Charlton Park recorded only their third win of the season, and the first since November, in a hard fought contest against fellow strugglers Twickenham and in doing so moved off the bottom of the league table.
From the opening exchanges matters did not seem favourable for Charlton when at the first scrum they were pushed backwards, enabling Twickenham to set up an attacking position and it required frantic defence from Charlton to clear the danger. Having defended well against Twickenham’s initial pressure Charlton’s play began to evolve and with their defence becoming more robust, they worked their way back into the match.
It was following a timely interception and a 60 metre run downfield by Neil Collins, making a welcome return to league play, that created Park’s first attacking position but when they lost possession Twickenham illustrated why they have lost a number of their matches by narrow margins as they opened the scoring with a converted try run in from their own twenty-two metre area.
Charlton then began to give away a series of penalties as they struggled to contain a Twickenham side that were in the ascendency as they strove to increase their lead and it required total team commitment from Charlton to defend a series of rolling mauls close to their goal line. Despite their initial problems in tight play Charlton’s forwards began to enjoy parity and this element of play seemed to bolster the whole team.
It was following Twickenham being adjudged to have been held up over their goal line and defending the subsequent scrummage, that saw Charlton break out of defence and begin a period of possession in the Twickenham half. A long break in play for an injury seemed to affect the visitors more than Charlton and following the restart a long kick down field was caught and run back by Charlton who the took the ball through a series of phases before Mark Harlow-Singh was driven over to score Charlton’s first try of the match.
With the game balanced Charlton rose to the challenge of defending a period of pressure with Collins to the fore. Charlton’s forwards were to provide the next score when following them winning the ball at a line-out in Twickenham’s half, against the throw, they worked the ball once again through a series of plays before Luke Boyns was driven over to score a second try to give Charlton a narrow lead at half time.
The second half saw Charlton seeming to lose their grip on the game, as they started to make errors or be penalised by the referee. Twickenham retook the lead with a second converted try scored after they had stripped Charlton of the ball. Charlton’s response was admirable when, following good chasing at the restart kick, they were awarded a penalty which Alan Knuckey kicked to narrow the deficit.
Once again it was an error by Charlton that saw them giving away a penalty as they were trying to run the ball out of their twenty-two metre area and Twickenham took the opportunity to kick and seemingly put the result in their favour. It was in the last minute of injury time that Charlton snatched the victory when following driving play and the award of a penalty they ran the ball and Rob Saunderson drove over to score Charlton’s third try and Knuckey kicked the conversion to secure the win.