Gillingham Anchorians v Bromley London & SE Division – London 3 South East, 14:30 22nd Feb 2020

Anchs faced a difficult match at home to Bromley, made more difficult after playing three quarters of the game with 14 men, but put in an excellent performance to come away with a well-deserved bonus point.

The game started well for Anchs, playing with a strong wind behind them, when Neil Alexander broke the line and fed Dan Powley on the wing, who raced over for a try which was converted by Brad Ford.

The visitors soon hit back and quick handling saw them open their account with a try in the corner which went unconverted. Bromley were looking lively in attack and Anchs conceded a number of penalties at the breakdown, which resulted in Neil Alexander being shown a yellow card. Following a kick to the corner, Bromley won the lineout and drove over for their second try which again went unconverted. Despite the visitors winning the majority of the ball, when Anchs went on attack they were awarded a penalty in front of the posts which Brad Ford converted to bring the scores level at 10 all.

Anchs were using their kicking game effectively to keep the pressure on Bromley, but the visitors were able to quickly turn defence into attack and were rewarded with their third try which was converted to give them a 10 – 17 lead. Things then made the already daunting task of overcoming a strong Bromley side even more difficult when Neil Alexander was inexplicably shown a second yellow card, meaning Anchs had to play the remainder of the half and the whole second half against the elements with 14 men.

However, Anchs had a good period of possession and following a string of penalties Bromley were also shown a yellow card and Brad Ford converted the resultant penalty to reduce Bromley’s lead to 4 points. The score remained at 13 – 17 until half time, which eventually came after more than 50 minutes due to a number of stoppages throughout the half.

Knowing they faced a difficult second 40 minutes, Anchs started well against the wind and seemed to be on the right side of the referee’s decisions. The Anchs forwards started to take the game to Bromley with Chris Everest playing well in his return to the side, and were being directed expertly by Ollie Dawes who had an excellent game in only his second start at scrum half.

With Bromley again reduced to 14 men after receiving another yellow card, Anchs almost took the lead but were held up over the line on two occasions. Anchs did however retake the lead when Adam Davison went over in the tackle following a 5m scrum, but the conversion was missed leaving Anchs with a slender one point lead.

Bromley hit back immediately from the restart when they were awarded a penalty in front of the Anchs posts which they converted to give them an 18 – 20 lead. Anchs then missed a penalty opportunity to retake the lead and the game looked to be lost when Bromley handled well and finished with an inside pass to score a converted bonus-point try under the posts.

However, Anchs showed some real character and again took the game to Bromley with Adam Davison, captain Mark Barfoot and Tom Williams all prominent in attack. As full time approached Anchs were rewarded for their efforts when Alfie Luckhurst, who had come on at prop for Joe Granger, crashed over from short range for a try which gained Anchs an invaluable bonus point which could prove very important as Anchs look to avoid the relegation zone.

Despite losing the match, Anchs will take some confidence from their performance against a strong side. They next travel to Old Dunstonians looking to pick up more league points before a two week break.

 

By Ian Brenton

 

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