Old Elthamian 32 Blackheath 7

It’s been a long wait for Old Elthamian.

Their ambition has seen them move to new surrounds at College Meadow, as well as gain three promotions in five seasons to rise to National League One, but even then they had to wait until round fifteen, and the half-way point of the campaign, to challenge Blackheath.

However, as the Old Boys took to the stage in front of one of the largest audiences ever to witness one of their games, they were well-rehearsed enough to provide a near-perfect performance, while Blackheath fluffed their lines so appallingly the match was almost over as a contest after a mere eight minutes.

Indeed, the first half of Elthamian’s debut season at Level Three had already been impressive enough.  Residing in the top half of the table, they’d come closer than any other side to date in overturning mighty Coventry, and in Dom Lespierre they possess not only a prolific try-scorer, but a creative footballer into whose hands Blackheath placed the game from the very start.

With advantage being played as the visitors continually lost the ball forward, a four minute opening passage culminated in Lespierre feeding an inside ball to Ollie Claxton for the opening try.

Straight from the re-start the right-wing carved open the Club’s defence again, the ball moved across field to where loose-head Lewis Brown found enough space to rumble over the goal-line, and with Blackheath still struck with stage-fright, Lespierre once more found possession, breaking through a tackle before again finding Claxton on his shoulder for the scrum-half’s second try, Tom White adding a second conversion to leave the visitors reeling at 19-0 down with less than ten minutes played.

Gradually Blackheath brought some control to the game, and with the edge at the set-piece the penalties accumulated.  However, panicked into looking for touch, instead of settling nerves with three points with the game still young, the errors at the crucial moments came, and with White’s powerful left boot available to clear up field, the visitors would have to start again from deep.

While Blackheath looked impotent in attack, two penalties either side of the interval from the OE’s fly-half stretched the lead further, and as turnover ball was aimlessly kicked away on the hour, the hosts moved the ball wide for Lespierre to, fittingly, cross in acrobatic fashion for the fourth try, the right-wing’s twelfth of the season.

The final act would leave something of a stain as Elthamian infringed repeatedly, but the chaotic process of three yellow cards effectively wound down the clock on the hosts’ behalf, and although Tom Stradwick eventually crossed for Blackheath in the closing moments, it was a minor dent in an otherwise gala performance.

Blackheath will look for improvement next Saturday as they host Rosslyn Park in their final game of 2017.  Kick off at Well Hall is at 3.00 pm.

Old Elthamian

Tries:   Claxton 2, Brown, Lespierre

Conv:  White 3

Pens:    White 2


Tries:   Stradwick

Conv:  Tarrant