Ashford RFC VS Bromley RFC
NO GLOOM FOR BROMLEY
Bromley travelled to play Ashford on Saturday on a dank, wet and miserable day. This is never an easy fixture and a physical encounter was expected. The surrounds near the clubhouse were waterlogged in places but the pitch itself was good. Bromley started off at pace and after a couple of forward surges took them into Ashford’s half they were awarded a kickable penalty but the normally reliable number ten Johnny Griffiths pushed it wide. During this passage of play prop Ben Smith suffered a foot injury and he had to leave the field of play to be replaced by Banfield who is slowly returning to fitness after suffering a nasty injury himself.
The next ten minutes or so belonged to the home side who penned Bromley in their own half but the defence was strong and they were eventually awarded a penalty. This was kicked to touch, lineout won but a couple of scruffy passes ensued, however, second row Brown rescued the situation, drove forward and passed to Alex Griffiths on the wing who shimmied and dummied his way over for a lovely score but unfortunately could not quite convert his own try. Bromley were now into their stride and on sixteen minutes Haisell made a great break downfield leading to another penalty which again was narrowly missed. Four minutes later the away team had another penalty and with Griffiths J adjusting his sights the ball flew between the posts. On twenty nine minutes they were awarded yet another penalty for an infringement at the base of the scrum and the fly half duly obliged to establish an 11-0 lead for the away side. Bromley were well and truly in the ascendancy and on thirty six minutes constructed a concerted attack with Ansell prominent leading to Griffiths J barging over and with the conversion the lead was stretched to 18-0.
Bromley only had a couple of minutes of injury time to see it through to half time and they could be well pleased with their work in the first forty. Ashford had other ideas and worked their way into the Bromley half and kicked a penalty into the corner. This was to be the last play of the half. Unfortunately for Bromley, they lost concentration and conceded a soft try from a short lineout throw. It was a well executed move but should have been defended better. At the break, it was 18-5 to the away team. Bromley started off the second half on the front foot again and on fifty minutes a clever kick by captain Scott trickled over the try line and with winger Pillow about to dot it down he was impeded and consequently, a penalty try was awarded. With a superb touchline conversion from the number ten, the lead was extended by seven points.
Ashford had to respond and they began to contest every situation pretty fiercely leading to a Scott kick being charged down. This was hacked on presenting full back Hawkins with a horrible bouncing ball to deal with.. He could not control it and it was hacked on again, over the try line and one of the home side’s forwards fell on it for the try and with the conversion it was suddenly 25-12 and game on with plenty of time to go. To Bromley’s credit, they got their game heads on and played their rugby which was rewarded by a great score on sixty two minutes. Ashford were forced on the defensive leading them to concede a scrum about thirty metres out. This was won cleanly and moved swiftly off the base and with lovely passing a gap was created for Hawkins to tear through. He put his foot to the pedal, ignored the supporting winger and slid over in the corner and with another excellent conversion the lead was extended to 32-12. With fifteen minutes to play plus injury time, Bromley just needed to manage the game to see themselves over the finishing line. However, not quite the Bromley way and a few minutes of madness ensued with two yellow cards against them and a converted try for the opposition which is too difficult to describe as it was pretty awful from a defensive point of view and aesthetically. That took the score to 32-19 and Ashford had a sniff as we went into ten minutes of injury time but in the descending gloom, Bromley saw that time out without any further mishap.
A very satisfying win against difficult opposition. There were many good aspects to Bromley’s performance. Set pieces were generally very good, work at the breakdown was very effective, tactical kicking kept Ashford on their toes and posed quite a few problems, a lower than usual penalty count and energy and desire from all the players was great to see. Probably not happy about the three yellow cards issued, two of which were very avoidable, and also conceding three tries when they controlled large parts of the game.
Elsewhere the twos were at home to a Colfeians side at the top of the Kent 5 table and very free scoring. Bromley were also riding high in the league and a hotly contested match went right down to the wire. Five minutes to go and Colfes were ahead 15-19. Try as they might Bromley could not get the score they required and the away side eased to a 15-22 win. The threes merit table opposition cried off late in the week (Friday!!) and it took an extraordinary effort to get a replacement game for them away at Sutton and Epsom. Another mighty contest took place with the score changing sides on a few occasions. The outcome of another very good game was a 29-33 loss. Finally, the fourth team emerged after hibernating for a few years and were greeted by an away fixture at Westcombe Park. A couple of old heads took the field plus some younger old heads, a few youngsters and a couple who have not played too much rugby at all. Park had a bit too much for them but they competed well and although losing 0-33 they all had a bit of fun playing and after the game as well.
Next week there are no dedicated fixtures. The firsts return to action on the 2nd December with a home game against Dartfordians. That is the start of a run of three really tough looking games for them, Canterbury away on the ninth and Beccs away on the 16th. Also on the 2nd, the twos are away at Sevenoaks and the threes are away at Beccehamians. I am sure something will be arranged for next Saturday with a lot of threes and fours players plus others keen to get some game time.