The Complete Performance.........
And a solid win on their travel's to North Kent.
Match Report by Rick Howe.
Our Referee this afternoon was Mr Simon Goatcher from South London.
Crowborough, visited fourth placed Bromley last Saturday, buoyed by their excellent performance the previous week, and anxious to reverse the result earlier in the season. By doing so they aimed to prove that their mid table position does the side an injustice, particularly having run so many opponents close in the first half of the season.
There was no score in the first quarter of this match although Crowborough controlled both possession and territory. However they failed to capitalise on their advantage, when on four occasions, whilst in the red zone, they either coughed up possession or lost their discipline enabling Bromley to clear their line.
When Bromley did secure possession the ‘Boro defensive line speed, controlled by Tom McMahon and Ali Main, was devastating in its effect, halting any attack before it could develop. When forced to attack the channels close in, Bromley found that the solid defence of Callum Main, captain Alex Purnell, and the ever present Matt Botterman was equally impressive, whilst the home sides frustration was becoming increasingly palpable.
However, Bromley did not have the monopoly on frustration, and with ‘Boro constantly denied the opportunity to score they paid their opponents the compliment of reverting to a risky long range attempt at goal, that dropped agonizingly short.
As the half hour mark passed, ‘Boro once more visited the Bromley 22, and with the pack driving inexorably forward, with several forceful pick and drives, the line was crossed only for the official to deem that the ball was held up. From the 5 metre scrum and with the ‘Boro pack having the edge over their opponents, the push over was on the cards. However control at the back allowed the ball to be hacked back fifteen metres to Ali Main who broke left, passing to the lurking Matt Botterman who needed no second invitation to dive over the line for the score. 0-5
Chris Yates’s conversion attempt struck the left upright and stayed out 0-5.
With six minutes of the half remaining, Bromley put in one of their few meaningful attacks, and abetted by two attempted ‘Boro “glory” tackles which were easily evaded, allowed #10 Steve Pillow to take the final pass and cruise over in the corner for the unconverted try, leaving three minutes of the half remaining.5-5.
Crowborough were getting used to visiting the Bromley 22, and having determined how to retain possession legally and apply a touch of ruthlessness, they once more approached the line with the official prepared to bring the half to an end. However before he could, Callum Main, having a man of the match performance, smuggled the ball to the back of the maul and needed no second invitation when the space opened up, to dot the ball down over the line for a Chris Yates to converted try bringing the half to an end at 5-12.
The second half was as keenly contested as the first if not more so, keeping the supporters of both sides on tender hooks as the result was far from certain and with both side seeking ways of gaining the advantage that would clinch the win.
The first opportunity went to Bromley whose penalty attempt hit the same upright of Chris Yates’s earlier conversion, with the same negative result, before Chris Yates then slotted his own attempt 5-15.
As the clock ran down, and with ‘Boro only needing to control possession, they needlessly proceeded to run the ball and actually crossed the line again, only for the ball to be adjudged to have been held up, and when the next phase of play produced a Bromley knock on the official blew for full time.
This was another performance where all 18 contributed for fully eighty minutes, with the front five mastering their bigger opponents; the back row majestic in attack and defence; the backs with a line speed and a tackle completion count that was pivotal in prevented Bromley from getting on the scoreboard; and last but not least the intelligent way that Chris Yates kicked and managed his back three defensive line, and, although it did at times appear to be more akin to “herding cats”, it did give those in front of them the confidence that their backs were covered.
On the downside Crowborough did pick up three injuries, but with a rest this Saturday hopefully all will be available for the next home match against Old Dunstonians 17/2/18.
There are now just six matches remaining of the season, and although two are against top three opponents few would bet, that on current form, that sixth placed ‘Boro would not be able to secure in excess of 16 points and move further up the table.