Played in front of a large, vocal and very partisan crowd Charlton Park finished 2014 in the best possible manner, last Saturday when they played near neighbours Sidcup and following them scoring four tries, they achieved a well merited victory to arrest their recent disappointing losing record, and in doing so stabilised their mid table position in the league.
Playing with the benefit of the natural conditions and with a following wind Charlton made the best possible start to the game when following a line out they executed several good phases of driving play and following a break by Thor Normann this lead to him scoring the opening try of the match to settle their nerves in what was to both sides a local derby.
With them holding a narrow lead Charlton seemed to slip back into their error strewn ways of previous matches when following them being given a penalty in their favour, an ill-advised comment saw the referee reverse his decision and “sin-bin” the offending player for ten minutes. Sidcup utilised their numerical advantage to pressurise Charlton into giving away two penalties one of which was duly kicked.
Restored to their full complement of players Charlton, using the wind well began then to have the better of play and also to gain confidence enabling them to begin to play to their true potential with backs and forwards combining well to maintain the pressure on Sidcup for long periods of time that remained in the first half.
With Charlton’s forwards in the ascendency with both their loose and tight play beginning to be exhibited and duly spurred on by a vocal Alan Knuckey they began to make inroads into the Sidcup territory. As a net result of Charlton’s play they further increased their lead when they scored a further two tries, through Rob Saunderson and Kevin Badger following rolling mauls set up from lineouts combined with phases of play that set Sidcup back on their heels. To its full potential
With Normann converting his own try and two further conversions, one each for Michael Casizzi and Alan Knuckey, Charlton had opened up a respectable lead before Sidcup were able to respond meaningfully with their second successful penalty of the game in the closing minutes of the half which was nullified almost immediately with a successful penalty kick from Knuckey.
Despite playing into the wind Charlton continued to contain Sidcup and they were unlucky not to have extended their lead when a long range penalty drifted just wide of the goal posts. When Terry Read scored the fourth try, following driving play, for Charlton it ensured that they had secured them a well merited bonus points.
It was following a succession of errors from Charlton, from the subsequent restart kick, that saw them fail to control the ball and a combination of direct running from Sidcup, allied to missed tackles that saw Sidcup begin to stage a resurgence in their play as they struck back immediately to score their first try of the game to give them some element of hope in trying to gain some material recompense for their efforts. Sidcup then enjoyed a boost to their confidence when following a well-constructed period of play they scored their second try of the half to give them a glimmer of hope to secure a result in their favour.
With play ebbing and flowing and Charlton playing to their true potential for the first time in a number of games, the result of the game match was delicately balanced for a long period of the second half. Despite Sidcup’s efforts to utilise the natural conditions to improve the position to further reduce Charlton’s lead and snatch league points. Charlton’s play seemed to rise to the challenge and with robust defence they repulsed a series of forays into their half from Sidcup to secure a welcome, and well merited league win to give a very good conclusion to what has been a memorable year for both players and spectators and all members of the club in general.
Charlton Park return to League play, after the Christmas festivities, when on 3rd January 2015 they travel to play league leaders Wimbledon.
“Scoop” and his apprentice wish all their readers, throughout the world a very happy Christmas and a fun filled 2015 following the fortunes of all of Charlton Park’s teams as they put “Deeds not Words” into effect.