A good bunch of lads
By Jonathan Coleman
Fives produce a top team performance to grab a big win
The sun set over the campground, shredding the sky with vivid pinks, reds and blues. Sergeant Whitney straightened his shako.
"They're a good bunch of lads, Corporal. Cliftonville are a worthy foe, but they're a good bunch of lads. A good bunch."
"Must you go, Sarge?" Joni asked, tremulously.
"I must - 'king Paddy [King Paddy, shurely? - Ed] calls for reinforcements in his invasion of Canterbury - I am his only hope. They're a good bunch of lads..."
How right he was! The unfamiliar afternoon slot saw the Five face St Lawrence's College U18s Cliftonville in a match brought to you by the letter "S". Cliftonville had a side packed with skillful, speedy young players - but BEHC followed stand-in captain Joni's instructions to the letter, producing strong, swift passes to sticks, holding their structure and setting up well on both sides' 16s.
By half-time the Fives were two up. The first came from swiftness: a quickly-taken sideline from Joni finding Zac, whose touch into the area was followed by a powerful effort, deflected (totally deliberately...) into the net off the handle of Max's stick. The second was pure skill, a flowing passing move from deep left through Cam, Max and Rich to Andy at the baseline, whose pull-back found a diving Rich and a placed effort into the goal.
The second half was much of the same, with Cliftonville's potent threat consistently repelled by solid defense across the team, particularly from Dan Tye at right half, who exemplified everything the Fives did right to earn a deserved Player of the Match award. Zac put the icing on the cake late on, finding space in the D and lashing a first-time shot into the backboard.
A fantastic team performance, grabbing a solid win against what was in truth a very good opposition side. The Fives push for fourth (and revenge against their Canterbury nemesis) continues next week when they visit the aptly-named Gravesham Rugby Club.
Umpires: A well-behaved match was managed very well by a customarily solid performance from Mike Earnshaw and an excellent debut from James Kelly, who may not know what he's let himself in for...