Dave Collen (Match Sponsor) with Terry Read (Captain)
Wayne Knight (Lunch Sponsor) with Dennis Miller (Hon Treasurer)
Kevin Badger (Man of the Match) with Dave Collen (Match Sponsor)
Brighton’s utilisation of a ten minutes period of time midway through the match, when Charlton Park were reduced to fourteen players due to a yellow card, provided decisive in the match as they took the opportunity to scored four answered tries, and in doing so consigned Charlton to their first league defeat of the season in London 1 South.
Charlton’s first match at this level since the season 1998/9 started in the best possible way when they took the lead within the first minute, when following the kick off Brighton failed to secure possession and following judicious use of his knee by centre Ben Chappell that saw him propelling the ball towards the Brighton try line, he was the quickest to react and he touched the ball down for a try which was duly converted by Alec Porter making his first league appearance for Charlton.
The well organised Brighton side responded well to the early set back and it was following several good runs and driving play they scored a converted and to compound Charlton’s woes from the following restart kick Brighton showed good continuity to set up a penalty kick attempt which, luckily for Charlton, dropped just short of the goal posts. However Charlton were unable to work the ball out of their half and it was Brighton’s backs, showing well-judged running lines, handling and passing out the tackle skills that extended the visitors lead with their second try of a ten minute period of play.
Though at times struggling to adapt to the pace of rugby at a higher level Charlton began to learn quickly and in particular their forwards began to enjoy some successful play in both loose and tight play. It was following a scrum that saw Charlton pushing Brighton backwards and a well-judged kick from Alan Knuckey that lead to Brighton conceding a penalty in midfield which was duly kicked by Porter to narrow the deficit to two points after twenty minutes.
It was once again Charlton’s forwards that were to create the try that saw them take the lead after thirty minutes when following a driving run by Rob Saunderson off the back of a lineout Charlton were awarded a penalty and they opted to take a five metre scum which subsequently collapsed and the referee had no hesitation in awarding a penalty try which once again Porter converted to give Charlton a narrow lead.
The final five minutes of the first half were to prove to be the defining period of play for Charlton when the game result moved out of their grasp. Following Charlton being penalised for illegally collapsing a Brighton rolling maul they had a player sent to the sin-bin and a penalty try awarded against them. Then followed a ten minute period of play either side of half time that saw Brighton utilise the man advantage well firstly when following a scrum their backs scored their fourth try of the half following slick handling and from the start of the second half their fifth when they utilised field position and pressure to gain possession and they ran through poor tackling from Charlton to extend their lead to 16 points.
To compound Charlton’s woe’s Brighton scored their third try in ten minutes before Charlton were back to their full complement of players and thereby able to stabilise the situation. Once Charlton were back to fifteen players and the setbacks to play forgotten they proceeded to apply their own pressure and this lead to them scoring their third try of the match through Chappell who popped up on the wing to touch the ball down after Charlton had established an overlap.
With the Charlton resurgence the last quarter of the match saw them showing their true mettle and, despite Brighton kicking a penalty ten minutes before the end, Charlton continued to press as they went in search of a fourth try that would bring them a bonus point. Despite Brighton giving away a series of penalties including the visitors having a player red carded for a second yellow card, Charlton were unable to gain what would have been a well-earned point.
Next Saturday Charlton Park visit Sidcup Kick off 3.00 pm hoping to put to good use lessons learnt from this match against Brighton.