Bromley RFC VS Beccehamian RFC
LOCAL DERBY WIN FOR BROMLEY
Saturday saw Bromley entertain old friends and rivals Beccehamians at Barnet Wood Road. The first team game had been eagerly looked forward to as it was second in the league against third and of course the all important bragging rights. Beccehamians also brought their second team, who participate in Kent 4, to play against our seconds in yet another friendly as it seems nigh on impossible to get a fixture in the supposed Merit Table but that is another story. Both the home teams looked strong on paper and it soon became obvious that the away sides were similarly loaded. The first team showed a couple of changes from last week with Hawkins returning at full back and Bird coming in at number eight and Carroll, Pope and Gray making up the bench.
Early minutes of the game were nip and tuck until eight minutes in Bromley were penalised for not retreating ten metres and Beccs took a three point lead. Four minutes later a powerful Bromley scrum led to the away team conceding a penalty in a very kickable position but the normally reliable Griffiths J pushed it narrowly wide. Beccehamians returned to the attack and on fifteen minutes they scored in the corner after a quickly taken penalty caught the home side off guard. No conversion but not the start that Bromley were striving for. No matter Bromley started to get more into the game and had Beccs in a world of trouble in the scrum. Bromley now had a period of ascendancy and after great work by the forwards the backs, at long last, had space to work in and Pillow was the recipient of a long pass and he was over in the corner but no the referee adjudged the pass to be forward – marginal call from the biased home support. The scrum superiority bore fruit with another penalty on twenty three minutes. Again kickable but again missed. Unfortunately, as the half progressed Bromley lost both second rows to injury, Brown with a cut head and Pullen to a serious looking leg injury. Although very disruptive Bromley rejiggled the pack with Carroll off the bench and Haisell joining him in the row allowing Gray to feature in the back row. Six minutes from the break Griffiths kicked a penalty into the right hand corner which led them to be encamped on the Beccehamians line. Surge after surge was repelled but eventually, captain Scott squirmed his way over from millimetres. No conversion and Beccs lead cut to three.
Bromley now had to see out the half and regroup at half time but there was a significant amount of injury time during which Beccs produced some excellent play going through multiple phases which eventually broke the defence to score wide right and with the conversion the score was 15-5 to the away side. Bromley responded immediately and pressured Beccehamians into giving away a penalty and Griffiths got his shooting boots backed on and slotted the points leaving the home side trailing 8-15 at the break and all to play for.
The home supporters were fairly confident that with the slope Bromley could now get a grip on the game and reduce the deficit. However, Beccs had other ideas and for twenty odd minutes launched an absolute blitz of attacks and Bromley could not get out of their half. The game plan seemed quite simple with the away side using their big forwards to punch holes and when the damage had been done release the backs to finish the job. However, they ran into a black and amber brick wall with all fifteen Bromley players putting their bodies on the line to repel a ferocious physical challenge. Several times they were right on their line and defending desperately but every time they either turned the ball over or forced errors. They stole the ball at five metre lineouts where Bird was prominent and some of the tackling was beyond belief with one monstrous hit by Banfield crumpling his opponent but at a cost to his own wellbeing forcing him off and another key member of the pack was gone. Another reshuffle with Powell coming into the back row and Pope entering the fray on the wing and Pillow to the centre. Half way through the second period after further great phase play by Beccs their left winger to all intents and purposes was going to score in the corner but a black and amber shirt came hurtling out of nowhere and executed a quite brilliant tackle to knock him into touch.
Anyone watching this would have thought it was only a matter of time before the away team would score as Bromley had expended a huge amount of energy keeping them out but then captain George Scott, leading from the front, raised the siege and on sixty two minutes he broke blind down the left hand side which released the forwards into the opposition half and with the pressure they squeezed out a lineout. This was won and the ball was taken on by Hawkins and Gray which led to the Bromley forwards being encamped on the try line. They were patient and rumbled around looking for the gap to get through and then the man who is deadly from a few millimetres George Scott scooted over and conversion landed and suddenly it was 15-15. How did that happen?
For the last fifteen minutes of the game, Beccs seemed to have run out of ideas as they had been simply battered by a tsunami of tackles and it was Bromley amazingly who were forcing the pace. The play was mostly in the opposition half but they were hampered by being turned over at the breakdown on several occasions leading to a succession of penalties which were accompanied by the unedifying sight of Beccs players raising their arms and screaming and shouting at the referee to make the decision – is it really necessary. The game then entered injury time and it seemed that a draw was on the cards but Bromley launched one final assault and the away side were defending for their lives. For a couple of minutes, Bromley probed for an opening and then the whistle went. Full time? No, as the referee raises his arm and awards Bromley a penalty which was to add more drama to what had been an extremely dramatic match. Griffiths took his time, composed himself and sent the ball on its way. Almost as if it had been written it strikes the left hand upright, skews right and over the bar and with that the referee blows his whistle for no side and Bromley had won 18-15.
What a game that was with both teams giving it absolutely everything and played in the best of spirits considering the sheer physicality of it. Beccs will probably be wondering how they lost and the Bromley supporters were in awe at the spirit, fight and endurance of their team. The forwards were immense and stood up to their bigger opposite numbers and special mention should go to Bird who had an outstanding game. The backs simply tackled everything that moved, were calm under pressure and when they had the opportunity to attack did so with purpose. Special mention to Rice at fly half who for such a young player performed terrifically well and also to Pope another youngster who came on and displayed no fear taking on the ball in several scything runs. Beccehamians, outside of Alleynians, are the best team that Bromley have played this season and they gave Bromley a sound beating in the reverse fixture in September but as I said at the time there will be another day and it was today.
On the adjacent pitch, another fine match was taking place between the club’s second teams. There were ten tries scored, no conversions and plenty of passes. The final score was 30-20 to Bromley. Next week the first team travels to Heathfield and Waldron for a difficult fixture, the seconds are due to play Park House and as for the third team looking at their remaining fixtures I don’t think any of those teams actually exist so it looks likely a diet of friendly games may be on the cards.