Charlton Park’s recent slump in form continued last Saturday when they succumbed to a defeat by Twickenham, a side who had previously been sitting below them in the league.
Fielding a team that showed differences from the previous week Charlton made a bright start but it was Twickenham that began to control play as they established territorial advantage pertly helped by a number of errors made in defending. Despite Charlton’s best endeavours Twickenham opened the scoring with a converted try when their handling play finally outflanked Charlton’s defence.
Despite their problems Charlton’s back row forwards of Sam Baker, Ally McQuilty and Rob Saunderson were producing good quality possession that enabled their backs to make several good runs into the Twickenham half of the pitch but poor retention of the ball cost them dearly as they lost control of the ball.
It was poor tackling from Charlton, allied to good back play from Twickenham that saw the home side run the ball from a lineout deep in their half to score their second try of the half to extend their lead.
Charlton’s backs illustrated their skills well when following Alex Miller fielding a Twickenham clearance kick broke into space and when he was tackled good interplay between John Beith and Tommy Nightingale saw Beith score his maiden league try from Charlton and Miller picked up the pressure when he added a very well judged conversion to put Charlton back into the match.
Twickenham’s response was to rally and they were assisted in their efforts as Charlton gave away a series of penalties as they were adjudged to be offside as they tries to quell the relentless home side’s pressure. It was following yet another penalty that Twickenham utilised their superiority in the forwards to kick for territory and from the following lineout mauled the ball over to score their third try.
With Twickenham seemly in control Charlton’s response was positive as they struck back with their second try of the game through Nightingale following a crisp move orchestrated by direct running after possession had been won following the award of a penalty. Charlton had a further scoring opportunity to narrow the home side’s lead following good play at the breakdown by baker but unfortunately for them the kick drifted wide. At half time with only a five point deficit and their backs showing well it seemed that it was possible for Charlton’ to win the match
Unfortunately for Charlton their problems in tight play in the second half were to cost them dearly and it was only their expertise at the breakdown that kept them in the game for periods of the second half as Twickenham took control.
Twickenham finally gained their try bonus point when following a number of crucial missed tackles saw the fourth try being scored. Charlton were unlucky to be denied an almost immediate response when following them gaining possession of the ball against the throw at a lineout a sizzling pass by scrum half and Charlton’s man of the match Tom Grocott was adjudged very marginally forward thereby denying Saunderson a try as a reward for his second half stint as a front row forward.
Putting the near miss behind them scored their fifth try when once again they broke through the tiring Charlton defence but once again this prompted a revival in Charlton’s fortunes.
Throughout the game Charlton’s captain mark Harlow-Singh had been to the forefront of Charlton’s driving play and after Twickenham had been reduced to fourteen players, following them committing a series of penalties close to the goal line Harlow-Singh drove into the Twickenham defence and following a series of phases Nightingale jinked over to score his second try of the game.
Despite Twickenham scoring another try Charlton’s team spirit saw them in the dying seconds of the match still in search of a try to secure a bonus point and they were unlucky with the final play of the match when Ross McManus was judged to have been held up over the try line by frantic last ditch defending by Twickenham.
Charlton enjoy a week’s break from League play enabling their current injury situation to improve and resume league action when they entertain Brighton on 24th October at Broadwalk.and hopefully this will help them