It was not quite the monsoon of the away game but the cold persistent rain on Saturday forced the kick, defend and carry game on both teams and sadly for Charlton Park their opponents Beccehamian simply played it better. Territory was the key in such conditions and for long periods of the second half Charlton were unable to escape from their own half.
In their scrum half and centre the visitors had two players able to bomb the backfield and to kick their goals and with a side drilled well to defend Park’s attempts to run the ball out, which saw little success apart from the first quarter and the last few minutes.
The home side dominated the early exchanges and soon led 8-0. Following a Connor McDonald penalty some fierce defence caused Beccs to lose the ball and one pass put Enele Ligairi away to score. At this stage Park were dominating the line out and scrum but this changed when an injury to hooker Adam Neale forced him off. Three unerringly successful penalties gave the visitors a one point lead early in the second half. As Charlton were forced back on their own line passes to no-one in particular enabled Beccehamians to kick the loose ball over for their first try, and then created the scrum from which a simple blindside move put the right winger in the corner.
This at least helped to wake Charlton Park from their lethargy and after some storming runs Jake Conway drove over from a tapped penalty, and this was followed by a bizarre incident when Charlton managed to create a huge overlap but the game was stopped for an injured opposing player.
Credit to Beccehamians, who were up for the challenge and deserved their win. There were good signs that Charlton were following their new defensive organisation, a severely weakened scrum stood up and their backfield handled the wet ball out of the sky well; however, they were then bottled up by the chasers.
To me it seems wrong that amateur players, particularly those running a business or with a young family, have to play in the present Covid circumstances. But this is where we are, so next week (Covid permitting) we visit the bucolic splendours and hospitality of Crowborough.