Falcons Fall Prey by the inimitable Mr James Wyatt Esq
Hard fought battle belies result
WPRFC 17 vs Beccehamians RFC 29
Sunday 1st October
The Falcons welcomed Beccs for the Met-Cup on a wet Sunday morning. The Falcons were still without Henry J & the Des-meister, which together with Harvey A carrying a rib injury, which surely will need a rest, & big Dan kindly feeding the local wildlife with his own breakfast prior to the match commencing and the news that the Langley contingent from Beccs had had a rest day the day before meant that we were all going to have to be ‘on it’ from the very start.
The last time the two teams met for a full game, rather than a qualifier, was on the 13th November 2016 when we lost 29-0 at their ground.
Beccs started off with a switch kick away from our pack, which Harvey takes, the ball is recycled and in one of the following rucks WP are pinged for being off their feet. The penalty kick from Beccs is poor and goes through the dead ball line. A 22 drop out from the Falcons. Beccs take possession and get the ball past the WP 22, a ruck 5m out and the ref pings WP for coming in at the side. Pen kick to the WP line. Quick line out ball, a missed tackle or two and Beccs score & convert. 0-7.
Re-start and Beccs are on the front foot tails up. The midfield ground is competitive, Beccs are efficient going for any turn-over opportunity, Beccs get the ball out side and Charlie gets contact in and holds on waiting for the forwards to assist, top work. The ref pings WP again, now for off-side. Beccs kick for touch, the resulting line out is not straight, and the WP scrum is solid. It’s getting tasty between the WP 10-yard line and half way. WP kick & Max S goes off in hot pursuit, the Beccs full back is not looking comfy with the approaching grimacing whirlwind, however a Beccs covering wing duly blocks the run, after checking over his shoulder, the Beccs player is making no attempt to go for the ball, it’s blatant blocking/obstruction of the tackler, he’s given a shove, which would also be a penalty, but the first infringement has already taken place. The ref can only give what he sees, he’s not spotted the first infringement and awards a penalty to Beccs. WP aren’t getting much at the moment. It’s a good kick from Beccs, WP can’t get beyond their 10-yard line. WP awarded a penalty, yay’s all round, however touch is not made and Beccs return ball back to within the WP 10 yard line! Beccs knock on, and the WP scrum is really very good & solid and not budging in inch. The WP front row are looking very solid. Kick out of hand by Max H, line out Beccs, who knock on again in the wet conditions. WP scrum is precise and excellent, quick ball to Harvey who sees a gap and goes for it accelerating through the Beccs back line to score a try which Max H converts. 7-7
Beccs re-start with a deep kick, which Charlie collects well, Beccs turn us over, but get pinged for crossing. WP scrum, ball comes out we go into a maul which gets held up. Beccs scrum, they recycle with a couple of give & goes, and bludgeon over for a try, conversion is missed. 7-12.
Three minutes to go. WP re-start. There is a quick ruck or maul on the far side, which your dutiful correspondent can’t quite see, but somehow the big Beccs 8 bursts through, cracks through one or two tackles and scores a try in the corner, much jubilation from the Beccs supporters, it’s an important score. Interestingly after the match one of our pack complained that the ref had blocked two WP players with his arms out-stretched stating they were off-side, which is ok they might be, but that stopped them making contact, so your correspondent thinks that surely if the ref interferes with a play and an advantage is gained then play should be stopped. Anyway, it’s worth mentioning as from the side-lines it looked pretty poor play. Conversion is missed. 7-17.
WP restart is better, WP gain a scrum on the Beccs 10-yard line. A coach’s call instructs for a kick, which unfortunately goes straight into touch. Further contrition in the midfield and from a Beccs line out, Beccs kick deep to the WP 22. Sam N takes a difficult bouncing ball, Beccs are after him & tackled the WP Calvary is late to the scene and the balls turned over, key tackles & tacklers are missed & Beccs go over for another try. Three minutes of madness! Conversion missed and the ref blows for half time 7-22.
WP start the second half. WP look ready for the physical battle, they aren’t giving any ground to Beccs who want to push home their advantage. A great kick from WP to touch from a penalty. WP call maul from the line out & the ball is lost back to Beccs, who get the ball away into the WP half. A magnificent kick from Mike T has Max S chasing, the ref awards scrum to WP. The pack gets set to go again. The Beccs front row yelps, the ref quite rightly calls a halt, the lads ok, but our front row know they’ve got this lot. The scrum is awesome, the ball goes down the line and Beccs are penalised again for not releasing the tackler. WP kick to touch, and from the line out the Beccs 6 is offside and WP go again. WP line out but the ball is not good, there is a big battle between the two sides, Harry & Christian combining nicely to nullify a Beccs bulldozer dead in its tracks, the clash recommences between the Beccs 10-yard line & halfway. Beccs have a lineout on their 22, not straight the ref says, and WP pack converge for another set. Big Dan comes out at 8 and the ball spins out with good hands all the way to Harry S who scores a good team try. Conversion missed. 12-22.
15 Minutes to go. Beccs restart, a WP scrum, won again, WP kick and the ball gets out wide, WP miss a couple of tackles and Beccs score under the posts & convert. 12-29
WP restart and are awarded another scrum by the ref, Beccs are now contesting the scrums better, however WP haven’t let this go, remember the match against Bromley? Mike T sends another tremendous kick over the top and again the team leopard is in hot pursuit of its prey, cue David Attenborough voice-over, Maxi S crashes over shoulder to shoulder, which is allowed, to pounce on the antelope/ball for a try, conversion missed. 17-29.
Beccs re-start and a WP kick to halfway, the Beccs line-out is not straight again. The WP scrum works and WP pick & go, we get pinged and there’s a Beccs line-out on half way. A short injury break and a scrum is awarded to Beccs, the first set and the entire pack gets to work, the ball comes back our way, but the referee requests another scrum. Scrum goes yet again, and in the ensuing play the ref awards a pen to WP. Great kick from Dan. The line out doesn’t quite work for WP but Beccs knock on, they know they’ve got a game here, they are 5m away from their line and it’s a WP scrum, they keep asking the ref ‘how long?’. Dan picks from 8 and charges for the line. The move is ‘called’ by Beccs and it takes two or three of their players to stop Dan barely an inch from the line and into touch, with ferocious intervention. The referee blows for full time. 17-29.
Oh, the what if’s and maybes of sport. Your correspondent notes that WP beat the mighty fancied Beccs 10-7 in the second half. That was quite an achievement against a team who in their previous two matches this season against Medway & Old Alleynians have scored a total of 86 and conceded just 12. We showed mental & physical strength at 7-22 half time to only allow them to add 7 more points.
We must acknowledge Beccs as victors, this time, however should we face them again this season then your resident epistolarian would relish the encounter and the chance for sweet revenge!
Harvey A. 1
Harry S. 1
Conversions: Max H 1 from 2. Dan O. 0 from 1.
Max S was awarded Man of the Match by the limping Beccs team Captain.
For the benefit of Mr Brelsford an ‘epistolarian’ is not a drunk librarian.