Blackheath 39 Darlington Mowden Park 24

An improved performance from Blackheath saw them control this game from start to finish, outscoring their opponents five tries to four, while at the same time leapfrogging them to go second in National League One.

After the 31-3 victory over Old Albanian the previous week, Club head coach James Shanahan had expressed disappointment at his side’s inability to retain possession, despite keeping the opposition try-less, but in this contest with more ball in hand, allied to a scrum that grew in stature, Blackheath kept the upper hand throughout.  

They mastered the conditions better too.  As Mowden struggled for accuracy in the wind that gusted up to 40mph, an overcooked pass sailed over the head of second-row Talite Vaioleti for a grateful Markus Burcham to pick up and feed Mark Cooke, the inside-centre dragging a last-ditch tackler with him as he reached out over the goal-line. 

Moments later, as Blackheath stayed on the boil, Josh Davies judged a beautiful touch kick to put the hosts within a few metres of the try-line, and as the visitors dithered at the line-out to concede the scrum put-in, Cooke sliced through the midfield for a second score and a 14-0 lead with just twelve minutes played.

Gradually Mowden began to find some territory, and in the 26th minute hooker Chris Wood crashed over on the short side of a maul, but handling errors plagued the north-easterners and as Blackheath resumed the attack, Freddie Owen drove over on the half-hour.  Joe Tarrant watched his conversion loop in in the teeth of the gale before it struck the upright and bounced the wrong side (his only blemish on the way to kicking twelve points in the most testing of conditions), but a wonderfully struck 35-metre penalty from the Club fly-half extended the Club’s advantage to 22-5 at the break.

Mowden fly-half Garry Law wrestled his way across to pull another try back as the visitors probed the Blackheath goal-line after the re-start, but another Tarrant strike from distance, followed on the hour-mark by a penalty try as Mowden twisted and folded under pressure from the Club pack, kept the hosts 32-12 in front.

Law quickly responded with his second try as Mowden broke sharply down the left flank, and a late score from prop Jordon Poole (Law adding the second of two fine conversions from out wide) ensured the visitors a bonus point.  However, sandwiched between was the best try of the match as Tarrant made the line-break and Jake Lloyd sent Geoff Griffiths across in the left corner,

Next Saturday Blackheath travel to Surrey to take on Esher.  Kick-off at Molesey Road is at 3.00 pm


Tries:   Cooke 2, Owen, Penalty try, Griffiths

Conv:  Tarrant 3

Pens:    Tarrant 2

Darlington Mowden Park

Tries:   Wood, Law 2, Poole

Conv:  Law 2