Dover RFC VS Bromley RFC
BROMLEY SIGN OFF WITH WIN – DOVER AND OUT
Bromley first team and a large band of supporters endured an arduous trip down to the seaside to play Dover due to ongoing difficulties on the M2 and M20 which led to the kick off being delayed by fifteen minutes. On the surface of it there was not much in this game as Bromley had already wrapped up the league and Dover were safe in mid table. What transpired was an excellent game of attacking rugby played in the best of spirits and officiated by a very good referee who let the game flow and played advantage to the benefit of everybody.
Dover started off like a train and Bromley appeared to be stuck on the sidings as they slipped off tackle after tackle allowing the opposition to gain territory and field position. Consequently after a couple of minutes the very good Dover fly half picked up a loose ball and passed it wide to the full back who scored in the corner. To their credit Bromley bounced back three minutes later when after good pressure the away side were awarded a scrum and the quick thinking scrum half George Scott flipped the ball out to the charging Pillow who crashed over in the left hand corner. In the next few minutes penalties were exchanged and the score was 8-8 after about twelve minutes. Although Bromley were looking good with ball in hand there were some very alarming defensive lapses and it was clear that Dover wanted to play at a high tempo trying to create space for their speedy wingers. Bromley initially did not heed the warnings and paid the price.
On twenty six minutes after heavy sustained pressure Dover got over for a try and five minutes later after poor handling by Bromley in midfield the Dover number ten picked the ball up and cleverly released a runner who galloped in under the posts for a converted try. A few minutes to half time and things looking gloomy and the home side had their tails up and smelling victory. Bromley flipped a switch and then showed for the next thirty minutes why they are league champions. On thirty seven minutes the away side were awarded a penalty which was dispatched into the corner. From the resultant lineout the Bromley forwards put in an almighty surging drive resulting in Bird scoring and with the resultant conversion the game was on. Two minutes later off the back of a scrum Wilson made a fast break and slipped a super off load to Powell who strolled in under the posts for another converted try. In the space of a few minutes Bromley had completely turned the game around and were 22-20 ahead at the interval and what a first half of rugby we had witnessed. The expectation was that the second half would be equally as competitive.
Not quite as Bromley now took charge with the forwards adopting a no nonsense approach, the backs looking sharp and Hawkins and Griffiths controlling matters with long booming kicks. The scrum was utterly dominant, lineout drills accurate leading to the away side having a steady stream of possession which they used to devastating effect. Inside two minutes Hawkins picked up a clearance kick which was transferred through the hands ending with Wilson passing to Pillow to score in the corner for a wonderful try. Five minutes later after a quickly taken lineout Hawkins worked an opening for Griffiths to maraud down the right wing to create the opening for Powell to steam through and score an excellent try with the comfortable conversion to follow. Bromley kept piling on the pressure and were awarded a scrum ten metres from the try line. The Dover pack were shoved back at a rate of knots and Wilson had a simple pick up for the score again converted. Minutes later and Bromley were surging down the field again with Powell creating havoc down the right wing. He eventually ran out of space but managed to unleash a wicked crossfield kick which led to Dover transgressing. Bromley took a quick tap and the ever willing Ansell slowly dropped over the line to score his first try for the senior side – big smile on face.
Bromley out of sight with fifteen minutes to play but they took their foot off the pedal and paid the price. On sixty seven minutes Dover had a lineout ten metres from the Bromley line and as the away side had done in the first half they steamed towards the try line and scored from a well worked move. Five minutes later and the Sharks were back in the Bromley twenty two and a rapid backs move ended with their winger scampering over. That was it as Bromley then closed up shop and kept Dover at arms length for the rest of the game. Final score at the end of a super contest was 48 – 34 to Bromley. Huge congratulations to Dover for giving Bromley a real run for their money and equally to Bromley who yet again rose to the challenge and for fifty minutes gave an outstanding display of fifteen man rugby. Players often get the plaudits when things go well but the person who rightly gets the credit this time is the coach Matthew Witcomb who has done an outstanding job of turning a group of talented individuals and promising youngsters into a real force to be reckoned with but more importantly he has instilled in them a bond, a band of brothers mentality which has been a joy to watch. There have been times this season when they have had their backs to the wall but they have found a way to win losing only one league game all season and garnering 101 points along the way. With no clarity about the league structure for next season I would suggest that Bromley will be promoted and the ambition will be to get a foothold in the league above. No easy ask as the last two times we have gone up we have come straight back down but that is the challenge. Anyway huge congratulations to a wonderful first team squad and coach and I am sure celebrations will go on for a while yet. There are still a couple of engagements for them with a mystery Easter Tour for forty plus going to a venue that only a select few are aware of and then on April 23rd a game to commemorate the sad passing of Matthew Hart. This is going to be a huge occasion at the club with many events taking place and a show piece game between Bromley first team and the team from Scotland whom Matthew played for who have also won their league.
It is also time to celebrate the achievement of the second team who over the course of the season have got stronger and stronger culminating in them having to face Westcombe Park away to decide the outcome of their league last weekend. This turned in to an almighty tussle with the teams tied at 7-7, 10-10,13-13, 16-16 until Bromley pulled away in the last few minutes to win 25-16 and secure the title. Brilliant. On Saturday the third team entertained Dartfordians and ran out comfortable winners. They have been in a struggle with Gravesend to see who wins their league with the mid Kent side seemingly desperate, sorry keen, to be crowned champions. I don’t think that race is quite complete yet. Also good to report that the well run and managed under 16’s have also won their league.