Captain Terry Read led Charlton Park to their best performance of the season so far when they overcame two big injuries to influential players to beat a committed Alleynians side. Aside from his two tries, both barrelled over from a yard or so, Read’s dominant display in the scrum and carrying the ball had an invigorating effect on the whole team.
After a first half in which they withstood an opening onslaught from the visitors before coming back with three tries to lead 18-0, Alleynians pulled back to 18-8 and were, like some of the home crowd, wondering if this was to be a replay of Park’s other home defeat to Beccehamians. Once again Charlton had to withstand a tricky period of defence before dominating the game with a further three tries in the final quarter.
The visitors came with a well-drilled game-plan and for the opening quarter of an hour they held the ball and threatened the line. When Charlton got down to the other end, however, they were able to camp themselves on the line until, after several initial charges, Read bullocked over. Soon after Jack Hudson, whose straight running was offering an extra attacking threat to the backs, glided through to send Reion Raybe over, and finally a lovely wide pass from Alex Miller, and a suspiciously flat pass from Raybe gave Vaki Antoniou the opportunity to run round his opposite man. Oddly, the only kick Rio Cooper managed was a penalty.
After Alleynians had pulled back eight points the Park forwards, notably Ally McQuitty, Mark Harlow-Singh and Jeremy Montes grabbed control of the game with hard straight running and the back row carried on the support. Read finished off one attack with another close-range try, Tommy Nightingale, who had a highly encouraging game at scrum-half, sniped over and then Jake Conway forced his way in at the corner after another forward rumble.
Coach Amzaleg pronounced himself very pleased with the result, and particularly the response to two serious ankle injuries to Luke Boyns and Hudson, both of whom were having influential games. Certainly Charlton play better when they stop complicating and giving away minor penalties. Men of the match were Miller (despite also getting a yellow card) and the all-action Nick Aston.
Next week Park have a bye in the Intermediate Cup, before we trek to the coast again for a visit to Deal.