Basildon First XV Lose To Millwall 1st XV
79 point game leaves some questions to be answered.
Basildon RFC travelled to newly promoted Millwall RFC on Saturday for a London NE League Division 3 Essex encounter, which we believe was the first time these two sides had ever met. Basildon gave debuts to new signing Openside Kevin Reed and Second Row Forward Bradley Day. Top points scorer for Basildon this year, Sam Ridley was not available for the match, nor was stalwart, tighthead prop Taylor Bramley. The weather was warm for the time of year, overcast with a southerly breeze. The pitch condition was very firm and the referee was from London Society.
This game started at a frenetic pace with the bigger Basildon pack pressing hard into the Millwall 22. A defensive kick to nothing to try and ease the pressure fell very kindly for the chasing Millwall winger, a 15ft sideways bounce fell straight into his hand whereby he sprinted away for the first score of the game, it was converted. This set the tone for the first half with neither side really taking control and both sides able to score at will should they desire to do so. From the resulting kick-off, Basildon found themselves again deep in the Millwall 22, a scrum for a knock on led to a tremendous drive which the Millwall pack could only collapse. The resulting penalty kicked to touch, the catch and drive by the big Basildon pack was collapsed again and again before the referee finally gave way to award a penalty Try.
Millwall came back strongly from the restart and with some good movement by their three-quarters, they managed to find space and their inside centre scored, which was converted by their very accomplished Fly Half. But yet again Basildon came back from the kickoff, and with the Millwall line offside at the ruck, the resulting penalty was slotted over by Basildon fullback Brad Johnson. Millwall came back hard from the kickoff, which was taken by Basildon Captain Jim Harman who, challenged in the air, fell awkwardly, twisted his knee and ankle and played no further part in the game, a big loss to the Basildon side. It was now down to the hard-hitting centre pairing of Long & Beach, who made the Millwall midfield work hard to retain the ball, one such tackle by Long resulted in a knock on, missed by the referee, the knock-on was gobbled up by the Millwall winger who then ran wide and scored again, the try converted. Elliott Keefe came on for Jim Harman and the Basildon pack resolved itself to get back into the game, pushing the Millwall pack deep again into their own 22, a scrum led to Basildon scrum-half, Danny Rowley running blindside, drawing the defending fullback to put U18 winger Danny Barnes over for his first First XV try. The try was unconverted. New signing Lee Amman was yellow carded for a no-arm tackle on the 38th minute to leave Basildon with 14 men for the start of the second half.
Half time score was Millwall RFC 28-15 Basildon RFC
Basildon started the second half brightly, more than matching the Millwall pack at ruck and maul, quick ball to stand in standoff Jon Bonnett allowed him the space to run a set move with Centre Brad Long drawing the cover defence, he ran wide, through the gap to feed outside Centre Aaron Beach to score between the posts, the try was converted by Brad Johnson. But any hope of the Basildon forwards trying to take command in the game was soon dashed as the solid Millwall pack began to break down the Basildon pack at the scrum. With Basildon already missing key tight head Taylor Bramley and with front row specialist and Captain Jim Harman off the field, the Basildon front five slowly began to lose the contest. Millwall sensed this acquiescence and pressed for victory. Two quick converted tries soon followed for Millwall RFC, yet in open play this new look Basildon side still more than matched Millwall, again a poor kick was taken by fullback Brad Johnson who went on a mazy run, jinked right and stepped the covering fullback to score an excellent solo try, he then missed the conversion. Basildon again pushed hard to the Millwall try line, an easy 3 point penalty kick declined, acting skipper Jon Berry took the line out about 10 m outside the Millwall try line and with a good line out ball to Brad Day, the drive formed, the pack then drove the ball over for a fine score, again the try was unconverted.
Millwall had the last say in this game, with a calamity unconverted try at the death to complete their victory.
Final score Millwall RFC 47 - 32 Basildon RFC.
Basildon takes consolation of a penalty try and four other very well executed tries to gain a bonus point from the game, they play Upminster RFC at The Onion Bowl next week in another London NE Division 3 Essex League match. Kick off is at 2.30pm.