Sat 20 Jan 2018

Thetford RFC
Bromley RFC

The RFU National cup competitions throw up some intriguing fixtures and thus it was that Bromley travelled to the depths of Norfolk to take on Thetford in the Senior Vase.  Bromley came with a solid looking squad, encouraged by a good travelling support who made their presence known on the touchline.  Unfortunately, conditions were not conducive to flowing rugby, with persistent rain making life difficult for players and supporters alike, but nevertheless two well matched teams served up an entertaining game which could have gone either way.

Thetford enjoyed the better of the first ten minutes and had a couple of penalty chances, the second of which was converted by fly half Will Martin to make it 3-0 after 15 minutes.  Thetford were penalised for being offside almost straightaway and a Steve Pillow penalty levelled the scores.  After about 25 minutes, Bromley took a scrum against the head in the middle of the park and caught Thetford on the back foot.  Freddie Bender nearly made it to the line but was well tackled.  Bromley kept the move going though and Aidan Devane went over for the try, converted by Steve Pillow to make it 3-10.  With Bromley now beginning to assert their authority, a momentary lapse in defence put Thetford right back in the game.  Fly half Will Martin showed the ball and dummied, everyone fell for it and he was able to cut across the field and score near the corner.  He wasn’t able to convert his own effort and regain the lead for Thetford.  Nevertheless, he was able to do so with a penalty a few minutes later, as Callum Hughton was yellow carded for a clumsy but potentially dangerous tackle on the sizeable Thetford second row.  Bromley saw the half out with no further scoring and a score of 11-10 at half time was probably about right.  The Bromley scrum had been solid and the jumpers were putting the Thetford line out under a lot of pressure and nicking ball.  Consequently, there was every reason for Bromley to be positive about the second half.

Unsurprisingly, Thetford started the second half strongly, urged on by a good home support.  Bromley had some serious defending to do but they rode the storm well and Thetford came away after 10 minutes with nothing to add.  Bromley soon found themselves in an attacking position and a good catch and drive from a line out set up a chance for George Scott who nearly made it over the line.  Michael Haisell was on hand and he drove over low and hard to get the touchdown.  Steve Pillow added the extras to make it 11-17.  Bromley suffered a bit of a setback when Tommy Scott was yellow carded for blocking and with the Thetford scrum now beginning to dominate, Bromley again had to some defending to do.  Crucially, they managed to prevent Thetford from scoring during the sin bin period, though Will Martin did have a penalty chance which he missed.

With the game going in to the last ten minutes, things were finely poised with both sets of supporters unsure which way this was going to go.  Thetford were penalised for holding George Scott without the ball and what looked like a simple enough chance for Steve Pillow went wide.  Whilst Thetford were not helping their cause by conceding needless penalties, they got back in the game with another fine individual try, this time for centre Josh Clarke.  The conversion was missed and with that, Thetford’s hopes began to slide.  Bromley responded magnificently with a try from Jonny Griffiths, converted by Steve Pillow to make it 16-24.  There was still time for Thetford to get back into it but Will Martin missed a penalty chance before scrum half Josh Sharpe put one over to make it 19-24.  However, home hopes were dealt a cruel blow as an attack broke down on their 10m line, Alex Griffiths snapped up the loose ball and raced down the touchline, beating the despairing cover to score in the corner and deliver the knockout punch.  Steve Pillow added the extras with an excellent kick to make the final score 19-31.

All in all, this was a full blooded cup game which Bromley deserved to win, though the scoreline perhaps flattered them just a little bit.  Although Thetford had some bulk up front, the Bromley pack had more pace and agility and were able to deliver quick ball for the excellent George Scott to distribute.  Behind the scrum, Bromley looked that bit sharper in possession, though a couple of uncharacteristic lapses in defence let in a couple of soft tries.  So, a job well done for the boys, who will now face one of Old Cranleighans, Portsmouth or Trojans in the regional semi-finals of this competition on 24th February.  All three are riding high In London 3 South West so a tough draw awaits.  In the meantime, Bromley return to league action on Saturday when they play Crawley away, kick off is at 2pm.




Tommy Scott


Freddie Bender


Sean Beckett


Steve Pillow 4C, 1P


Alex Griffiths 1T


Jonny Griffiths 1T


George Scott


Michael Haisell 1T


Callum Hughton


Josh Cross


John Wright


Aidan Devane 1T


Richard Paddick


Tom Standfield


Jake Moore



Nick Formoy


Jonny Leverett


Tom Powell


Joe Simpson