Parks and Gardens
It was the Park beating the Garden in this battle of the green spaces on Saturday at Broad Walk. In the semi-final of the London & South-East Division Intermediate Cup Charlton overturned last year’s defeat to the same opponents at the same place in the same round thanks to two tries from the pocket-rocket Reion Raybe.
The match decider came early in the second half with the game tied at 8-8. The ball came loose amongst a crowd of bodies near the right-hand touchline. Raybe snatched it up, wriggled through defenders who thought they had him covered, and was gone, scorching forty yards to a try.
It was Raybe’s second of the match and it proved to be the key moment in a battle between two teams so evenly matched that their playing patterns mirrored each other. Charlton had just about the upper hand in two strong scrums and two struggling line-outs, but both teams’ strengths were in the backs and it made for an enjoyable game, full of movement and strong defence, on a beautiful sunlit afternoon with not a hint of Storm Ciara just over the horizon.
After withstanding heavy pressure at the start Charlton sprang into an eight point lead with two back-to-back scores. After one penalty miss, Rio Cooper slotted the second, and then the home side broke immediately from receiving the kick-off, with Jake Conway breaking though and then sending Raybe away with a perfect pass to outsprint the cover to the corner.
Letchworth were always in the game, however, and it was hardly a surprise when a long period of possession led to a big overlap for right winger Luke Armstrong to score. A penalty just before the break levelled things up.