Beckenham 29 v 17 London Irish Amateur

Rugby Union London League Two South

A HAPPY but exhausted Sam Howard said after the win against London Irish Amateurs: "We needed the win and we got what we deserved.

"The whole team played well but the forwards were outstanding."

The game opened with Beckenham receiving the kick-off and Irish playing with the advantage of a strong wind.

Despite this Beckenham took the game to the opposition who committed a series of penalty offences at the breakdown which allowed head coach and stand-off Sam Howard, making his debut for Beckenham, to take his first kick in anger.

He made no mistake putting Beckenham 3-0 up.

His team continued to take the game to Irish and scrum-half Ben Wood made one of his trademark breaks when a huge hole opened in front of him at a powerful Beckenham maul.

He made 30m before looking for support but his pass found a defender and the lines were cleared.

London Irish then began to pressure Beckenham but superb defence from forwards and backs alike held the Beckenham line.

Eventually, frustrated by their inability to make the gain line, stand-off Alex Newberry took matters into his own hands and dropped a goal to tie the score at 3-3.

Beckenham immediately took the game back into Irish's half and scored their first try of the game.

The backs, getting good ball from a dominant pack, found Andy Glason who made good ground and offloaded in the tackle to outside centre Alex Morrill who had the easy job of running in under the posts to make the conversion easy for Howard.

The score was now 10-3 and despite playing against the wind looked to have control of the game.

Injuries then began to disrupt Beckenham's back line.

First to leave the field was Glason who was injured while making a try scoring tackle from an excellent move by Irish.

Glason was replaced by Leigh Woodcock who reverted to his preferred position of outside centre with Morrill moving to the wing and Reggie Rayner moving to fullback.

At these enforced changes London Irish took the opportunity to apply some pressure.

They were rewarded with a kickable penalty for offside but this was missed.

Beckenham, however, failed to take the opportunity to clear their lines and Irish were able to maintain the pressure.

Eventually the Irish backs, who looked dangerous with ball in hand, found a route through the Beckenham defence and right winger Steven Caterall scored under the posts to make the conversion for inside centre, Liam Prescott easy.

The half finished with the scores tied at 10-10.

With the wind and the slight slope in their favour Beckenham started the second half with confidence.

Almost immediately Beckenham were 13-10 in the lead as London Irish committed an offence at a maul, following a great chase and take by Rayner, which allowed Howard to move Beckenham into the lead.

This score was followed by a period of good defence from Beckenham as Irish tried to run their way out of their own half.

Paul Roumph, playing in his less-favoured position of second row, reminded everyone he is a loose forward when he made the biggest tackle of the day dumping Prescott metres behind the gain line.

Beckenham were now in the ascendancy amd a combination of superb kicking from Howard and hard running meant most of the play took place in the Irish 22.

In desperate defence London Irish gave away a series of penalties and from two of these Howard moved the scoreboard on to 19-10 in Beckenham's favour.

Despite their pressure Beckenham could not convert pressure into tries and they began to use their substitutes.

First loose head James Cleverley came on for the solid Duncan McGrory who had performed well in his first start this season.

At the next lineout in the Irish 22 the pack executed a good catch and drive and Paul Currie emerged with the ball to power over to score the first of his two tries of the game.

By now the Beckenham forwards were dominant and Pat Markey was added to the fray replacing Morrill, who played superbly all afternoon at centre and winger demonstrating his versatility and total commitment to the Beckenham cause.

This caused a further rearrangement of the team with Roumph and Aylward sharing the responsibility of playing winger for the final minutes of the game.

London Irish had no answer to the power and control of the Beckenham pack.

The next and final try came from a great scrum in the 22, Currie picked up at no. 8 and with support and direction from Jarrad Tipene at blindside was bundled over for his second try.

London Irish, realising they had nothing to lose, began to run from their own 22.

One of these attacks featuring great interpassing took the game to the Beckenham 22.

Once in the 22 at the next breakdown the replacement scrum half spotted a gap around the ruck and broke through to score a consolation try beneath the posts.

This was converted by Prescott to leave the final score 29-17 to Beckenham.

Forwards coach Gwyn Hood said: "The team at last performed as a powerful and cohesive unit and there is no doubt in my mind Sam Howard played a significant part in this."

Captain Simon Dunford said: "I was really pleased with the effort of all the lads and was proud of the team performance.

"The work rate and discipline was excellent. The scrummaging was fantastic and the whole team played with a level of confidence and control which shows we are definitely getting closer to performing to our full potential."

Beckenham are sixth in the table and travel to Wimbledon next week.