The Daily Mail, December 29, 1913






Harlequins ... 9 pts.     Blackheath ...... 6

Before a record crowd Blackheath and Harlequins put up certainly the finest game of the season, and probably one of the finest seen for years. Two more perfectly matched sides can seldom have taken the field. The Harlequin forwards have improved out of all knowledge. It was not till they were one short, owing to Limpenny’s accident, that they ceased to have their full share of the game. And, behind them, the Old Guard, strengthened by Poulton and with Hudson in brilliant form on the right wing, snatched at every chance. Blackheath, with a tireless pack and outsides who became better and better as the game went on, were at the top of their form; and in the end only a penalty goal gave the Harlequins the victory.

At half-time the scores stood at three points all. The two tries came within five minutes of each other, after half an hour’s desperate struggling. The Harlequins were the first to break the defence. Near half-way Sibree had the ball out to Stoop, who passed to Poulton. With a rapid swerve Poulton made an opening and handed on to Lambert, who ran straight in. How Stokes came to miss him I cannot understand. It should have been a simple tackle. Lambert’s kick failed.

Almost immediately after the drop-out a bad blunder by Limpenny nearly let Blackheath in, but King failed to gather. However, this left Blackheath in the Harlequins ’25, and Sparkes nearly dropped a good goal. The Blackheath forwards, following up, brought Hudson down on the line. A scrum was formed. The ball came out to Cook, who sent Watson in in the left corner. Blackheath continued to press, and were on the line when the half-time whistle went.

There was some great work just after half-time. A fine bout of passing among the three-quarters took Blackheath to the line, where play remained for nearly five minutes. Then the Harlequin forwards carried a scrum rather unexpectedly and rushed to half-way, where, a moment later, the Harlequins began the movement that led to their second try. Stoop got away cleverly and punted. Stokes fumbled. There was a scrum, and then Hudson, getting the ball on the ’25 line, scored with a fine straight dash in the right corner.

From this point to the end the game was one of the most tremendous struggles that ever happened. Limpenny was hurt, and the Harlequins were left with fourteen men to try to hold their lead. They actually increased it with a penalty goal by Roberts, but after that Blackheath had all the game. They made attack after attack, and finally a great run by Coverdale resulted in C. L. S. Roberts getting over. But, though they pressed for the remaining few minutes, the Harlequins’ defence was just good enough to keep them out.