It was wet and it was gloomy – November weather except it wasn’t – and despite both sides’ attempts to brighten it up the overall mood of the game matched the conditions. Charlton Park have laudable motives to bring everyone into the game but it needs greater precision on days like today if it is going to happen. The players were able to laugh afterwards at passages destroyed by a perfect pass dropped, or, more common, the ball headed unerringly over the receiver’s shoulder. The soapy ball was to blame, but in that situation more care has to be taken to present it and for receivers not to go too early.
Another issue was that both sides’ defences were in each other’s faces, Aylesford having got themselves together after letting Reion Raybe slip through for Park’s first try after a couple of minutes, and then falling off Mark Harlow-Singh enabling him to offload to the supporting Kenny Molekoa who cruised in under the posts. Already Charlton were possibly overdoing the sevens stuff and it was hardly surprising when Bulls’ impressive scrum half intercepted and ran half the length of the pitch to narrow the lead to 12-5. Before half-time Park had a third, completely disrupting the home scrum to allow Alan Knuckey to pounce.
Charlton Park created plenty of opportunities in the second half but the enfolding damp won the day. Rob Saunderson scored the bonus-point try (Park have had bonus points in all their seven wins, and losing bonuses in their two defeats) and Jake Conway got another in the corner for being in support, as he always is, of Tommy Nightingale’s break. Jeremy Montes was given ‘homme du match’ for his several cruising ball-carries which should have led to more.
Well done to both teams for trying to make something of a difficult day. Charlton Park’s season has improved with five successive wins and the injury and absentee record is also getting better. Beckenham, who we play away to in 12th January, are clearly the best in the league, emphasised by their impressive win at Colfes, while Horsham hold on to second one point above Park. Next week the first half of the season ends with a home game and lunch welcoming Dover, who now traditionally are filling a table, and some old faces. If you haven’t booked contact Chris Wheal quickly.