After a break last weekend, Blackheath return to action this Saturday as they host Cambridge in their next SSE National League One match.
Currently lying sixth in the table and 23-points adrift of top spot, both Performance Director Yusuf Ibrahim and skipper Tom Bason have conceded that Jersey are unlikely to be overtaken for promotion to the Championship. But with five of their remaining eight fixtures at home, three of them against the sides immediately above them, the Club remain confident they can get into the top four and achieve their best finish to a league season since they gained promotion back to domestic rugby’s Level Three in 2004.
In October, the Club’s visit to Cambridge halted a run of six successive victories when the visitors surrendered a 22-7 half-time advantage to go down 42-27 (leaving Blackheath still without a win at Grantchester Road in six visits).
At Rectory Field, however, the home side have won five of their six meetings (the only reversal a dramatic 43-41 defeat in 2009 when Cambridge were pipped for promotion by Birmingham & Solihull) and Blackheath will therefore be confident of avenging their autumn defeat in a match which will celebrate prop Desmond Brett’s 200th appearance in a Club shirt.
The likeable and charming tight-head prop joined Blackheath in 2003 after stints with North Walsham (where he was captain) and Henley, helping the Club to promotion from what was then National League Three South and quickly became the cornerstone of the pack.
‘When Pat McCarthy (manager at the time) asked me what I wanted, I said get me that prop from North Walsham,’ said Bobby Howe, the Club’s Forwards Coach throughout Des’ time at Blackheath and himself a double-centurion in Club colours.
‘Des is a pillar within the side and any aspiring prop can learn so much from playing with, watching and talking to him. His technique, motivation and strength are second to none.’ Away from rugby Desmond, who can also boast a Cambridge Blue as well as a cap for England Counties against France in 2006, is Senior Lecturer in Fine Art (Sculpture) at Hull School of Art and Design. He was recently commissioned to create a sculpture of Francis Maule Campbell, former Blackheath player and one of the founding members of both the Football Association and Rugby Football Union. The finished piece was unveiled earlier this season and sits proudly above the bar in the Rectory Field clubhouse.
Blackheath against Cambridge is a 3.00 pm kick-off at Rectory Field this Saturday.
On Monday 5th March Blackheath will host touring Argentinean side, Club Pucara, in a match that kicks-off at 7.30 pm.
Note: Blackheath confirmed this week that their postponed match against Blaydon will now take place on Good Friday (6th April) at Rectory Field with an earlier kick-off time of 2.00 pm, while their final league match of the season against long-standing rivals Rosslyn Park has been designated as Ladies’ Day.
Tickets are £30 each to include unlimited fizz, food, music and entry to the ground (firstname.lastname@example.org).