Level 1 of 22 Completed
By Michael Timms
Beckenham secure bonus point win away at Gravesend
Gravesend (A) - 08/09/18
Having been relegated from London 1 last season, Gravesend were coming into this game with a point to prove. But, so did Beckenham, having lost 99-0 on our last visit to Rectory Field. From the first minute we knew it would be another tough game, as we were greeted by a hostile crowd on a lovely afternoon for rugby.
Gravesend won the toss and decided to kick off to us, with the wind behind them. It wasn't the best start for skipper Liam Markey who dropped the kick off. From the resulting play Gravesend used their forwards to drive us back into our 22. Drawing our defence in, which presented the chance for their 10 the chance to put in a cross field, which was well executed, falling in to the hands of their winger who dived over in the corner, kick converted,and we were quickly down 7-0 within the first few minutes. Minutes later however, Beckenham struck back, straight from the kick off. A great kick chase and electric line speed (which was typical of Beckenham all day) put Gravesend on the back foot, this pressure resulted in us being awarded a penalty, due to outstanding work at the breakdown from Hans Laud-Anderson (the first of many for the eventual MOM). Having kicked to the corner, the resulting line out, set up a rolling maul, which marched Gravesend over their line in the corner, with Ebenezer Ikediashi forcing his way over, kick converted by Louis Richards, 7-7, game on.
The game became quite scrappy at this point, with both teams giving the ball away, with the breakdown being strongly contested with Hans and James Curr as usual. Beckenham then clicked! a great break from James Cleverly and an offload to Ebenezer Ikediashi saw us break into Gravesends half, working hard around the breakdown, Gravesend were forced further into their own half off the back of some powerful carries from debutants Josh Smith and James Blackmore. The ball was then spread wide across the back line, with full back Kk making a break. After drawing in two defenders the Full Back created the gap for James Curr, who then popped the ball to Jamie McDowall , who darted through to finish off a lovely team try under the posts, with the 2 points being added by Louis Richards, 7-14 to Beckenham.
From the kick off, Gravesend came straight back at us, using their dangerous ball carriers to push us back into our 22. An overlap out wide left centre Louis Richards isolated, with no choice but to go for the interception, it nearly came off, but unfortunately ended up in the ball being knocked on, resulting in a penalty and yellow card for Louis, leaving us down to 14. Gravesend oped for the scrum, planning on a walk over, which they nearly got, but, Beckenham collapsed the scrum resulting in another penalty, they opted to scrum again, but, this time Beckenham won the penalty and kicked clear. Gravesend continued to attack the Beckenham line, putting the team under significant pressure, but, as it was all day our defence was solid. A lapse in concentration at the breakdown however, resulted in Gravesend being awarded a penalty, which was duely converted by the fly half. Half time. 10 - 14 to the blue and gold.
Beckenham came out raring to go, with 14 men we were dominating, Louis came back on just in time to kick a penalty over, gained through consistent pressure, 10-17. Minutes passed and Gravesend won a penalty in midfield and being behind, opted to kick for the corner. Gravesend's well organsied lineout secured the ball and set up a maul, causing Beckenham to give away a penalty for side entry. Gravesend's powerful winger, who had been one of their standout performers throughout the game, used his initiative to take the quick tap and blasted his way over in the corner. Conversion missed leaving it 15-17 to Beckenham.
At this stage the crowd was probably thinking, please don't do another Beckenham! and we didn't. After some battling in the middle of the park, Beckenham kicked it deep, JP Santamaria chased, putting a hit in on his opposite number, who spilled the ball, this fell straight to Santamaria who picked up to dot down in the corner. Louis Richards, who had a great game from the boot, again converted, extending Beckenhams lead to 15-24.
Late in the game, Beckenham had the bit between their teeth, with a bonus point just a matter of time. Beckenham continued to kick deep, putting pressure on the back three, with a blue wall quickly closing down any space to get out of their half. Again, the blue and gold stopped them getting out their 22 from the catch and carry. The 9's box kick was charged down by the ever present Hans Laud-Anderson, with the ball falling to Keita Orelaja who charged through to score under the posts, securing the well deserved bonus point, Louis converting to make it 15-31. For the last 15 minutes Gravesend put Beckenham under huge pressure, with their powerful ball carriers battering the Beckenham defensive line, but, our defence held strong with the gruelling pre season regime paying off, holding them out until the Full Time whistle.
FT Gravesend 15 - 31 Beckenham
A first win for Beckenham, a great start winning away at one of the toughest grounds in the league. Thank you to Gravesend for a great game and good luck for the rest of the season. The team will take plenty of positives from the game, especially the very impressive debuts from Josh Smith, Ben Petty and James Blackmore. But there is also plenty to work on in the time for next weeks game against Horsham (A) - sure to be another stern test!
Man of the Match - Hans Laud Anderson.