which saw Dave Allen over the goal-line. And then a mighty shove against the depleted Cinderford scrum allowed live-wire scrum-half Jack Walsh to break to within five-metres, before Allen again found a gap for the open-side’s 16th try of the season, Simon Whatling adding both conversions for 17-9 interval lead.
Davies’ fourth penalty reduced the arrears after the break, but with Markus Burcham causing havoc in the midfield, full-back Hamish Graham crossed out wide, before the Club outside-centre put his inside partner, Dante Mama, over for the four-try bonus point.
Burcham himself might have scored but for a forward pass and, as the fizz went out of Blackheath’s game, the Forest of Dean side responded with tries from flanker Lance Randall and, at the very death, second-row Tom Hicks, but it was never enough to deny the hosts a fifth successive victory and a further stride towards SSE National League One safety.
Blackheath continue their league campaign next Saturday as they make the short trip up river to Richmond in a match that will also mark the 150th anniversary of the oldest continuously played fixture in world rugby.
Kick-off at The Athletic Ground is 3.00 pm.
Tries: Allen 2, Graham, Mama
Conv: Whatling 3
Pens: Whatling 2
Tries: Randall, Hicks
Pens: Davies 4