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Blackheath's pack gives them narrow edge over Wharfedale
Blackheath 26 Wharfedale 20
The home side just about shaded a stirring SSE National League One contest yesterday, characterised by an often furious struggle for physical supremacy up front.
Christian Georgiou’s fifth successful penalty with five minutes remaining kept an always-close encounter on edge right to the end as Wharfedale finished strongly but Blackheath were able to repulse a final drive from the visitors to hang on to a victory they just about deserved.
So yet again a London visit proved a case of so near but yet so far for the Greens as once more they had to be content with the consolation of a hard-earned losing bonus point.
Blackheath owed their win ultimately to the power of their pack. Though Wharfedale came out marginally on top in the scrum battle and mounted a powerful line-out challenge, they were hard put to contain the home side’s frequent reliance on the power of the driving maul.
Though the visitors were able to halt their momentum, it still was the indirect platform for two of the Club’s three tries and a couple of their early penalties.
Wharfedale lived dangerously at the start, conceding a second-minute try when lively scrum half Jack Walsh, the fulcrum of much of his side’s attacking play, broke infield from the back of a maul to allow fly half Rory Teague to stroll in at the posts.
This prodigious kicker missed the conversion, and minutes later Wharfedale equalised when they swept out of deep defence and wing Nick Taylor followed up his own neat chip to claim the try.
Three penalties apiece from Teague and Georgiou saw the lead change hands and Wharfedale were ahead at 14-8 before a half-time 14-14 stalemate.
Two third-quarter tries turned the match decisively in Blackheath’s flavour.
Firstly Walsh broke clear in midfield from turnover ball and fine support play saw rampaging lock Tom Stradwick score.
Moments later fellow lock Tom Bason crashed over from a neat pop-up pass at the line.
But Blackheath could never quite shake themselves free from the tenacious Greens, who kept themselves in touch with Georgiou’s fourth penalty.
His fifth claimed the bonus point and set up a tense finish but, despite some anxious moments, the home side held out to triumph in a game that had tested them to the full.