Gillingham Anchorians v Crawley London & SE Division – Level 9 Play-off, 15:00 13th April 2019

Anchorians capped a fine season with victory at home against Sussex League 1 runners-up, Crawley, to earn promotion to London 3 South East next season. The game was a tight affair with both sides making handling mistakes which saw a number of try scoring chances go begging. Crawley looked lively early on but Anchs pack dominated throughout particularly in the scrums. Anchs opened the scoring with a Jordan Mitchell penalty, but Crawley scored the first try of the game with a long diagonal run ending up with a score in the corner.

Jordan Mitchell added a second penalty, but it was not until just before half time that Anchs added to their total when Kenton Parbutt took the ball at pace on an angled run to crash through the defence and score under the posts. The try was converted by Jordan Mitchell to give Anchs a 13 – 5 lead at half time.

Early in the second half Anchs extended their lead when a fine run down the right wing saw Tom Williams outpace the defence and cross in the corner, while Adam Davison lay prone in midfield after he had been late tackled when setting up the try.

Not to be outdone Crawley hit back, and following a long period on attack, they finally broke through the Anchs defence with a break in midfield and went over under the posts for a converted try.

Jordan Mitchell capped another strong performance with his first try for the club from short range and although he missed the conversion it put Anchs into a more comfortable 23 – 12 lead. As the visitors looked to get back in the game and Anchs looked to protect their lead, a number of mistakes punctuated the game. With time running out Crawley reduce the lead with another try under the posts but this signaled the end of the match and relief for the large crowd of home supporters.

The victory sees Anchs return to London 3 South East next season and is just reward for an excellent season.

 

By Ian Brenton

 

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