Having already met twice this season it is reasonable to suggest that the sides knew about each other. Charlton Park, having been caught napping in the corresponding league fixture, will have been aware that this was a Beccehamian team that keeps going to the bitter end and so their almost-shut-out in the second half was clearly a positive lesson learned. In doing so Charlton had to make their tackles count and to face up to some fierce competition over the ball. This was the area where the visitors struggled most.
After gifting the first try of the game with a highly over-ambitious pass gratefully intercepted Charlton Park kept Beccehamians at bay for most of the game, although they had to withstand a goal-line assault from their big battering rams at the end of the first half. Captain (and man-of-the-match for his ball carrying and turnovers) Terry Read felt that that was when the match was won, and Park slowly but surely turned the screw in the second half.
Charlton Park edged a scruffy first period, recovering to lead 12-7 thanks to tries from Jake Conway and Vaki Antoniou. The first was down to the vision of coach Lee Amzaleg playing at scrum half.
He burst through a line out and Conway was alongside to go over, Alex Miller converting from touch. Then Jeremy Montes, substituting, offloaded from a typical charge, Jack Hudson made the break and Antoniou finished it off. As the half progressed, however, Charlton showed signs of losing their discipline and the extra-long half-time interval came at the right time.
After the break it was clear that words had been had. Rio Cooper put a perfect kick into the corner and this led to Iwan Haines scoring his first try for the club, and then a run from Conway gave Park a scrum on the line; Montes’ pass out the back put Reion Raybe into the same corner. An exchange of penalties kept the three-score gap but Park were now on top. Beau Stanford-Francis juggled the ball successfully to go over from close range and then Raybe scorched in for his second from halfway, and Cooper, with the Park supporters behind him on his case, converted from touch.
Charlton Park have now won four times on the bounce and there is a confidence there. There were many good performances, with Mark Harlow-Singh, Nick Aston and Jack Hudson also in the frame for man-of-the-match, but injuries from today may affect next week when we have a big game against old friends from Hove.