Playing table topping Medway, a side that regularly posts fifty points against their opponents, did not seem to faze Charlton last Saturday as they faced the promotion favourites.
The kick off saw Medway knock the ball on and the ensuing scrum saw Charlton utilise the opportunity with relish. Following a slight drive the ball was taken via Charlton’s forwards into their opponents’ half before a searing break and subsequent long pass from Lee Amzaleg saw the ball being caught by Reion Raybe running at full speed and his searing pace saw him out strip the Medway defence over seventy metres to score the opening try of the game. With a touch line conversion meant Charlton had taken the lead in the first ninety seconds of the match.
With Charlton, seemingly the quicker of the two teams to settle into their game plan and they ensured play was predominately in Medway’s half of the pitch. Charlton increased their lead when following the ball being advanced into the Medway half good slick passing and another Amzaleg pass gave Tommy Nightingale sufficient space to ride a Medway tackle and score a second try for Charlton in the first seven minutes.
With their team falling behind seemed to awaken the “Greek Chorus” fetching dressed for the occasion in Scarlet and gold,” and this seemed to change slightly change the referee’s view of play. Despite Charlton defending well, including a fine example for ‘last ditch” tackling from Raybe, a series of perceived offences, commented on by the “Chorus” saw them conceding penalties which Medway accepted to narrow the lead.
Despite having a player “sin-binned” midway through the half Charlton continued to defend well with and it required a fine piece of individual skill from Medway for them to finally score their first try of the match when a cross-field kick was caught and the ball touched down to reduce the deficit to one point.
With the half, seemly over a third successful penalty saw Medway take the lead in what had been an even game where events seemly all being committed by one side, and this fact was greeted with pleasure by “The Chorus”, suitably refreshed with Kentish Ambrosia, at every opportunity.
The second half continued in a similar vein as the first with Charlton, seemly offending at every occasion. Although defending well, much to “the Chorus’s’’ displeasure who could see well through the gathering gloom, Charlton’s back row disrupted play with physical play at the ruck and driving from their tight five forward meant that Medway were only able to extend their lead with two further penalties in the opening twenty minutes of the second half.
It was with only twenty minutes left that an error in defence from Charlton enabled Medway to double their try tally when a clearance kick down the centre of the pitch was run back and taken through phase play for a converted try.
It was in a stygian gloom that in the dying moments of the match a third try from Medway saw them trying without success to score a further try to garner a bonus point but to no avail as Charlton denied the home side.
Despite losing a match where they were perceived to have committed numerous errors and consequently a diminished parity in play Charlton’s play was fully committed for all eighty minutes of the match and totally deserved the warm and well merited applause from the teams travelling supporters.