Charlton’s failure to use the natural conditions almost cost them dearly as they struggled to a draw against Hove last Saturday.
Playing with a strong following wind on a very heavy pitch opted to use their forwards to take the ball forward and this created a period of pressure in the Hove half. It was following a drive from number 8 Rob Saunderson that saw Charlton being awarded a penalty which was kicked by Thor Normann to enable them to take a lead.
The lead was further extended when following a series of scrums in the Hove twenty two metre area Charlton wer4e awarded a penalty and following another Saunderson drive and the ball being taken through several phases of play a dive pass from the omnipresent Saunderson found “makeshift” second row Rich Bryan who drove over to score the opening try.
With the very wet and muddy conditions Hove’s backs’ handling made light of the conditions and it was following a flowing move they had a try disallowed when the last pass was adjudged to have floated forward. This was the precursor of a period of sustained pressure from the home side that finally resulted in them being awarded a penalty that saw them score their first points of the game. Hove had a further chance to reduce the deficit with an extremely kickable penalty but luckily for Charlton the kick was caught by the wind and drifted wind of the posts.]
The second half started in the worst possible way for Charlton when following a kick from hove the ball stopped on the ground and Charlton knocked the ball on and from the resulting scrum a flowing move saw Hove score a try to level the score within the first minute of the half.
Using the wind well Hove kicked very well and kept turning Charlton and forcing them to attack from deep in their twenty two metre areas. It was a sizzling run by Reion Rabye, from just inside the Charlton that saw Charlton awarded a scrum close to the Hove try line. When, following Hove giving away five penalties from their failure to deal with the pressure, they had a prop sent to the sin-bin and scrums were then contested on an unopposed basis. Despite losing their advantage in this aspect of play and negating any momentum they had built Charlton finally gained some recompense for their pressure when Terry Read drove over to score Charlton’s second try which Normann converted.
Hove continued to press and their backs made large inroads into the Charlton half as they strove to score the next points of the game and it was only a second forward pass that saw them having a second try disallowed. With Charlton defending well the last move of the match saw Hove finally gain a material result for their domination of the second half as they worked the ball down field with crisp and accurate passing and when they finally scored a try their efforts had ensured that the subsequent conversion was in front of the posts to aid the successful kick.