Anchs welcomed Kent 1 winners, Old Beccehamians (“Beccs”), to Darland Avenue for the final league game of the season. With the pitch looking perfectly suited to running rugby, on a superb spring day, Beccs’ young, well organised side immediately showed why they were already Kent 1 champions, running in two early unconverted tries for a 10 – 0 lead.
Once Anchs got into the game, they hit back when Taylor Parbutt chased a chip by Dominic Saunders and beat the defence to the touch down. With the conversion missed, Anchs continued to fight back and were rewarded with a break by Kenton Parbutt, who fed Adam Davison to score under the posts. Jake Gurney added the conversion, to give Anchs an unlikely 12 – 10 lead.
Teams are often vulnerable just after scoring, and Anchs demonstrated this by losing the ball from the kick-off and Beccs went under the posts for a soft try, which immediately restored their lead. The problem for Anchs was compounded when prop Simon Staunton was shown a red card for a high tackle. Beccs took advantage of the extra man when they extended their lead just before half time with another good handling movement by their backs.
Trailing 12 – 24 at half time the odds were stacked against Anchs but they continued to attack and captain Mark Barfoot, leading from the front, broke a number of tackles to score a try, duly converted by Dominic Saunders, to reduce the deficit to 5 points. Anchs could have gone ahead when Adam Davison fed Tom Howlett on the outside but with the line beckoning the referee called play back for a forward pass. The game was no longer flowing, with a number of stoppages, which resulted in two yellow cards for Beccs, allowing Anchs to take the game to the visitors. Having been camped on the Beccs line, eventually Kenton Parbutt crashed over for a try converted by Dom Saunders to put Anchs back in the lead.
Trailing by 2 points Beccs were awarded a penalty which they kicked to give them back the lead. As play moved back into the Beccs’ half, Anchs were awarded a penalty, which was missed, but were fortunate to be given a second chance from virtually the same spot. This time, Dom Saunders added the three points to put Anchs back ahead by 2 points.
With victory in sight, the game continued well past the normal 40 minutes and Beccs were given a final, kickable penalty which they converted right on full time. On the final whistle confusion reigned when the referee decided Anchs had actually won, but after some discussion, the score was confirmed as a 29 – 30 victory for Beccs.
Anchs had put up a fine performance in their final league game of the season against the runaway winners ,which augurs well for the final cup game of the season and for a good 2018/2019 season in Kent 1, if the bulk of the team can stay together.