Charlton Park’s weakened squad through injury last Saturday entertained newly promoted Medway who have made a good start to the season and are in the top third of the league.
Medway started the better of the two sides and took the lead with an early penalty awarded when Charlton were unable to deal the kick off kick effectively. Despite falling behind Charlton responded well and despite a period of sustained pressure were unable to threaten Medway.
With Charlton being unable to secure good possession in the tight they were forced to try and run the ball whenever they were able. In particular several good runs were made by Reion Rabye and Mark Harlow-Singh, Ross McManus and Ally McQuilty made telling runs but unfortunately for Charlton were unable to maintain the pressure and when Medway gained control of the ball they were able to negate the threat posed.
With both sides trading two penalties each through the half with Charlton’s Alex Miller kicking well from long distance, a tight match ensued with Charlton’s much improved defence keeping Medway from scoring. It was only in the closing minutes of the half that Medway’s forward dominance saw them, when awarded a penalty kick for position and from the subsequent lineout Charlton were unable to stop the well-executed driving maul and prevent Medway scoring a push over try to open up any semblance of a sustainable lead.
The difference between the two sides, in the second half was that Medway took the initiative and control in tight play through their forwards establishing a solid attacking base. The result of Medway’s forward dominance, allied to further injuries to their players which resulted in a number of substitutions quad, saw Charlton Park struggling in the forward exchanges.
Despite their problems Charlton’s make several breaks of their own and a break from Miller lead to slick passing and a cut-out pass from Tommy Nightingale saw Rabye score a well merited try for Charlton to reward them for their never say die style of play. Miller continued his fine kicking display with the resultant conversion from close to the side-line.
Having narrowed the point’s difference Charlton had their best period of play as they increased their efforts and Medway were forced into conceding a series of penalties. Charlton not being guaranteed quality possession at the lineout ran the ball at every opportunity and their enterprise was rewarded when following a quick tap a long cut-out pass from Nightingale found Sam Baker on the wing and his direct running style took him through several tackles enabling him to score Charlton’s second try. Miller added his third successful penalty kick to complete Charlton’s scoring for the afternoon.
However Charlton’s efforts were not sufficient as Medway’s overall dominance saw both their backs and forwards contributing to a further four tries which they scored in the second half, and in doing so completed a disappointing day for Charlton in a game at times had been tightly contested.
Next Saturday Charlton hop e for a change in their fortunes as they visit Twickenham with kick off at 2.00pm..