Park storm home at Broadwalk-on-Sea

If there were a statistician huddled into a sheltered corner of storm-lashed/freezing/sun-bathed Broad Walk on Saturday they would have probably decided from their bedraggled notes that Crowborough just came out ahead in terms of possession and well ahead in territory. This imbalance was exaggerated further by the home side’s tendency to being penalised for offside and infringements around the ruck. Nevertheless, as the saying sort of goes, statistics are not what decides the game.

In conditions which certainly encouraged neither open rugby nor even selfless defence, Charlton Park excelled in both to inflict a slightly flattering bonus point win over their friends from Sussex. Four unanswered tries, two in each half – each a little gem of offloading – and the restriction of the visitors to a single penalty goal – all made up what for Park was a highly satisfactory performance. Basically it came down to ‘support each other and tackle low’.

Fears that the pitch might be too wet were soon dispelled; it was the Siberian climatic conditions that could have had the greatest effect on the game, and it is to the credit of both teams that they put on a performance that interested both sets of supporters (and there was a healthy attendance from the visitors) enough to withstand possible frost-bite to stay outside and watch.

Raybe of sunshine

Park led 14-3 at half-time having hardly set foot in the Crowborough 22 at any other time, their only foray coming from a typical Rob Sauderson burst. After twenty minutes of huff and puff, they opened the scoring with a Reion Raybe special – streaking forty yards after superb passes out of the tackle from Mark Harlow-Singh and Alex Miller put him in the clear. The visitors’ sole points came just after, but Jake Conway was soon running way for the second try after a scorching break and offload in the tackle by centre Jack Hudson.

It was Hudson and Conway at it again at the start of the second half. Hudson broke, Conway in support hurdled a tackle and then popped the ball up for the supporting Jeremy Montes, who had started the whole move off. Crowborough knocked on the door and drove their three-man pick and drive but Park held firm and broke out for a final go at a bonus point try.

With almost the last play it came; Lee Amzaleg ran flat and Miller, coming on a superb angle from out to in, was untouched as he touched down under the posts. Rio Cooper converted all four tries.

In a win described by a home supporter as ‘clinical’ it was fitting perhaps that a clinician, Vaki Antoniou, was named man-of-the-match, but this was a complete team performance against strong opponents. We wish them well for the rest of the season and turn our attention to the pending visits of Haywards Heath and Old Colfeians.

The RFU, in their infinite wisdom, has decided the grassroots leagues need changing, so they have sent round a survey to clubs which asks for a vote on four possible changes but offering no opportunity to support the status quo. Grassroots rugby is in difficulties, but it is not the leagues that are to blame, as this and all other games we have played in this year go to show.

How the opposition reported the match: Not Even the Rain, Hail, Snow or Sunshine could help Boro Today