Second-half blitz sees 14-man ‘Borough open with defeat

Pulborough v Thanet rugby. Pic Steve Robards  SR1634361 SUS-161120-154828001
Pulborough v Thanet rugby. Pic Steve Robards SR1634361 SUS-161120-154828001

A second-half blitz from Beckenham saw promoted Pulborough suffer a heavy defeat in a difficult opening day in London 2 South East.

The away side put in an impressive first 40 minutes against their established hosts, before being hit by injury problems.

Having trailed just 12-3 at half-time they were forced to play almost the entire second half with 14 men and eventually succumbed to a 48-3 reverse in their first ever game at this level.

‘Borough captain Simon Burfiend was upbeat despite the defeat and said: “It was a tough start to the season, with a few of the squad away for various reasons, or waiting to come back from injury it was a tough weekend, but as a club we managed to field three sides which is more than can be said for some teams in Sussex.

“A lot was taken from Saturday’s game. The first half shows that we can definitely compete with one of the top teams in this league, however we need to be smarter with how we play as teams are quick to punish you in this league.

“The second half obviously didn’t go to plan, however, with 14 men and players significantly out of position the boys put in a strong shift.

“That is encouraging as there is significant room for improvement with personnel and numbers across the club for this weekend which can only strengthen the side.”

The initial exchanges were fairly even, with Beckenham having the majority of possession, and when ‘Borough regained possession through some hard-fought forwards work the decision making was not always right.

Beckenham scored a couple of tries from open play which were well finished, but often resulting from poor choices in attack by ‘Borough.

The Pulborough scrum was solid on its own ball with James Ruff and Roland Dicks fairing well against the sizeable Beckenham props.

Frazer Oliphant-Hope slotted Pulborough’s first points of the season with a lovely penalty from out wide. But Eddy Miller, who was making his league debut, had to leave the field with a nasty looking dislocated shoulder.

Pulborough did come close to a try from short-range when Keith Chenoweth found himself with half gap to power through, but he came just short off the line and Matt Goring spilled the pass as he crossed.

At half-time, Pulborough replaced the injured Goring with Jack Leddra, only to see him come off a couple of minutes later after clashing heads with Bullock and losing a tooth - something that ultimately led to an operation as he had cracked his jaw.

This left Pulborough with 14 men and two forwards on the wings. At this stage, Beckenham began to show their clinical edge, finishing off some well-worked tries.

Pulborough continued to rally with new signing from Worthing Harry Short leading the way from number eight.

As the mother of all downpours came in the floodgates really did begin to open with Beckenham using the one-man advantage very well and running in a comfortable 48-3 win.

Pulborough host Hove on Saturday with the club excited to try and replicate their successful home form of last season at Freelands.

Pulborough: Dicks, G.Oliphant-Hope, Ruff, Caddick, Goring, Chenoweth, Mcloughlin, Short, Paige, F.Oliphant-Hope, Beesley, Burfiend, B.Miller, E.Miller, Lee. Subs: Leddra, Bullock.