Bank took the field against top-of-the-table Beccehamian on Saturday looking to bounce back from the disappointing result against Sheppey the week before. A healthy crowd had gathered at HQ on Saturday with the sole intention of watching the gallant 1st XV in action (insinuations that a boozy VP's lunch was a bigger draw will not be welcomed).
Although Beccehamian dominated possession from the kick-off, strong defence kept the scores level during the early exchanges. Eventually a lost scrum in midfield caught HSBC off guard and led to a breakthrough for the visitors. Bank, however, struck back with a penalty straight from the restart after a characteristic big tackle from Botha and strong counter-rucking. The game then settled into a pattern with Beccehamian enjoying dominance at the set piece, but with the teams evenly matched elsewhere. A further try from Beccehamian and a second penalty from the immaculate boot of O'Malley made the score 12-6 at half time. Highlights of the first half included O'Malley's strategic cross-field kick, gathered by McBain in his own 22, and Peberdey responding to a request to restrict backchat within his team by launching into his own analysis of the referee's inadequacy.
Bank started the second half strongly, reducing the defect to 12-9. From this point, however, the visitor's domination of possession, aided by increasingly erratic refereeing decisions, began to tell. Having been harshly penalised for a deliberate knock-on, Bank were dealt a huge blow when Pittam was yellow-carded for reckless intent to play rugby. With the cerebral number 8 in the sin bin, Beccehamian scored twice, leaving the final score at 22-9.
There were a number of encouraging aspects of the performance, including man-of-the-match Payne's counter-attacking from full-back. Bank, however, will have to tighten up (particularly at set piece) to challenge the top teams in the league.