Anchs travelled to South East London on a cold, but fine winter’s day to face Royal Bank of Scotland (“RBS”) in their mid-season Kent 1 league match.
From early in the match, it looked like Anchs were the better organised side that should prevail against their lower ranked opponents. However, after a lively start by the visitors, the match was played mainly between the two 22m lines.
Dan Perry opened the scoring, showing his strength by breaking through three tackles to crash over for an unconverted try. While Anchs were winning ball at the breakdown, the supply to the backs was quite slow, which restricted the running ability of the Anchs backs. Player-coach Dom Saunders decided to kick wide and Jon Mann was able to reach the ball ahead of the RBS defenders, kick ahead and the ball popped up conveniently for him to gather and cross the line for a try, duly converted by Dom Saunders.
Jon Mann soon added to his tally after a dummy opened the space for him to break away and score under the posts for another converted try.
RBS hit back with a period of attack, led by their exceptional open side flanker who, although on the weaker side, put in a man-of-the-match performance.
With Anchs' defence holding out to preserve their 19 – 0 lead at half-time, the teams turned around, and RBS continued to dominate from the kick-off. However, their heavy pack was very slow around the pitch and Anchs took advantage; from a penalty on the left side of halfway, they took a scrum, fed the ball to the backs, setting up Jon Mann who outpaced the defence to record his third try, which was converted from out wide by Dom Saunders.
Having secured the win and obtained a 4-try bonus point, it seemed quite possible that Anchs would run away with the game, but RBS continued to compete and a short lineout to their huge prop was fed back to the hooker who crashed over in the corner to open the home side’s account, and after the conversion was missed to leave the score at 26 – 5.
Steve Franks came on at scrum half for Anchs and although this helped the supply of ball to the backs, they were unable to take advantage, despite good breaks by Kenton Parbutt, who had the ball stripped after crossing the RBS line, and Tom Williams.
Joe Ryan came on for Alfie Luckhurst for his debut, but Anchs were unable to add to their total and the game degenerated into a scrappy affair that saw Anchs defending under their own posts for a long period towards the end of the game. During this period, although Anchs managed to keep their line intact, they lost Jon Mann and Dom Saunders to yellow cards.
It was a disappointing end to a game. Anchs finished with 5 league points, but must look to improve both their decision making and discipline if they are to prevail in the league this season. They should, however, take comfort from the fact that they sit in second place without really playing to their potential.
Updated 08:20 - 27 Nov 2017 by Nigel Fray