The first game of 2022 at the Rectory Field saw Askeans play Old Gravesendians and although suffering a heavy defeat 21- 74, it was a performance full of enterprising rugby and optimism.
The Rectory Field itself was resplendent, ASKEANS and sponsorship signs were on display, blue and white touchline flags fluttered in a mild breeze and Askeans players wore their new JBF Digital sponsored shirts.
Old Gravesendians are a well organised side and quickly got into their stride, scoring a try in the left hand corner following a break from the 10 metre line.
Askeans came back well and a good move from a scrum looked for all the world like a try for
Greenwich University debutant Callum Randall, only to be held up over the line!
Old Gravesendians consistently attacked through phases and Askeans showed great defence and tackling around the fringes and held their own very well in set pieces, especially the scrum.
Askeans’ spirit in defence was typified by 2 crunching tackles in midfield by Nick Patten and Jack Henderson.
The pressure was not relentless but did lead to Old Gravesendians scoring 5 tries before an excellent interception try by Nial Ryan, running in from half way lifted spirits. Callum Randall converted and the half time score was 7 – 29.
The first 10 minutes of the 2nd half were Askeans’ best. They attacked with fluency through several phases, leading to an excellent try in the right-hand corner by Dean Hasemi, again converted by Callum Randall.
For a brief moment at 14 – 29, there was just a chance that Askeans could really get back into the game but Old Gravesendians were ruthless, quickly scoring a succession of tries, facilitated by a ‘Team’ yellow card, taken by Charlie King for consistent high tackling.
Askeans stabilised the situation when Charlie returned and played some more enterprising rugby, leading to an excellent try by Jack Henderson, breaking the defence from the half way line, yet again converted by Callum Randall.
Even though the game finished with Old Gravesendians in the ascendancy, scoring 3 more tries, the spirit and resolve of Askeans were there for all to see, exemplified by an excellent post match huddle!
In these trying times for grass roots rugby, every player should be commended for turning out and special mention goes to Greenwich University player Carlos Gonzalez Vindel, who delayed his trip home to Bristol to play and to our regular Hove ‘Commuter’, Dean Hasemi!
A special mention also to Club Captain Dave O'Connor for leading training during the week - Its impact was evident in the game!
Next game: Saturday 22nd January vs Sheppey (A)
Next game at the Rectory Field; Saturday 29th January vs Whitstable