Blackheath v 1stXV, Sat Jan 30th, 2016, Match Preview
This Saturday Ampthill’s 1stXV make their first ever visit to Rectory Field, the traditional home of Blackheath. The 1881s on the other hand, faced Blackheath’s 2ndXV in the Zoo Shield Division 1 merit table last year, this time it’s a double header.
Founded in 1858 as an Old Boys club of Blackheath Proprietary School, they changed their constitution in 1862 to allow anyone to become a member thus becoming the first ‘open’ membership club in the world. To this day they are known as ‘Club’, a tradition that started when fixtures were played against the school, spectators cheered for ‘School’ or ‘Club’…
In October 1863 Blackheath was a founder member of The Football Association which was formed with the intention to frame a code of laws under the one heading of “football”. By December Blackheath had resigned from the FA due to the proposed laws removing much of what rugby clubs considered key to their sport.
At the beginning of 1871 a meeting attended by representatives from 22 clubs was held in London directly resulting in the founding of the Rugby Football Union (RFU). Blackheath is one of seven of the original twenty-two clubs to have survived to this day.
Blackheath initially played on the Heath, moving first to Richardson’s Field before taking up permanent residence at the Rectory Field in 1883.
The first ever rugby union international match was played between England & Scotland in 1871 in Edinburgh, the England squad contained four Blackheath players, in 1881 the first international between England & Wales was played at Richardson’s Field.
Blackheath have been ever present at level 3 (now National 1) since winning promotion from level 4 (then National 3 South) in season 2002/03 as champions. This season they have a played 18 won 15 record to lie 2nd in the table just 6pts behind leaders Richmond and with a game in hand.
Our 1stXV suffered their 6th defeat of the season last weekend away to Darlington Mowden Park in a bizarre game which saw them take the lead, concede 5 tries in 15 minutes, then score 4 tries in 20 minutes! With the game poised at 33-29 to the hosts mid way trough the second half the last 10 minutes saw two Amps players incur the wrath of the referee and concede two more tries! A’s lie 5th in the table, 12 points behind the hosts.
There are a number of changes to the 1stXV squad, in the pack Viliami Ma’asi comes in at hooker with Aleki Lutui mocing to tighthead while lock Karl Braband returns from injury in place of the suspended Benjamin Gulliver.
The backs see Elliot Clements-Hill return at fullback after injury with Jonathan Morgan having a week off following last week’s knock.
The bench sees hooker James Fish back from injury while Matthew Collins rotates.
The Blackheath squad remains provisional and subject to revision.