Who’s side are you on? Was this a dramatic collapse worthy of Greek myth or a comeback to compare with Lazarus? Only the most one-sided of Charlton Park supporters could possibly deny the joy on the faces of our guests as they revelled in their comeback from 19 points down with three converted tries. It was deserved and it had been on the cards; Beccehamians showed the confidence and spirit of a side that has won back-to-back promotions.
Park have form in these defeats. They have showed frailty before trying to in see out games which are seemingly won. This time minds and focus slipped off against a team that had already been dominant for the first twenty minutes before the home side took control either side of half-time. It was a game of two halves – the first and last quarters belonging to Beccehamians and the middle section to Charlton.
Once again, as with last week, Park could not get the ball but, whereas last week the defence held firm, in this game they were regularly penalised and were 7-0 down before they managed to get into the opposition’s half. A penalty from Rio Cooper cancelled out one for Beccs before a typical charge from Jeremy Montes led to a try for Jake Conway, backing up as usual. Cooper’s conversion levelled the scores and just before half-time Reion Raybe was given space on the right and he chipped forward and scored easily.
After the break Charlton stretched their lead with two more tries, both involving Nick Aston. The first he scored after a Beccs defensive scrum disintegrated, the second he made after bursting off a scrum and feeding Raybe for the run-in. Tellingly both tries were out wide and although Cooper converted the second from the right it was not going to prove enough.
Beccehamians refused to give up, Park were unable to put them under pressure at the breakdown or across the defence. Injuries and a yellow card didn’t help. Two close range tries put he game in the balance and then Park coughed up the ball and the impressive visitors’ centre was away under the posts with a relatively easy conversion to seal them a fabulous win.
Credit to Beccehamians – they deserved it Park trudged off tae think again. From our point of view, set pieces, which we feared might be our undoing, were not. When we had the ball the cutting edge was still there, but when it mattered there was no line speed in defence and the tackle area was too often uncontested. However, it was four tries apiece. All in all, we lost narrowly to a good side.
Only two unbeaten teams remain in the league. Next week it’s down to the seaside again, this time to more old friends at Hove.