Blackheath 21 Loughborough Students 22

A thrilling climax to a game that seemed like it would never end. 

With Loughborough conceding two penalties past the 80-minute mark, Blackheath were handed field position and opportunity aplenty to steal victory, but as a speculatively long line-out throw went horribly wayward, an audible groan resonated around Well Hall, and for the second consecutive home match, the Club had conspired to lose a game of which they had firm control at the half-way stage.

A scrappy start from the hosts saw Students’ fly-half Owen Waters slot two 45-metre penalties to give the visitors a 6-0 head-start, but Joe Tarrant answered one back for Blackheath in the twelfth minute, and as the Club’s set-piece grew in dominance the hosts gradually gained the ascendancy.

With Tom Baldwin rising to take line-out ball, Mike Perks touched down at the base of the maul for a converted try on 25 minutes, and as Blackheath went through the phases after a further throw, Jake Lloyd barged his way over out wide for a 15-6 advantage at the interval, delayed as attention was given to the unfortunate Sam Hudson (the Students’ number-eight suffering a serious leg injury).

However, what Loughborough thrive on is an open game and an open game is exactly what they were offered after the re-start.

A frenetic opening to the second period saw Blackheath possession turned over three times, culminating in a Loughborough break down the left flank with wing Tim Bitirim and scrum-half George De Cothi sending Waters through some weak tackling for a try.

The fly-half added a penalty to bring the visitors within one point, before Tarrant gave the hosts some breathing space on the hour with his second strike as Loughborough loose-head Jarod Leat was yellow carded for off-side.  But despite their depleted number, back-row Musu Yusuff’s charge-down gave his side possession, and quick handling and a neat line from lock Charlie Kingham sent full-back Will Kaye across for the Students to take the lead.

A dangerous tackle from flanker Andrew Boyce briefly reduced the visitors to 13-men, and a subsequent penalty enabled Leo Fielding to nudge Blackheath ahead once more, but the Club’s set-piece had collapsed and a scrum infringement on 74 minutes saw Waters kick his fourth penalty to edge the visitors back in front.

There was still time as Blackheath picked and drove close to the Loughborough goal-line, but fine defence turned over possession and as the Club’s line-out floundered, the Leicestershire side gleefully cleared to touch to take victory.

Next Saturday Blackheath will look to rekindle their early season form as they travel up the M11 to Cambridge.  Kick-off at Volac Park is at 2.00 pm.


Tries:   Perks, Lloyd

Conv:  Tarrant

Pens:    Tarrant 2, Fielding

Loughborough Students

Tries:   Waters, Kaye

Pens:    Waters 4