In a keenly contested game between two sides that both had periods of dominance, it was Guildford’s well organised defence and clinical approach that proved the difference between the two sides enabling them to a narrow win over Charlton Park last Saturday.
Despite Charlton starting well it was Guildford who began to gain the upper hand and Charlton were forced into defending for periods of time. Throughout the opening exchanges Guildford’s well drilled forwards had driven and mauled effectively and this was the basis of their first try. Following Charlton giving away a penalty Guildford opted for field position and from the ensuing line out mauled the ball infield to suck in the Charlton defence, before releasing their backs to score the opening try that was subsequently converted to give the visitors the lead.
Having suffered a slight hiccup to their ambition, this did not deter Charlton as they continued to press, when able, and following a period of attacking they were awarded a penalty in midfield which Thor Normann then kicked from long range to give Charlton their first points of the afternoon.
Both sides were suffering from decisions made at the scrummage but it was Guildford that had established an advantage at the lineout and subsequent rolling maul, and it was that facet of play that saw Guildford taking control of the match as their defence stifled a large proportion of Charlton’s attacks leading to mistakes being made and penalties conceded.
When Guildford were given scoring opportunities in Charlton’s half, their play enabled them to take the opportunities well, using their forwards to drive and maul Charlton backwards and in doing so to score a further two tries and a conversion. Guildford could have secured a bonus try before half time but were denied by a last ditch tackle from Ben Chappell who, tracking back, managed to bring the Guildford player down just short of the goal line. Charlton’s response to the first half onslaught was to try and run the ball and in particular Normann’s running out of defence caused several problems which lead to a further two Normann penalties leaving Guildford with what seemed to be a winning lead at half time.
With Guildford trying to exploit the natural conditions and pin Charlton back into their half they began to utilise a kicking game and this lead to Charlton making several good runs with their back line running well at the Guildford defence. One flowing move saw Michael Casizzi in space with an overlap but a pass that failed to go the hand denied Charlton what would have been a well merited try.
With time running out Charlton scored a fine solo try by Neil Collins when, playing out of position on the wing, he fielded a Guildford clearance deep in Charlton’s half, his run taking him through a number of tackles. To complete the move his chip and chase saw him gather the ball and touch down for a try that was subsequently converted by Normann. With both sides striving for one more score a tense final few minutes ensued for both players and spectators but neither side were able to score and Charlton secured a losing bonus point which had looked unlikely at half time.
Next Saturday Charlton visit Cobham a side they have not played since the 1990’s with kick off at 2.30pm