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Club hang on despite late Green surge
Blackheath 26 v Wharfedale 20.
Christian Georgiou’s fifth successful long-range penalty for Wharfedale with just six minutes remaining kept this match on edge right up to the wire. And with the Green Machine’s pack driving 20-metres towards the Blackheath twenty-two, as time ticked over the 80 minutes mark, it seemed as if the Yorkshire side might secure a dramatic last-ditch victory.
However, typifying a match ridden with errors from both teams, possession was turned over and, to the relief of the home support, Club fly-half Rory Teague cleared to touch and the sound of the final whistle.
It was Teague who’d given the hosts an early lead with a try, after half-back partner Jack Walsh had pierced the Wharfedale defence in the second minute. But in a tight first period, Dale wing Nick Taylor found a favourable bounce to his own chip ahead to level on ten minutes, and with Teague and Georgiou exchanging three penalties apiece, the half ended with parity at 14-14.
But it was in the third quarter that Blackheath struck decisively. In the 44th minute Walsh broke 40-metres after turning-over Dale possession in the Club half of the field, and with inside-centre Richard Windsor in support, Tom Stradwick, now playing at blind-side, was sent rampaging over the try-line.
The Wharfedale full-back again responded with his fourth penalty, but despite finding themselves under pressure at the set-piece for much of the contest, Blackheath were now enjoying the territorial advantage. In the 53rd minute, Teague found another decent touch and with their line-out functioning well, good work from the Club pack maintained the pressure until skipper and second-row Tom Bason was able to muscle his way over for a converted score and put the hosts nine-points ahead.
With Wharfedale’s cause hampered by the temporary loss to the sin-bin of centre Joe Donkin for persistent infringement, the lead should have stretched further, but although Georgiou’s late strike brought the visitors within range, and caused some anxious moments, Blackheath held on to secure their second victory of the season.
Next Saturday Blackheath travel to newly-promoted Old Albanians in Hertfordshire for the first time in league competition before returning to Rectory Field for their next home match in SSE National League One against Blaydon on 29th September.
Tries: Teague, Stradwick, Bason.
Pens: Teague 3.
Pens: Georgiou 5.