Blues vs Blackheath
RUGBY: Blues make it two on the trot with an impressive defeat of Blackheath
The sight of Blues prop, and Tab columnist, Hugo Cobb being lifted into an ambulance on a stretcher with a suspected neck injury, marred what was otherwise an excellent win for the Blues, as they defeated Blackheath RUFC 24-18.
Cambridge, physical up front, but at times lacking adventure in the backs in the opening period, took an early lead, when failure to cope with the high ball cost Blackheath possession inside their own half, eventually resulting in a penalty which Rob Stevens slotted over from bang in front.
Stevens had the chance to double the lead ten minutes later, but his kick drifted wide from 40 metres, and Blackheath came back into the game, as they attempted to get the ball wide and worry the Blues defence with pace round the outside.
However the Cambridge line held strong, and much of the first half fell into a pattern of tactical kicking, in which the Blues came out on top.
But when flanker Ben Martin found himself isolated trying to run the ball out of defence, Blackheath fullback Humphries had the simplest of shots to pull the visitors level.
The Blues best attacking threat seemed to come from a dangerous rolling maul, although a couple of half-breaks from Loudon and O’Toole suggested that more was to come. When a huge shove turned over Blackheath ball in their own 22, full-back O’Toole went close to the game’s opening try. He was awarded a penalty after being stopped short, and Cambridge took the lead at 6-3.
But disaster struck just before half-time. As Cambridge lost their own scrum on half-way, Blackheath’s fly-half, Squires, tried a kick through, which was charged down. The bounce of the ball favoured the visitors, and after it had been hacked on towards the Blues’ line Cambridge scrum-half Sam Hunt was rightly pinged for tackling the man without the ball, conceding a penalty try and luckily escaping a card.
Cambridge came out after half-time 6-10 down, but immediately went about putting that right. An early penalty was kicked to the corner, and from the resulting maul the Blues got their first try, number 8 David Allen, the man who came up with the ball.
Cambridge then began to assert some authority as they grew in confidence. A one point lead became six just a couple of minutes later, when a simple but gloriously effective backs move off the back of a scrum on halfway resulted in O’Toole providing Stevens with the simplest of finishes.
Blackheath hit back with a penalty, but the Blues extended their lead further soon after, when a cross kick was allowed to bounce by the pacy but indecisive visitors’ winger, and fell nicely for Stevens to run it to the corner for his second try.
Another three points were added to take the score to 24-13 when Stevens was allowed to slot another penalty from in front of the posts.
The game lost some of its competitive edge in the final quarter, with Blackheath’s Cleverley, a battering ram of a prop who bears some resemblance to Welsh international Adam Jones, going off injured leading to uncontested scrums.
The blues used this to maintain a lengthy period of pressure towards the end of the game, held up three times over the line and constantly calling for scrums from penalties, but in the end it was the visitors who got the last laugh, flanker Lindfield crossing for a final play score.
It was however, a largely convincing performance from the Blues, who now have back to back victories under their belts, and it will have satisfied the management to beat a Blackheath side with a strong team as well as a long history.