A stunning try from Reion Raybe was the icing on a convincing five-try win for Charlton Park at home to Cobham on Saturday. With Park already 19-7 ahead halfway through the second half Raybe fizzed round, through and under four defenders in a 40 metre dash along the right touchline, a fitting way to reach the bonus point that finally assured their place in London League One next year.
Charlton, who lost full back Mick Casizzi with a pulled hamstring during the warm-up, and then prop Russ Penton at the first scrum (although he was to reappear later) started the game as if the season was already over, whereas Cobham, still facing possible relegation, attacked on all fronts and were soon ahead with a converted try. In fact for twenty minutes Charlton were under the cosh and further Cobham tries seemed almost inevitable. The siege was eventually lifted, however, and for the next 45 minutes either side of half-time the home team played some of their most fluent rugby of the season.
Without their captain and scrum rock Terry Read Charlton were forced to apply plan B and once they saw a share of the ball they upped the tempo with a series of flowing attacks. From a driving maul they were unlucky not to be awarded a try when the referee was unsighted but the ball was moved on quickly and Knuckey put Lee Amzaleg in for a try under the posts. Soon after winger Ade Aderiye was over in the corner after Mark Harlow-Singh had drawn in the defenders and then released a perfect pass. Knuckey’s conversion from touch gave Charlton a 14-7 half-time lead.
The game seemed open to either side but Park started the second half with a blaze of attacking rugby and some beautiful and accurate passes sent man of the match Luke Boyns crashing over. The home side continued to throw the ball about, always opting for the quick tap penalty and offloading from the tackle. Raybe’s wonder try came next, and finally Neil Collins cruised through a gap for the fifth. After his perfect kicking before the break Knuckey’s accuracy left him as the cold wind blew the ball away. Cobham came back in the last ten minutes with a second converted try but the smiling faces on players, coaches and spectators alike at the end reflected the spirit Park had played with.
Sadly, flanker Ben Pritchard was carried off with a broken ankle in the second half and we all wish him well. There were some fine performances but further mention must go to Aderiye, who had several storming runs, and to Boyns who, apart from his try, seemed everywhere, particularly in his regaining of possession from kick-offs.
Next week Charlton Park travel to play against the extra consonant, Chobham.