A deluge of rain fell throughout the afternoon leaving a few of our fair-weather players somewhat hesitant to step out from the warm carpeted shelter of the changing room. What warmed the team’s spirits was knowing we had a full and very capable squad.
After completing a well drilled warm up we knew that the condition would make the challenge set before us so much harder and everyone knew that they must play their part in order to win.
The team got off to a good start, with great defensive discipline earning us the right and the platform to play ball. Dan made light work of drawing two men and popping off a well-timed off load to Euan; who ran a superb support line. Euan dropped the shoulder as he enters the opposing 22, Chris Harris offered an option out wide, however Euan had the confidence and speed to carry the fight on his own and was rewarded with a fine try. Jack stepped up and calmly converted.
We were looking good dealing with Tunbridge’s pressure and forcing a mistake out of them, this mistake was punished with an unmissable penalty, Jack did what was called of him and slotted it over.
The ref was enabling very slow ball to be played by Tunbridge Wells and was hesitant to give the forwards credit for their work rate and disruption. The opposition were able to score and converted, but it was dubious as it looked very short.
If we ever forgot we had a game on our hands, that try ignited that notion! Tunbridge Wells continued to pressurise us in our 22, our defence stayed resilient, the forwards continued to get around the corner. Big Obi, capitalised on a loose ball deep in our own territory and went off, exploring the open field ahead of him. Obi started to slow, and his movement became more destressed,10 yards out, Chris Harris arrives on the scene and clinically scores. Stampy unfaltering converts again.
5 minutes away from half time, the referee’s patience was wearing thin and Sam Wallis picked up a yellow card, defensively we were playing with cohesion and saw out the remainder of the half and the yellow without conceding.
We entered the second half full of purpose and real desire to get the ball through the team’s hands despite the troubling weather, Luke Bailey takes a pass from Euan and sets his eyes on the fresh opposing winger. Luke fakes to the right and back out to the left to spin the winger out of his size 7 Gilberts. Struggling against the acts of gravity after avoiding a tap tackle, Luke strides into the open space and surges to secure a try. From an extremely tight angle, the captain guides the ball through the posts to convert.
Tunbridge Wells were able to respond and secured the next try through a wide outlet.
A moment of great handling from Matt Beaver, passing to Chigo who took the ball high and showed great awareness, to then pop a pass off to Sam Wallis who proved too hot to handle for Tunbridge and crashed into his much-deserved try.
It was good to see a full squad with everyone taking the responsibility to work, to not miss tackles and to cut down the penalty count. The forwards really did give the team the platform to be expansive and creative.
Author – Luke Bailey