Rob Saunderson’s five try haul on Saturday set up for a hard earned win on Saturday for Charlton Park against a highly committed Aylesford side who staged a strong fight back in the second half to enable them to run Charlton close and cause anxious moments for the visitors.

It was over-ambition from Charlton that lead to Aylesford taking the lead when the home side intercepted an attempted cut out pass and Aylesford’s fly half ran the ball to touch down under the goal posts to aid his subsequent successful conversion.

Having suffered an early set back to their ambitions Charlton then proceeded to implement their game utilising their forwards, who from the outset had gained the ascendency against their opponents. With Charlton running the ball back at every opportunity lead by full back Tom Coad and winger Reion Rabye to the fore Aylesford began to concede penalties, and Charlton forced their opponents into having to defend in their twenty two metre area.

It was following the award of a penalty Rabye opted to tap the ball and make a break which lead to Aylesford just being able to hold him up; however from the resultant five metre scrum drove Aylesford backwards over their goal line enabling Saunderson to touch the ball down for his first try of the afternoon thereby setting off a try blitz for twenty minutes.

Charlton went close to scoring their second try when following a solid thirty metre drive the ball was released to their backs and following slick transference of the ball through a number of pairs of hands and with the try line open the final long pass just eluded wing Kenny Molekoa’s grasp. However it was Charlton’s enterprise and hard running saw them score a second try through Rabye following a sweeping run back of a clearance kick by Coad.

Having taken the lead Charlton continued to force Aylesford back through a combination of hard running and direct forward play. In their efforts to contain Charlton efforts Aylesford gave away a penalty and fly half Tom Amzaleg, putting his two missed conversions behind him took the opportunity to extend Charlton’s well merited lead.

With Charlton’s forwards winning ball with ease and Amzaleg tactical kicking was causing Aylesford to play in their own twenty two metre area. It was following another good run by Charlton’s backs that saw the ball ultimately reach the hands of Terry Read and his rumbustious run saw him split the Aylesford defence and another quick transference the ball reach Saunderson in the wing position and he drove over for the second of his tries. Saunderson’s third try of the half came following another following move that saw backs and forwards linking well together.

It was following a break by Will Robertson aided by the omnipresent Saunderson that lead to Charlton being awarded a penalty close to Aylesford’s goal line and Charlton opted for a scrum. Having been deemed to have been “held up” on his first attempt Saunderson made no mistake at the reset scrum as he touched the ball down for his “hat-trick” try of the half, and Amzaleg had added his second successful conversion of the half.

With only a few minutes Aylesford utilised a good field position from a line out to show a glimpse of their attacking threat when following several good breaks the ball was passed out wide and the home side scored their second try of the match to leave the score at half time 27-12 in favour of Charlton after.

The second half started with Charlton suffering a near shock when an elementary error saw the give away a kickable penalty but luckily for them the ball hit the upright and following several more scares they finally cleared the ball out of danger.

It was a combination of good running and interplay between Read, Ben Chappell and Rabye that saw Saunderson on hand to finish off the sweeping move by touching the ball down for his fourth try of the game. With Charlton continuing to press Molekoa was once again just deprived of a try when following him chasing an astute kick through the ball just eluded him enabling Aylesford to touch the ball down in their goal area: however this was the catalyst for Saunderson’s fifth and Charlton’s last of the match. Aylesford in their haste to take a quick restart failed to notice Saunderson and when the kick was taken he was in a position to charge the ball down and his quicker reactions saw him reach the ball and touch it down for the try.

With the game seemingly out of their reach half way through the half several substitutions seemed to bring belief to Aylesford and allied to Charlton falling off their game Aylesford began to gain the upper hand leading to a torrid last period of play for the visitors.

It was following both sides being reduced to fourteen when they had a man yellow carded and it was Aylesford who adapted better to the situation. It was following a period of pressure that Aylesford scored their third try and from the restart Charlton’s woes were compounded when they dropped off tackles and Aylesford score another try to give them a try bonus point. With two successful conversions the match had swung in favour of Aylesford and

The last few minutes of the half saw Charlton defending for all their worth but a rampant Aylesford laid siege to Charlton but Charlton’s defence held until the final play of the match when Aylesford scored their fifth try of the game which was converted to give Aylesford their second bonus point.

By Roe Belcher


Aylesford’s view of the match

by Nick France

After being put to the sword for the first 60 minutes of the match, the Bulls showed great character to fight back and pick up a couple of bonus points and come within one score of league leaders Charlton Park.

Yet again the Bulls were forced into several changes through injury and unavailability, but were pleased to welcome young South African duo Edmund Mtshali (Senzo) and Phumlani Kongwana (Fish) who join the Bulls for six months on an International Exchange Programme.

The match started at a frantic pace with both sides keen to establish patterns of play in the early exchanges. On six minutes Bulls young scrum half Jonathan Mann made a lovely jinking run from the base of the scrum to take play deep into the Charlton Park half. Pressure was applied on the visitors attempt to take play back up the field and three minutes later Bulls fly half and skipper Dan Harvey intercepted a floated pass 35 metres out to race to the line. He converted his own try and the Bulls were 7-0 up.

At this stage it was looking good for the Bulls, but for the next half hour they were hit hard by Charlton Park’s forward power and a series of good cohesive plays and hard running which saw them spending long periods in their own 22 defending and conceded 27 unanswered points through four tries, two conversions and a penalty.

As the half was coming to a close the Bulls re-grouped and from a four man line-out 40 metres out Mann made another break and fed the ball toEdmund Mtshali who made a powerful run and linked with Phumlani Kongwana who drew the last defender and spun the ball out to replacement flanker Phil Wilkins to dive over the line in the left hand corner. Harvey’s conversion a