Sunday 2nd December 18. Blackheath v Hertford C’s
Blackheath Maxed Out
Our trip to Sarf London: Sunday 2 nd December 18. Blackheath v Hertford C’s
Players: F.Swatton (Cpt),P.Sullivan, F.Manning, H.Tennant, P.Champney, F.Cameron, M.Maples, W.Lang, A.Anstead, T.Bowden, O.Poulter,
O.Porch, J.Crisp, J.Guy, J.Woods, L.Barlow,
Despite the clear instructions on Pitchero, Chris Barlow decided to visit another Rugby Club before gracing us with his Presence. The journey Sarf was quicker than expected and allowed some sightseeing education of landmarks on route for some of us from the sticks. We were greeted pleasantly by a relaxed & slightly late arriving Blackheath team, when I was on my 2nd tasty Bacon Roll before they arrived.
Some questions were had from the gathering spectators around the pitch size as it was fully flagged out, but reassured that it was a Junior Pitch, Barlow was still unsure as either ends had different postcodes. A good warm up the boys and they were looking good, unfortunately Ollie P had to withdraw before the match with an injury still playing up from the previous days school rugby.
Kick off finally arrived with many parents still feeling a little tender from the club lunch the day previous. The weather of course must have a mention, and the sun was shining on us. Blackheath started strong and we were hit quickly with their efficient rucking and passing through
the back line. Hertford tackling was questionable to start with, but we soon adjusted. F.Manning showing the boys how It’s done, growing with every game now, modelling a Courtney Lawes approach. Patrick nursing a groin strain at Scrum Half, escaped to the Blind Side, spinning the ball to a galloping Tommy on the wing, unfortunately B.H stopped him in his tracks with a strong tackle.
The game was very equal, with Hertford deciding to put their foot through the ball a few too many times keeping the B.H Full Back on his toes, and pinball amongst the players had parents and coaches alike calling to pick it up, fall on it!. A few calls from the ref. left us parents puzzled at times, with a lively B.H scrum half taking quick tap & go’s catching us offside & on the back foot - Hertford note to self (need to react quicker). The next penalty was deep in our half, and yes taken quickly, slipping thro our diving defending line. Try B.H 1-0.
This sloppy try got the boys fired up and saw some good hands through the back line, getting the ball to our Hertford gazelle Max Maples on the left wing. The side line was already celebrating the try but Max got too much momentum going to put the ball down before the Ref adjudged he was out of play in touch&goal before he dotted in down, great move unlucky Hertford. Note to self - slide in for the try.
Hertford distribution was good, with great tackles from Oscar, Josh and the flying Barlow. Some being a little high but quickly rectified. Patrick making a crucial tackle in B.H half, ball spilling loose with ball spun out to Max, and after a well positioned hand off, nothing was stopping him and clearly outpaced a chasing B.H defence, cracking try Max. 1-1.
Patrick got a well-known Sarf London dead leg, so came off for attention. A nice grubber kick from Finlay C put B.H under pressure with Tommy following up quickly. Mr Champney making sure the attacking B.H were stopped quickly with relentless tackling. With the Half time whistle not far away, B.H attacked in the right corner with Oscar seemingly holding up the ball, but Ref decided differently with momentum given. Try B.H 2-1. Swatton Jr had a differing opinion was heard by Ref, and addressed; the Ref is always right, even when
wrong, bit like being married, you accept it and continue on into the fray.
2nd Half was quickly upon us and Hertford receiving their words of wisdom from the brilliant coaching team of Barlow and Lewis (not a double act like Hinge& Bracket or Hale& Pace) at H.T worked. Fire in their bellies, raised their game and all the other cheesy sayings you can think of. Harvey putting in a good shift at No.8 took a foot to the face after a tackle, looks to be just a nose bleed and no facial adjustments.
Hertford’s Josh Guy was making lots of tackles and causing the ball to be spilled. The boys were putting the bodies on the line, making a number of defensive tackles and holding firm.
The game was filled with many scrums, and Hertford were strong in this area but penalised with their strength and the 1M rule - such a difficult thing to stop a pack drive, Jake hooking like a Pro, with Jayden, William, Freddie, Harvey & Louis great work. William Lang started punching thro the defending back line, pinging them off for fun, with some strong runs. With Hertford chasing the game, tackling relentless, Anstead with good hands, ball went loose & scooped up to be received by Max on the left wing on the half way line, he then galloped to the try line and placed it down with aplomb equalising for Hertford, and whoops from the travelling crowd. Momentum was all Hertford, their dander was up, sniffing for the victory!
In the final minutes, a cracking turnover rip by Archie following a strong run by B.H, turned over the ball for Hertford. It was all or nothing, final throws of the dice stuff...Swatton scoops up the ball turns around dances with a dummy round B.H and throws a long spin pass out to the man on the wing Max who fends off the player and gallops towards the try line yet again... cheered by the awaiting A's, the try was scored.
Max Maples 3 Trys! Team euphoria and celebrations.. Final Whistle..2-3
What a way to win for Hertford, great game played by either side, it ebbed and flowed, could've gone either way, with two very evenly matched teams. Hertford C’s will remember this one, coming away with the spoils Sarff of the river, returning through the Blackwall tunnel back Norff.
Many thanks to Jason Crisp for shirt washing duties, and for David Swatton for this weeks sports reporter.
Much appreciated as ever!
Gareth and on behalf of Chris (and Mike in absentia)