14 DECEMBER 2013

Charlton Park, in securing a hard earned five point win over a resilient and highly committed Old Colfeians side, and due to other results in the League finish the year in the top position for the first time in a number of years.

From the onset of the match and the opening encounters it was evident that despite the difference in League positrons the match was going to be a struggle for either team to win as both were eager to win the local derby to finish off the year with a win.

Despite starting well Charlton were prone to make mistakes and wasted a number of opportunities to mount any pressure and it was Colfeians who took the lead with a well struck penalty when they won a penalty in midfield.

The shock of falling behind galvanised Charlton into life and despite encountering problems in scrimmaging for the next fifteen minutes they snapped into their running and passing game which had bought them such success the previous week.

It was following a scrum that Charlton’s backs constructed a passage of play that saw ”BJ” Bridges make the initial break and when he was hauled to the ground good work and handling and passing by Charlton saw the sweeping move being finished when Neil Collins crashed through a number of tackles to score the opening try of the match. Full back Thor Normann, making a welcome return to League play following injury, added the conversion to give Charlton the lead.

The subsequent restart kick saw Collins becoming a creator of tries when following the ball being won his initial break took Charlton through the advancing Colfeians defensive line and his subsequent pass to Sam Baker, running in support, saw Baker make a sixty metre run from within the Charlton half to score Charlton’s second try in the space of ninety seconds. With Normann adding his second conversion, having judged the swirling wind well on both occasions, meant that Charlton had posted a reversal in scores that did not reflect their time in possession.

Any thoughts that Charlton had of capitalising on their lead seemed to dissipate as Colfeians rose to the challenge and increasingly they began to establish pressurise and territorial advantage. The Colfeians pressure bought results and following a well rehearsed multi-phase play their increasing influence bore success as they scored a converted try and luckily for Charlton a subsequent penalty drifted wide of the posts. With Charlton’s efforts to stretch their narrow lead not coming to fruition the first half ended with Charlton holding a narrow four point lead and the result of the match in the balance.

The second half saw Charlton trying to re-establish a modicum of their normal style of play but they were thwarted by a mixture of giving away possession allied to an inordinate number of reset scrums. To their credit they tried on a number of occasions to stretch their lead with positive driving play but were rebuffed by robust Colfeians defence and indeed it was the home side that opened the scoring in the second half.

Having shown expertise in defending a rolling maul Colfeians then utilised this method of attack when from a line out they moved the ball deep into Charlton’s twenty two metres area and when awarded a penalty they opted for field position and subsequently drove to score their second converted try of the match to retake the lead.

It was not until the last fifteen minutes of the half when Charlton finally began to overwhelm Colfeians in both territory and possessions as their forwards gained the initiative. It was following a scrum which saw Colfeians being pushed backwards that Charlton took the ball through a series of plays that was finished off by Charlton’s man of the match Collins breaking through to score his second try of the game.

An error at the restart set up a nerve tingling situation for Charlton and their supporters when they conceded a penalty in front the goal posts setting up what looked a seemingly easy chance for Colfeians to retake the lead. Luckily for Charlton the ensuing kick, from Colfeians drifted wide of the posts letting Charlton off the hook.

With the final result of the match still in doubt it was Charlton who in the dying moments pressed Colfeians deep in the home side’s half. It was a period of dominant forward play that saw Charlton putting the Colfeians defensive capabilities to the test. It was the award of a penalty that saw Charlton opting for field position rather than kicking for the goal posts that proved to be decisive moment in finalising the score. From the line out Charlton, despite having previously through out the game having rolling mauls stopped this time moved forward and Tom Coad, another player making a return to league play from injury was strong enough to break through a tackle to score a decisive try saw Charlton score a fourth try to secure both a bonus point and more critically another win in the League to maintain Charlton’s momentum going into 2014. Normann added his third successful conversion to round off a nervy performance by Charlton against a Colfeians side whose play did not reflect their position in the League.

By Roe Belcher

 

olfeians Seasonal view of the match:

Oops sorry, but it is Pantomime Season…

… (and it was both of us that gave it, not just me)

With the roads busy, full of shoppers and people preparing for the arrival of the man with the bag, Charlton Park and their fans all managed to make it the half mile from Broad Walk, to eat all of our turkey, drink our mulled wine, while the players delivered a real Christmas cracker.

Ed Livett was still nowhere to be seen, so I’m still doing the reports. Well, that’s it. We’re on the homeward stretch to the season being over. Charlton Park was the first of the return fixtures for the Old Boys and there is still a Saturday to spare before the mid season break.

Once again the 3rd XV referee had pulled out; leaving Brian to ref the 3’s, which left me running touch. This week I had looked forward to it as I hadn’t drunk 5 pints of Spitfire and had steak pie and roast potatoes. The match kicked off, and an air of anticipation hung around Horn Park (or maybe that was the smell from the Brussels at the Christmas lunch)

Colfeians started the better, and they were rewarded with Potts slotting his first long range effort, to take a 3 point lead. Charlton Park came straight back, with a try by their 12, who picked a great, hard line to break 3 or 4 tackles and dot down. The extras added for a 7-3 lead to the visitors. Straight from the resulting kick off (all we need is a good re-start, right?) the ball was worked up the short side, and then the Charlton openside scored. This lead, to the game’s controversial moment. While taking the conversion the ball appeared to go through the posts by the r/h post. Both myself and the Charlton TJ raised our flags to signal a success. The ref blew his whistle and awarded 2 points. The only thing wrong was, all the players said it missed, and when I got back to the touchline, so did all the supporters. All I can say in my/our defence, is that it looked good. Obviously in life there is room for human error, because if we eradicate that, it means we are all robots and the human race is over. With no humans, it means there is no sport. No sport means no rugby. And with no rugby, that means there will be no Old Colfeians. So in effect, my poor decision has helped to cement the future of our club, but sorry anyway.

Following another good spell of pressure from the Old Boys (who are all actually Young Boys these days) and a long forward drive, Andy O’Malley reduced the deficit with a 5-pointer, Potts adding the extras. So the half time score was 10-14 to the visitors and a game still winnable for both sides.

I was shunned from the half time huddle, and couldn’t even get a cuppa this week, as I would have spilt it as I ran the touchline. Colfeians started the 2nd half strongest, and were indeed the first to score when Steve Howard was tackled just 5 metres short of the whitewash, but using all of his 9ft 6ins frame, he was able to reach forward and dot down. Potts adding the extras for a 17-14 lead. With just 10 mins to play this was still the score, until following a great display of defence on our own line, Charlton Park inevitably scored wide out on the right hand touchline. 17-19 to Charlton. Still in touch, and still with a belief of victory, the old Boys moved up the field, and with just 5 mins to play were awarded a penalty directly in front of the posts. Potts struck it well, and it was virtually over, until the back end of hurricane Katrina wafted across the pitch, and pushed it just wide, robbing us of the lead. Still winnable, the game was taken away from us, when the strong running Charlton full back broke 2 tackles to go over out wide, and send the old Boys into the Christmas break on the back of a defeat.