Three in a Row for a Rampant 1st XI
Blackheath & Elthamians hold on to register another 3 points
A freshly mown cricket square, a lack of thermal wear and Lewis Burnham’s aviators signalled that the end of the season is nigh. With it, the importance of continuing to pick up points and drag themselves away from the relegation places only increases for the 1st XI. Equally importantly, Chris Harden’s endeavours to lift the golden stick at the club dinner this May look like they may be starting to pay off.
The heat looked like it might be an issue during the warm up. Tom Archer started the game looking as if he had come straight from the sauna and James Morrison coated on the factor 50 Shivnarine Chanderpaul style claiming that it helped with the glare. This was only emphasised by the lack of zip on a very dry College Meadow. It was clear that this was going to be a tough game. London Academicals have some very skilful players and too often they looked as though they were causing problems for us all over the park.
The 1st XI managed to play with a high intensity during the first half and despite Academicals domination of possession, they failed to carve out many opportunities of significance. The rock solid Ben Wyatt, Ed Fleet and James Craigmyle commanded the rest of the team and ensured a solid shape. Two counter attacks produced BEHC’s first 2 goals of the game. After some pressure in the D from Harden, Speller and Lawrence the ball fell kindly to Ethan Faulds who instinctively reversed the ball past the keeper’s right. Number two came when Dave Lawrence robbed the ball from their CB only to find Charlie Speller who inevitably failed to score a one on one. Chris Harden had less problems with the resulting short corner. 2-0. Other than these opportunities, Blackheath had few other chances of note and defended a period of sustained pressure keeping out 4 shorts in quick succession just before half-time.
The second half saw much of the same. As both teams tired, the pace started to slow and a remarkable solo effort from Chris Harden saw him take on three defended before getting it past the keeper at the second attempt. It looked as though the game would be comfortable from here and it was for the majority of the half. The team didn’t help itself though. Two green cards for henchmen Burnham and Faulds took their toll. With 5 minutes to go, Academicals finally got some luck as an average short corner attempt deflected off a home stick into the net. They scored again thanks to some slack tracking and all of a sudden the pressure was really on. This manifested itself as Archer strolled up and down the sideline (belly on show) and let out a roar as a certain member of the bench didn’t let the ball run off the pitch to waste some time. Very traumatic for everyone involved.
Fortunately, the final whistle came quick enough. It was a very solid 65 minutes and a hugely significant three points. Other teams around us keep winning which means we have not quite pulled away but there is far more confidence amongst the group with a cup quarter final coming up and a trip to Wycombe next Saturday.
MOM: Ed Fleet
Next Week – Wycombe (A)