Bromley RFC VS Old Alleynians RFC
|Old Alleynians RFC||37||Win|
BROMLEY STRUGGLE AGAINST ALLEYNIANS
With a new coaching team in place and George Scott taking over the captaincy there was a degree of optimism at the start of a new season. As the team took the pitch it was clear a number of stalwarts from last year were not available but Bromley were still able to field a strong fifteen. Things started brightly for the home side and they were in the ascendancy with the scrum looking particularly strong. In seven minutes full back Hawkins launched an enormous kick out of defence leading to a lineout. Bromley won this and a maul developed which was strongly resisted by Old Alleynians but George Scott managed to wrestle the ball clear and released Johnny Griffiths who slipped a neat pass to Pullen and he was in wide left. Conversion missed but 5-0 ahead. The old boys then began to assert themselves and put the home side under enormous pressure but the defence was strong and one thunderous hit in midfield left an Alleynian player in a heap. Seventeen minutes in and Bromley finally got their hands on the ball after turning it over near their line and Wilson made a strong charge out but was tackled and penalised for not releasing in front of the posts. The kick was easily dispatched and with a narrow 5-3 lead the game was on.
Then the first of a litany of injuries occurred with the experienced Banfield having to leave the field of play with a serious-looking leg injury leading to a reshuffle in the front row with White coming on as hooker. Bromley again had to defend for a long period but eventually broke out and began to apply pressure of their own. The away side was penalised in midfield and fly-half Griffiths knocked the ball close to the twenty-two. The lineout was won leading to a scrum to the home side from which Hawkins was set free resulting in two powerful drives by the pack. Quick ball ensued and the backs created an overlap for Powell to throw a long pass to Alex Griffiths who expertly caught it and scored and with a good conversion Bromley was ahead 12-3. Could Bromley get a grip on the game now – sadly not as two further injuries to both second rows completely upset the balance of the whole side with several players now out of position and backs taking over forward roles. The black and ambers needed to get to halftime to regroup and reassess. Alleynians scenting blood upped their game and began running hard trying to exploit weaknesses created by all the reshuffling the home side had to do. With the end of the half approaching the old boys made a great break up the left-hand side which led to a penalty to them which was kicked to the corner. They won the lineout and after a couple of powerful surges, they crashed over in the corner. Bromley 12-8 ahead at the break.
However, there were ominous signs for the home side in the first half when they had to spend a lot of time defending and only had control of the game for short periods. The shortcomings were ruthlessly exposed by a very good and well-drilled Alleynians side who ran hard and straight and could play an expansive game as well as a close controlled forward game when needed with their driving maul doing lots of damage. They scored twenty-nine unanswered points in the second half and were well worth their win and five points. The wheels came off for the home side with the lineout malfunctioning, first-up tackles on direct runners being missed and an inability to stay in the fight against a strong maul. Absences and injuries can be held up as a reason to explain this defeat but this is a hard and uncompromising league to play in and the whole squad will have to learn quickly how to manage difficult moments in games. This was a tough day at the office and things don’t get any easier with an away trip to Folkestone, next Saturday, who have made a perfect start to the season.
Not all doom and gloom though as spirits were good after the game and the Alleynians players stayed for quite a long time which was great to see. Another Bromley XV were playing against Bexley on an adjacent pitch and by all accounts won comfortably although, as usual, nobody had any idea of the score.