A Game of Two Halve's !!
By Ian Geering
Boro' completely controlled the First half of this LSE3 Fixture, and lead 29 - 0 at the break. Bromley then came back into it , but never looked like up-setting the Result !
Match Report by Rick Howe .
Crowborough travelled to South London on a glorious afternoon, determined to maintain their early season momentum.
However it was the home side that started the livelier, securing quick ball and feeding their strong running back row, with the aim of bullying their visitors into giving up an early score. However they had not reckoned on the robust ‘Boro defence, led by Callum Main, which was to a though nuisance all afternoon. Reverting to spinning the ball wide, the ‘Boro defence was equally sound and early Bromley frustration saw the ball dropped at crucial stages.
With ten minutes gone, and being unable to find a way through to the ‘Boro line, Crowborough latched onto one of the Bromley errors, and when Bromley erred ‘Boro ignored the 3 points but put the ball into the corner. From the lineout the pack formed the maul and drove the defenders backwards. With the back row forced to stay in , and with Matt Botterman and Josh Groocock adding their weight to the maul, the melee crossed the line and Alex Purnell emerged with the ball to claim the score which was converted by Graeme Francis. 0-7
From the kick off Bromley tried to respond, but the ‘Boro back’s line speed was so intimidating that they made little progress and continually coughed up hard won possession. From one turnover Tom West broke right in his own half, and drawing the tackle fed Gary Stevens in support. With the line in sight and with the cover coming across, he seemed to step away from the posts, into the defender, but managed to off-load in the tackle to the fast arriving Josh Groocock who strolled over for a Graeme Francis converted try. 0-14
With ‘Boro in the ascendancy all the training ground practice came into play, with the pack securing quick ball and the backs playing expansive rugby. On three occasions Connor Hand, whose recent dawning of how intimidating and quick he really can be , gained precious metres , and by going outside his man and delivering shuddering hand-offs, provided further opportunities for his supporting colleagues. From one attack Bromley recovered the ball, but the attempted clearance sliced off his foot, and across field straight to his left wing with just Bertie Boast in his way some thirty metres back. Closing down the space the left wing approached Bertie Boast intending to chip him, but instead the ball once more sliced of his boot only to be fielded by Lloyd Smith, who looked up to see the left wing channel devoid of cover and out-sprinted the fast arriving cover to score an unconverted try in the corner. 0-19
Connor Hand was next on the score sheet providing support to the pack when Matt Botterman broke free and fed Harry Slatter, who with the line tantalisingly close held on until tackled but managed to off-load to Connor Hand to score the bonus point try in the corner. Unfortunately the kick was missed. 0-24.
With half time approaching Bertie Boast cleared from his own 22, up to the opposition 22. Tom West and Adam King gave chase and corralled the left wing whose only option was to take the tackle and hold on. From the penalty , ‘Boro ignored the 3 points and put the ball in the corner, but the throw was crooked and a scrum awarded to Bromley.
‘Boro recovered the situation by securing the ball against the head, and drove the Bromley pack towards their own line. Matt Botterman picked up and drew the cover before popping the ball to Josh Groocock for the final score of the half . 0-29
The second half was to be somewhat of a contrast to that of the first. In the first ‘Boro had been generally on the attack, but in the second they were forced to defend in numbers as Bromley isolated the ball well, and brought their backs into the game more.
However even though they had the lion’s share of possession, they were having real difficulty in breaking down the impressive ‘Boro defence. But having conceded several penalties trying to secure the ball, ‘Boro patiently held off waiting for the mistake, that didn’t come. With the defensive line getting narrower the Bromley #10 slung out a long pass to his outside centre who took the ball at speed and rounded the cover to score a deserved converted try. 7-29
A series of incomprehensible penalties against Crowborough saw Bromley once more camped deep in ‘Boro territory and the, until then solid defence, froze as the left wing crossed once more to bring some respectability to the scoreline.14-29
With one minute to go Graeme Francis punted a Crowborough clearance penalty some 60 metres to land 15 metres out from the Bromley line. Harry Slatter rose to take the throw and fed Josh Groocock who burst through for his hat-trick to take the final score to 14-34 and record another five point victory.
By courtesy of Lewes’s away win over Old Dunstonians the gap at the top stretches to four points, making next week’s encounter at Steel Cross against second placed Old Dunstonians an intriguing proposition.
Once more ‘Boro fielded three sides this week with Crowborough’s second string running out 67-24 winners against Crawley 2nds, whilst the Crowborough Crows 3rd XV had a creditable loss away to Eastbourne 2nds 24-12.