By Tom Little.
October 30 2012
Please note that it is a Sunday match on 4th November that sees Coventry Rugby entertain their visitors Blackheath, here at the Butts Park Arena, kick off 3pm. The much awaited clash between two old adversaries is expected to achieve the highest National League 1 crowd of the season.
Founded in 1858 and known by many as “ the” or” club” Blackheath were one of the founder members of the RFU in 1871 as the game became separate from Association Football.
Last season Blackheath after going on a run of 11 straight wins by the end of the season finished up in 3rd place on 106 points, with 20 wins 1 draw and 9 losses. So far this season under Performance Director Yusuf Ibrahim, Director of Rugby, Steve Pope and coaches Mike Friday and Sam Howard, Blackheath are currently in 6th place on 27 points, 3 points and two places ahead of Coventry.
This season they have won 5 and lost 4 games, including wins over Loughborough Students, Wharfedale, Old Albanians, Blaydon and last week Cambridge. Heavy losses at Sedgley Park and Cinderford were interspersed with very close late losses to Esher and leaders Ealing by just one point.
Last season Blackheath did the double over Coventry Rugby winning the home fixture 34-25 and lowering Coventry’s colours at home by 23-36.
A free scoring side Blackheath have so far scored 43 tries compared to Coventry’s 27, and are second only to Ealing in number of tries scored. Mention should be made of experienced flanker Dave Allen who was instrumental in last season’s defeats of Coventry, and was the club’s leading try scorer last season on 25.So far this season Dave Allen has scored 7 tries including 6 in their last two games with Cinderford and Cambridge.
Having a renowned pack Blackheath use the driving maul especially from the lineout with good effect, but also have the backs to exploit their possession. Geoff Griffiths is leading try scorer on 9 being a recent recruit as full back or wing from Esher. Blackheath have an experienced front row including hooker Gavin O’Meara and prop forward James Cleverly. The second row is equally experienced with Tom Bason as captain and Gethin Davies also at lock.
The absence of a leading goal kicker last season has led to the recruitment of National League 1’s leading kicker Rory Teague from Cinderford, who although recently injured is neck and neck with Coventry’s Cliffie Hodgson chasing Tom Wheatcroft at the top of the kicking charts. Former Worcester player Ollie Grove was brought in recently as cover for Rory Teague.
Jack Walsh is an effective and abrasive scrum half capable of turning a game also with the knack of scoring tries. Blackheath have pace in the backs through Geoff Griffiths and centre Richard Windsor, as well as Nick Canty and Jamie Hamilton on the wing.
Blackheath will be looking to consolidate their position amongst the top 6 whilst Coventry Rugby not only are looking to avenge last season’s results but put their own marker down for a top 6 position.
Another fast moving and exciting game is in prospect this Sunday at the Butts Park Arena as a large and expectant crowd can look forward to another enthralling encounter.
Coventry Rugby press office
30th October 2012
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