Back-to-back promotions for Streatham-Croydon
9:48am Monday 26th March 2012 in Other Rugby
Streatham-Croydon clinched their second successive promotion with a convincing 34-12 victory over Economicals at the LSE sports ground on Saturday, writes Ben Alsop.
Playing in bright sunshine, Streatham produced a second-half performance of suitable radiance in defeating Economicals for the second time this season and ensuring that the chasing pack would remain just that.
It has been a recognisable pattern over recent weeks that the newly crowned Surrey Three champions begin matches in an understated fashion only to pull away in the second period amidst a flurry of tries and scoring opportunities; Saturday was no different.
Considering the wonderful rugby playing conditions it is surprising to report that the opening exchanges of the game were disjointed and prone to handling errors.
The home side started well and managed to force mistakes from both Streatham back and forward lines. The latter found it particularly difficult to exert what has been customary dominance at set pieces.
A misfiring line-out and a competitive opposition scrum meant that it was difficult for the league leaders to string together enough phases which would inevitably lead to scoreboard supremacy.
Amidst a spluttering first-half performance there was a moment of unwavering precision from Streatham fly half Rhodri James who controlled the game throughout with a vital calmness.
Following concerted pressure and the inevitable penalty advantage, which seems to arrive with an almost comforting regularity in the modern game, an arching pass missing out three fellow backs was delivered to winger Brown who had the simplest of tasks to touch down.
Further Streatham points had to wait until after the break as the final throws of the first half were punctuated by the home side scoring a fine try of their own. As in previous weeks the margin at half time was slight at best and the very real possibility of looming defeat stung the away side into action.
Gone were the handling errors and set piece disarray of the first period and in its place were strong forward carries and intelligent use of the ball through both hand and boot.
Brown scored a further try in the corner to create daylight between the teams and scrum-half Kai Cassemis capped a man of the match display with a barrelling, relentless drive toward the line.
Whilst Brown scored a quite remarkable 29 points in total through four tries and any number of kicks at goal it was very much a team performance typified by his third try which saw him finish off a move of precision, quick handling and fine support running.
Although Economicals scored a second try before the end there was no mistaking the victors come the final whistle.
With two league matches remaining Streatham are intent on not relinquishing their unbeaten record; it would stand as testament to a side that have made a great many strides forward this season.
Streatham welcome local rivals Mitcham to Frant Road, Thornton Heath on Saturday for their final home match of the season, kick off 3pm. Everyone is welcome down to the club to celebrate the team’s achievements and have a drink in the bar afterwards.