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Gravesend 99-0 Beckenham
On the day that the club celebrated its Black and White colours, that they have been wearing for over 130 years, and in front of their sponsors, Gsss put on a scintillating display as they ran in fourteen tries, thirteen of which were converted by scrum-half Miki Zanirato, who also added a penalty and a try for his massive 34 point tally.
Gravesend coach, Malcolm Moaby, after the game, applauded the Gravesend players' fine performance, but also paid tribute to the Beckenham XV who stuck to their task, despite being overwhelmed in front of near 400 spectators.
From the kick-off, Gs immediately had their visitors under pressure and it was the speed and slight of hand that enabled fly-half and fellow Italian Matt Bressons to open Gs account as he touched down between the uprights.
Before the clock had moved past the six minute mark, he had crossed the line again, and Zanirato added his second kick for the extras and on eight minutes had slotted over a penalty.
Some expansive running rugby saw the bonus point try added within the first sixteen minutes, as first Gary Gray, playing at the twelve position touched down the first of what would be a quartet before the play had finished, and Junior Rocket, having been close earlier, scoring out wide, the first of his three during the afternoon.
Before the first quarter had been played, Zanirato's conversions had brought the score to 31-0, as Beckenham's only chance came from an unsuccessful goal attempt by Joe Simpson.
With Gravesend's jumpers working well on both their own and the opposition ball, it was the supply off the top from James Newman, Tom Bird and Remus Necular, that gave the opportunity for the half-backs to set the three-quarters on their constant raids.
The penalty count against the home XV was yet again higher than it should be, and it was inevitable that someone would be binned, and it was the luckless Chris Meddings that saw yellow after twenty-four minutes.
This man short caused a stutter in the home advances, and Beckenham, led in the forwards by their number eight, Pete Thorne, coupled with some well placed kicks from their ten, Simpson, that kept Gs back in their own territory.
Back to full strength six minutes of the first half to play, it was full-back Temi Okenla, who's change of pace and direction left the defence bewildered as he crossed for the fifth try, then on forty-minutes Gray finished off a fine passing display to cross wide for his second.
Zanirato added the two conversions to put the score-line at 45-0 at the interval.
Although the scores continued to rise, Beckenham competed throughout, and the Gravesend forwards had to work for their possession, and it was their tremendous defensive prowess that blocked out any hope of the visitors getting on the board.
The offloads and back-up of Bressons at fly half often goes unmentioned, his making of the extra pair of hands and awareness of the gaps made space for others to chase in for the try.
Gary Gray added another dimension as a second play maker at twelve, and the consistent service from Zanirato ensured this game was a delight for the huge assembly of spectators.
As happened last week at Cobham, there was a try coming every five minutes as first Rocket touched down after a fine run along the wing for his second before Gray showed fine individual ability as he cut through making his own space for his third of the afternoon.
When it looked like one of the forwards was about to make the line, as James (Wabbler) Newman made a dash down the outside, he was cut down short of the line, Zanirato, always close to the breakdown, seized his opportunity to get on the try list.
Rocket crossed for his third try after brushing off the attentions of the visitors defence, then it was Marc Klus who stormed through for another of his copy-book touch downs.
The last quarter saw Gs ring the changes, to give well earned rest to veteran forwards, Jamie Forsyth and Ziggy Stevens, who had both made yet another major contribution to the Gravesend game. Ross Comfort and Sox Stevens took to the park, and the momentum continued.
More slick passing amongst the backs and it was inevitable that when the ball reached Okenla, his initial pace and then the after-burners ensured he would get his second try and Gravesnd's twelfth.
The pairing of Gray with Chris Meddings in the centre of the park had paid dividends all afternoon as it was the strong running of the latter that drew and tied in the visitors defence.
It was fitting that Meddings finally got his name on the score-sheet before Gray finished off his quartet, Zanirato added all but one of these conversions to the second half eight tries, bringing the final tally to 99-0.
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