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Club romp to victory in season opener
Loughborough Students 20 v Blackheath 57
Stiffer opposition awaits no doubt, but eight tries and in excess of a half century of points, and all away from home, is a pretty decent marker to lay down. In fact not since they trounced another then newly-promoted side, Rotherham, 44-5 in 1996 at Rectory Field, have Blackheath enjoyed such an emphatic victory on the opening day of a new season.
Pleasing too for Club Performance Director Yusuf Ibrahim that, in a starting line-up that was close to the side that completed last term in such devastating fashion, the two new recruits were able to have a major influence on the outcome.
Rory Teague kicked eight successful goals from nine attempts (off an admittedly pristine surface at the impressive, and brand new, Loughborough University Stadium) on his way to a total points haul of 22, but it was his organisational and line-kicking skills that really set Blackheath on their way.
Within the first minute, the former Cinderford fly-half had put his new side within a handful of metres of the Loughborough Students’ goal-line, and moments later the Club’s dominant scrum enabled Jack Walsh to break through the defence for the first try.
Full-back Andy Hall demonstrated he could kick too with a penalty on eight minutes, getting the Students off the mark, but it was quickly cancelled out, and soon Mike Canty was up into the line to send Geoff Griffiths across in the left corner, and then Teague’s long floated pass sent the former Esher wing across for his second.
Loughborough Students will need a little time to adapt to the physicality of National League One, but they have talent behind the scrum (and a wide flat pitch to their taste), and a three-man overlap created the opportunity for number-eight Joe Burton to score and narrow the points margin to 22-10 at the break.
But Walsh weaved over again after Tom Bason had turned over possession on half-way and rampaged forward, and although Burton dived across for a second try for the hosts on the hour, it was the Students’ only assault of the second period, and simply provided the meat in the sandwich for two James Cleverly efforts, the loose-head piling over after close-range line-outs on both occasions.
Ben Ibrahim came off the bench to muscle his way through a tiring defence and bring up the half-century, and as the Students looked to put a move together in the dying moments, Teague was the beneficiary of an interception, the fly-half sauntering off for the final score of the contest.
Next Saturday Blackheath make the shorter journey to Surrey to face Esher. The match at Molesey Road is 3.00 pm kick-off.
Conv: Hall 2
Pens: Hall 2
Tries: Walsh 2, Griffiths 2, Cleverly 2, Ibrahim, Teague
Conv: Teague 7