Beckenham punished by clinical Heath
By Michael Timms
Beckenhams lead at the top of LSE 2 cut to 7 points
Beckenham travelled to an in form Hayward’s Heath this week, with the home side looking for revenge after their loss to the blue and gold before Christmas. Beckenham’s game against Dover the previous week was given as a HWO as Dover could not raise a side, and this showed in Beckenham’s performance.
From the kick off Beckenham were on the back foot, with Heaths forwards showing their physical dominance in the loose. A turnover in possession allowed Beckenham to momentarily relieve the pressure through a box kick, however a lacklustre kick chase allowed for Heath to pounce on a bouncing ball and carve through the Beckenham team and go in under the post for the first points of the day. The ensuing conversion was successfully slotted to make it 7-0, within the first minute.
Beckenham responded with some good pressure in Heaths half for the next few minutes and were rewarded with a penalty at the breakdown for holding on, which Louis Richards converted excellently in blustery conditions.
For the next 10 minutes both teams exchanged blows, with Heath being the more successful with dominant carries and turnovers at the Beckenham breakdown. Heath showed their ability to run the ball too, coming close to scoring in the corner. The final pass however letting them down. Beckenham were given the opportunity to clear their lines from the resulting scrum, one of the few areas of the game Beckenham showed dominance in. However, the decision to try and run the ball from under the post proved a poor decision and a loose pass saw Heath capitalise and go over for their second try of the game, 12-3 Heath.
Beckenham began to wake up and some good defensive pressure from Andrew Knowles and George Hixon saw the momentum begin to swing in Beckenham’s favour. Beckenham began to string some phases together and retain possession at the breakdown. This was rewarded when strong running from James Cleverly and James Curr stretched Heaths defensive line. Louis Richards carrying to the line, offloaded in contact to Craig Thomson, who Put Andrew Knowles Clear. This created a 2 on 1, which released Keita Orelaja to go over for Beckenham’s first try of the game, Louis Richards converted successfully 12-10. Beckenham now back in the game!
Beckenham continued their dominance and were rewarded with another penalty in Heaths 22, which Louis Richards converted to give Beckenham a slender 1 point lead. The next ten minutes saw both teams locked in a defensive arm wrestle. With the only notable mention being Heath missing a penalty. Heath however were the more clinical throughout the game and when a 22 drop out was again poorly chased by the blue and gold, Heaths backs capitalised and sliced through to go in under the posts with conversion successful, 19-13. Beckenham tried to rally and whilst trying to spin the ball about a dropped ball was swiftly picked up by a rampaging Heath back line and returned over beckenham’s try line, conversion missed 24-13 the score at half time.
The second half saw a resurgent beckenham try to take the game to Heath, however an offside and holding on at the breakdown saw Heath convert two early penalties to take the score to 30-13, and leave an up hill battle for the remainder of the half. The remainder of the half saw Beckenham hammer away at the Heath, but a lack of clear thinking and poor skills ensured that Heath were able to keep the blue and gold at bay. Eventually Beckenham’s dominance at the scrum paid off and the blue and gold were rewarded with a penalty try to take the score to 30-20, with 20 left to play. Beckenham pilled on the pressure and came close on several occasions to cracking the Heath defence again, with Reegan Tarbie and James Curr both going close. However the story of the game was that Beckenham lacked a clinical edge at crucial moments. Heath managed to hang on thanks to excellent contact skills and work rate at the breakdown. Beckenham were rewarded with a penalty with 1 minute to play and needing three points to go home with a losing bonus point, rather than kick for posts though the scrum was chosen and again Heaths good defence and breakdown skills saw the ball turned over and cleared to touch to finish the game 30-20.
A tough day at the office for Beckenham who were caught cold after their week off and Heaths convincing win against Maidstone looked to stand them in good stead. The home side where sharper than Beckenham in most aspects of the game and where more than deserving winners. We would like to thank Haywards Heath for their gracious hospitality as always and wish them well for the remainder of the season. This loss closes Beckenhams lead at the top of the table to 7 points.
We next welcome Colfes to Balmoral Avenue in what is now a must win game. Get down and support the boys!!