Orelaja hat-trick seals bonus point win for Beckenham
By Michael Timms
Blue and gold left frustrated by the Bulls
This week a confident Beckenham 1st XV travelled to bottom of the table, Aylesford Bulls, where they were met by a passionate and vocal home crowd. Beckenham off the back of a 50 point win against Deal were taking on a home side scrapping for safety.
The game kicked off with Aylesford enjoying the territory in the early minutes of the first half. However, there effort was not to be rewarded as Henry Kenny pounced on a loose ball and charged 40 metres, casting aside two Bulls defenders in the process, to bring the ball just inside the Aylesford half. With the Aylesford defence disjointed, it was just the invitation the Beckenham backs needed. With the ball shipped wide Keita Orelaja showed good footwork to break the disjointed Aylesford backline, then showing great awareness to perform a well-timed midfield switch, to put James Curr under the posts. Louis Richards added the 2 7 – 0, with 5 minutes played.
The next 10 or so minutes were dominated by Beckenham, although as with the majority of the game, Beckenham had struggled to take their chances. This pressure told on 18 minutes when the Aylesford 12 saw yellow. A result of Beckenham’s persistent pressure. The resulting penalty was nudged over by Louis Richards. The score now 10-0.
Shortly after the restart, the referee brandished another yellow to the Aylesford 13, reducing Aylesford to 13 players for the ten-minute period. This allowed Beckenham to run freely, with notable line breaks from the left wing Mike Furness and tight head prop James Cleverly. But, yet again, Beckenham failed to capitalise on opportunities through simple mistakes, with forward passes and dropped balls at crucial points.
Having survived the potential onslaught with some valiant defence, and the score still 10-0, Aylesford were restored back to 15 only to concede their second try. Beckenham skipper, Liam Markey found a hole in the defence and then went on to link up with Keita Orelaja, who ran in his first try of the afternoon. Louis Richards converted to make the half time score 17 - 0.
The second half continued in much the same manner with Beckenham controlling possession and territory but failing to capitalise on their ample opportunities. Coach, Dan Brown, needed an impact with Graham Murray replacing Will Wynter in the 46th minute. A few minutes later, Murray produced two substantial carries to pierce through the heart of the Bulls forward pack. Patch Hooton was next to lead a charge to the line only to be cut short, by the once again courageous Aylesford defence. However, the phases had done enough to leave space on the flank, which allowed James Curr to easily set up Orelaja for his second of the game. Richards from the tee extended the lead 24 - 0.
With only three tries on the sheet, Beckenham still had to play to maintain their lead at top of the league with a valuable bonus point. However, Beckenham had to endure a defensive period, lead by back row Steven Brown once again chopping anything that came in his path. Suddenly, Beckenham turned defence into attack with an interception by fly half Louis Richards who looked to be on the way to the left hand corner only to be reeled in by a desperate, scrambling Aylesford defensive tackle. Nevertheless, Beckenham were back at the right end of the pitch.
Still needing a bonus point, and a scrum under pressure, scrum half, Craig Thomson, produced a bullet pass to set up an attack. From the second phase, Jonno Soffe and JP Santamaria combined with a simple draw and pass to send Keita Orelaja clear for his hat-trick score, which secured a deserved bonus point for Beckenham. Richards wide with the conversion. 29-0 Beckenham.
With little time remaining, Aylesford had nothing but pride to salvage. Having put in a good defensive shift for much of the game, they home side had little in the way of attacking opportunities. However, the Winger scored late on, slipping through the Beckenham defence, scoring in the corner to give the home crowd something to celebrate. The 14 however was wide with the conversion resulting in the final score being 29 – 5 to Beckenham. Although KK scored a hat-trick, the man of the match went to Steven Brown, whos monumental tackling display and all round game provided the platform for those scores.
Although a fairly one sided game on the face of it. Aylesford showed huge heart in limiting Beckenham to 4 tries. It will surely stand them in good stead in the fight against relegation and we wish them all the best for there final few games. The result means Beckenham are now 12 points clear at the top of South East 2.
This week we have a well deserved week off. On the 2nd of March we welcome Dover to Balmoral avenue…if the reverse fixture is anything to go by, its sure to be a exciting match.