On Saturday 25th January 2014, Markus Burcham returned from a week’s layoff to make his 22nd Blackheath appearance in the Club’s home match against Esher.

It was a memorable occasion. Blackheath had endured a poor season to that stage, but in a match that turned the 2013-14 campaign, a lightning start saw the four-try bonus point wrapped up in 15 minutes and as an even more ferocious storm raged overhead, sending players and spectators alike scurrying for cover, the game finished 38-10 in the Club’s favour.

Since that day, Blackheath have played a further 98 league games, most of them less remarkable, but with the one constant, that Markus has pulled on the number 13 jersey prior to every one of them.

This Saturday, barring him tripping over the duvet, or slipping in the shower, Markus will make his 100th consecutive start for Blackheath (all at outside-centre and 60 as skipper) when the Club take to the field at Well Hall against Plymouth Albion. Add to that seven England Counties caps and a 2014 County Championship campaign that included a Twickenham Final and you do have a truly remarkable feat, not only of fitness, but consistency of performance.

'I played my 100th Blackheath game at Ampthill in October and around Christmas it began to dawn that another milestone was in sight,’ said Markus, who at the grand old age of 27 years is now being referred to as ‘Old Boy’ by his teammates. ‘I haven’t let it deflect me from giving 100%, but it’s something I’ll be very proud to achieve.’ This is Markus' second stint with Blackheath. Starting his life in rugby as an eight year old in Bournemouth, he moved to Camberley RFC and spent two years with the Wasps Academy before joining the Club in 2011.

However, preferring to concentrate on completing a sports science degree at St Mary's university in Twickenham, he soon took a step away from Blackheath after just a handful of games, choosing instead to play for Thurrock RFC, then in National League Three, but returned to Club colours in the summer of 2013, since when he has missed just two matches.

Creativity in attack, allied to huge tackling and turn-over skills (defensive qualities honed from his formative years as a back-row forward), has made him one of Blackheath's key players, and with the added attributes of reliability and endurance, Markus was appointed to succeed Tom Bason when the Club’s longstanding captain retired in 2015.

‘It was quite nerve-racking at first, but I’ve had great support from the experienced heads around me,’ continued Markus, who having completed his degree now works selling orthopaedic implants for the NHS.

‘We’re also fortunate to have been underpinned by a really strong coaching structure, something which was reflected in our results in the first half of the campaign, though we can’t hide from admitting the changes mid-season have been disruptive.’ ‘It’s been a learning curve for everyone, with senior players having to take more of a lead, and the younger guys having to step up also, and a challenge to keep focussed week to week.’ ‘Spirits are high though. It’s been a testing year with the addition of the move to Well Hall, but the facilities are improving week by week and we’re getting a good pitchside atmosphere.’ ‘We’re very united as a squad, and all very excited about making a fresh start with a new coach.’ Markus’ landmark appearance for Blackheath coincides with the Club’s annual Ladies Day in aid of South East London Breast Cancer Trust. The match against Plymouth Albion, the side currently lying second in National League One, is a 3.00 pm kick-off at Well Hall and tickets are available on the gate in Kidbrooke Lane from 2.00 pm.

The Club will also be hosting a charity match a few days later on Wednesday 26th April in support of the victims of the recent Westminster Terrorist attack.

The match is between London Ambulance Service and the Met Police SC019 Unit and is also a 3.00 pm kick-off.

More details about these and other events at Blackheath Rugby at Well Hall can be found on the Club’s website: http://blackheathrugby.co.uk/