On a near-perfect Broad Walk pitch which, thanks to Colin Wooster, was made for running rugby, Charlton Park and Deal & Betteshanger put on a display of ten tries for the large crowd to enjoy. The home side scored eight of those to shrug off the defeat of last week in style, but Deal can consider themselves hard done by by the margin of defeat.
Much as in the previous home win over Hove, Park played on the front foot throughout the game, taking quick taps from penalties and moving and supporting the ball impressively. The visitors threatened with the ball and had a half-share in possession and territory for much of the match but when Charlton had the ball in hand they just kept scoring.
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Halfway through the first half the visitors held a 13-12 lead and the predicted ding dong battle between two sides alongside each other in the league table was underway. From then on Charlton Park scored 40 points without reply before the second Deal try.
Oh Jeremy Montes!
Unusually, Park dominated the early exchanges and Jeremy Montes gave a quick hint that his power was missed last week by crunching over and then were awarded a penalty try when Vaki Antoniou was illegally taken out when on the way to scoring.
However, two penalties and a sharp try round the blindside gave Deal that short-lived lead, before two scores converted by Rio Cooper put the home side on top.
Both were the result of quick-thinking. A tap penalty and some rapid passing enabled Alex Miller in under the posts for the first of his double, and then he provided the assist when Charlton had an advantage and his delicate chip over the defensive line was pounced on by Nick Aston.
Deal or no deal?
Deal held firm for much of the early second half but the floodgates opened after a candidate for Charlton Park try of the season. Park turned the ball over on their own line, opened up, broke through and then rampaged down the length of the middle of the field before Miller finished off.
Then Jack Hudson was through for another, followed by Reion Raybe and then Antoniou, at this point playing in the back row.
There is a lot of confidence flowing through Charlton Park when they play like this. With a strong front row – man of the match went to Beau Stanford-Francis, energised by coach Lee Amzaleg injecting speed and the midfield and back row in constant motion they can look like a very good team, but there are weak moments in defence.
Our cup runneth over
Next week there will be absences and additions for the London semi-final Intermediate Cup game with Letchworth, a repeat of last year. Two are away (we are an amateur club) and there are injuries to assess but also a couple to come back: it’s a full, demanding set of fixtures at the moment.
Kick off will definitely be 2.00, there’s a pie and pint for a tenner beforehand and Scotland v England afterwards.