Hove v Beckenham (H)
By Cameron Robertson
Hove lose exciting match against Beckenham
Hove had earlier in the season edged out Beckenham in the return fixture thanks to a heroic defensive effort and the reliable boot of Carles Casanova Galindo. Injuries and player unavailability had disrupted Hove in 2017 and they were still looking for their first win.
The weather was perfect and Hove’s pitch looked in fantastic condition for mid-February, something which could not have been said in seasons gone by.
Hove kicked off and captain Whiting challenged well in the air to force a Beckenham knock on and give Hove good field position in which to attack. Declan Peake found Morgan Griffin in the lineout and Martin Macdonald trucked up well in midfield. Hove carried well round the corner, but were eventually turned over in the wider channels. Martin Macdonald pulled up a few minutes later with a hamstring injury therefore making way for the returning Ryan Morlen.
A long range Carles Casanova Galindo penalty drifted wide before Hove got the first points on the board. Great hands from Declan Peake found Ian Saunders on his shoulder and after a good clear at the ruck, the ball was moved wide to Ryan Morlen who showed good strength in contact to go over. Galindo pushed the conversion wide; 5-0.
Hove at times were probably too guilty of trying to move the ball wide too early and Beckenham defended this threat resolutely to nullify Hove’s backs. Beckenham did get a score themselves as a couple of weak tackles allowed the second row to gallop in. The conversion was missed to tie the scores up at 5 apiece. The rest of the first half was played between the two 22’s with both sides defending well and forcing the errors. Beckenham lost a man to the sin bin just before the half, but Hove failed to capitalise.
With most of the possession Hove were on top, but failed to turn this into points. The second half couldn’t have started worse for the home side as some weak tackling allowed Beckenham to get behind the Hove defensive line and the ball was moved wide for an easy run in. Conversion missed; 5-10.
With one came another for the away side as miscommunication in the Hove defensive line allowed Beckenham to get on the outside and a simple two on one allowed the winger to go in. The conversion was again missed; 5-15.
After this slump, Hove began to lift the tempo and backs and forwards combined well to move deep into Beckenham territory, with only solid defence keeping the home side at bay. Hove were camped inside the Beckenham 22 and as Hove looked to move the ball wide, the Beckenham 9 read the pass and latched onto it to sprint 80m under the posts. The conversion was successful and Hove trailed 5-22.
This was the turning point of the game and you could see the Hove heads drop after so much sustained pressure.
Hove did get a try back as Sam Whiting straightened the line well and showed a good fend to go in just to the right of the posts. Conversion successful by Carles Casanova Galindo; 12-22.
With the Beckenham forwards visibly tiring, Hove again looked to raise the tempo. A huge hit from Morgan Griffin in midfield gave Hove an added boost, however the Beckenham defence held firm.
A much better performance from Hove, however the wait for a first win of 2017 still goes on. Hove have a week break before heading to Bromley on 4th of March.
Hove: Peake, Knott, Shergold , Saunders, Chief, Buckland, Ward, Griffin, Biggs, Galindo, Bath, Dugard, Macdonald, Garrish, Whiting © Subs: Wallace, Robertson and Morlen.