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Weather fails to dampen Club’s day in the pink
Blackheath 24 v Rosslyn Park 10.
They couldn’t organise the weather for Ladies’ Day but at least Blackheath managed to lay on another fine performance to grace the occasion, and make it eleven consecutive bonus point wins to complete their SSE National League One campaign.
Despite the sodden conditions, the Club created four outstanding tries in front of their biggest gate of the season effectively to put the contest beyond the reach of their long-standing south London rivals by early in the second half, and secure a third-place finish in the table.
Looking to be positive from the outset, the hosts took an unchallenged lead as early as the fifth minute. Line-out ball was taken forward by props Des Brett and James Cleverly, James Stephenson made further ground on the left-wing before number-eight James Catt popped the ball up for inside-centre Richard Windsor to break tackles and cross beneath the uprights.
Park competed hard, particularly up front in the forward exchanges, but on the half-hour the game was taken away from them.
On 28 minutes Stephenson picked up loose ball in his twenty-two and began a weaving run that took him into opposition territory, before skipper Tom Bason and Richard Windsor came up in support, and hooker Gavin O’Meara finished off the move by racing across in the left corner.
Then, almost straight from the re-start, play was moved out wide to Tom Chapman who off-loaded in mid-air to send Sam Windsor in for try number three, and with a 19-0 lead and Park reduced to 14-men after hooker Dan Richmond’s dismissal for stamping, Blackheath were firmly in the ascendancy.
The bonus-point try came in the 55th minute as Chapman cut inside after Catt made the final pass to the England U18 scrum-half (playing in this instance on the right-wing), but to their credit Rosslyn Park kept pressing and were to be rewarded.
In the 73rd minute inside-centre Charlie Gower made the incision in midfield to create a three-man overlap for replacement wing Mike Baxter to cross in the right corner. And a losing bonus point beckoned at the very death as wing John Rudd headed for the goal-line, but Chapman did just enough to dislodge the ball, maintaining Blackheath’s comfortable advantage and ensuring nothing ruined the Club’s end of season party.
Blackheath Tries: Windsor (Richard), O’Meara, Windsor (Sam), Chapman Conv: Windsor (Sam) 2.
Rosslyn Park Tries: Baxter Conv: Laidlaw Pens: Laidlaw