Blackheath 22 Henley Hawks 18
A sixth victory in an unbeaten run to seven matches moves Blackheath closer to SSE National League One safety, but the Club were pushed hard by a Henley side also desperate for points in their own bid to avoid the relegation zone.
Indeed, in a match where there were never more than four points separating the sides, the Hawks held the lead on four separate occasions and might wonder how they ended on the wrong side of the final scoreline.
Their defence was well-drilled too, and it’s to Blackheath’s credit that they broke through it on three occasions, the first on 12 minutes by inside-centre Richard Windsor following some fine driving play from blind-side Jesse Liston, and after Hawks’ fly-half James Comben had given the visitors a three point lead.
Henley drove skipper and flanker Matt Payne over to retake the lead, but as the visitors lost possession in their twenty-two, a fine offload from Markus Burcham, who worked tirelessly at outside-centre throughout the match, sent full-back Mike Canty over, giving Blackheath a 12-8 lead at the break.
Henley’s territorial edge in the third quarter merited their second try through Comben, even if it owed a little to some weak tackling, and as Club fly-half Simon Whatling and his Hawks’ opposite number exchanged penalties, the visitors maintained a three-point lead going into the closing stages.
But a penalty on half-way, four minutes from time, offered the hosts one last opportunity, and as Whatling found a perfect kick to touch five metres from the goal-line, skipper and second-row Tom Bason rose in trademark fashion to take Nik Grier’s throw and Club drove open-side Dave Allen over for the winning try.
Next week, Blackheath make the long trip to the north-east to face Blaydon, while the following Saturday, 5th April, when they take on Old Albanian at Rectory Field, will be the Club’s Ladies’ Day in aid of South East London Breast Care Trust.
More information and tickets for the event are available at http://blackheathladiesday.com.
Tries: Windsor, Canty, Allen
Conv: Whatling 2
Tries: Payne, Comben
Pens: Comben 2