Charlton Park chose to play rather than rest before next Saturday’s visit from Truro, and it all worked out well in the end. Visitors Old Alleynians felt that they needed league points to reassure them from relegation, should Bromley upset Old Colfeians, and seemed more up for it than a Park side with minds elsewhere, for the first half that is. As it turned out Colfeians’ win means they will host Camberley from London SW2 in the promotion play-off game and Alleynians are safe.
The visitors must be wondering how scorelines can be misleading. For most of this match they gave as good as they got and after 46 minutes Park led 19-18. What followed was a replay of last week’s game with Park unleashing a barrage of second half tries, three in one four-minute period, many from some distance, with forwards handling like backs and constant support play.
An Alleynians drop goal gave them an early lead, Knuckey replied with his inevitable try in support of a Jeremy Montes run, but the visitors were back in front with a try from full back Gareth Wynn converted superbly from the corner. Park followed this up with a contender for try of the season from first phase line out ball – offloads, angles of running and smart passing put Reion over and soon after Rob Saunderson burst through to add to the lead. Alleynians were still giving it a go, however, and a penalty just before half-time followed by a try just after brought them back to one point. Then the flood gates opened.
On 52 minutes a delayed pass from Tom Amzaleg put John Beith under the posts, four minutes later Tshepo Mooki came into the line and accelerated through. Then, from minute 68 to 72 another three tries, with Alex Miller, Reion Raybe (thanks to an outrageous offload from Miller), and Mooki again finishing off long handling moves. In injury time Nightingale scored the ninth, with five conversions from Amzaleg.
Park can feel satisfied with what turned out to be a convincing win, but amongst the cavalier, swashbuckling attacking there were moments where things didn’t go entirely to plan. Next week against Truro will be different.