Beaconsfield tough it out
By Chris Summers
Beaconsfield 18, Reading Abbey 17
Beaconsfield travelled to mid-table Reading Abbey, ultimately seizing victory from the proverbial jaws, in a thrilling match in which the lead changed six times.
The first half was hotly contested from the off, and for some time proved to be a fairly fractious, error-strew, unedifying affair, with neither side achieving rhythm or real dominance. BRFC’s famously aggressive defence initially struggled to cope with a well-coached back line, whose centres both blocked a lot of light and had plenty of cunning and go-forward. Abbey opened the scoring after 15 minutes with a well worked backs move. [Unconverted.] Beaconsfield rallied and began to dominate the forward exchanges, clawing their way upfield, with flanker and man-mountain Chris Creak owning the air at the lineouts. Half backs Aled Lewis and Matt Brown exploited the increasing flow of possession, and sustained pressure and ambitious width soon lead to a try for centre Jonny Hughes. [Converted by Aled Lewis.]
Half time score 5-7.
The second half was more of spectacle, with five further scores. Another slow start by the visitors permitted the home side to score shortly after the kick off, the conversion taking them to a 12-7 lead. Only impressive work-rate and heroic defence, in which prop Ben Bayliss, centre Charlie Beard and ultimate Man of the Match, the ubiquitous Chris Creak, were very prominent, prevented further scores. Beaconsfield, following the exhortations of Coach James Cathcart, kept their composure and discipline, while their hosts’ gradually deteriorated, and Aled Lewis calmly converted two penalties to reclaim the lead, at 12-13.
With the large and knowledgeable crowd on the edge of their collective metaphorical seats, the last 20 minutes seemed to last forever. A total of six yellow cards were awarded in the match, two apiece in this period, with the sides effectively playing rugby league for a brief period whilst both down to 13 men. The extra space afforded opportunities, with Abbey exploited better initially, scoring an excellent forwards’ try to reclaim the lead at 17 – 13.
With the light dimming, the clock running down, and BRFC restored to full strength, the visiting pack launched a tsunami of attacks on the Abbey try-line, gaining ground inch by inch against resolute home defence, and winning penalty after penalty. Finally, the pressure paid off, with a short ball popped to prolific winger Dan Cady to squeeze in by the corner flag for what proved to be the final, winning, score.
Beaconsfield now sit second in the league, just behind Buckingham, and look forward to welcoming Aylesbury [in fourth place] on the 25th.