Kent Plate Semi-Final day. OCs travelled down to Thanet still licking wounds from their cup defeat against OEs a few weeks back. But there was a quiet confidence among the squad which highlights the strides that have been made this season.
With the clocks going forward, it was a joy to have 16 raring lads ready to play. Connor was welcomed back into the front row and Hayden was making his debut from the bench.
We couldn’t have had a better start when after 5mins of excellent recycling, Zac burst over to open the scoring. Ryan slotted the conversion on a day when his boot was sublime.
This pattern continued for much of the half, with our strong pack making big gains. With Liam grabbing a try from a rolling maul and Louis scoring a classic Louis try, split by a Ryan pen, we went into HT with a healthy 22-0 lead. Game over? Not quite.
The pendulum always swings, and after Charlie saw yellow for a repeated team offence, Thanet started to grow in confidence. Two very quick scores brought the score back to 22-12 and nerves started to kick in….on the sidelines.
The lads regrouped and went on a 5 try rampage through Liam, Louis, Zac, Luke and Jesuuuus. Watching Jesuuuus gallop in from 40metres has to be a highlight!
In fairness to Thanet they never gave up, and with full time looming, grabbed a well-deserved consolation try.
I’ve mentioned the try scorers but it really was a squad game with EVERYONE playing their part. The try scorer is only the final beneficiary of a tackle, a ruck, a pass, support play, from previous phases.
Man of the match could have gone to one of many. The whole pack played amazingly well and I still say there aren’t many packs on the county to compete. Ryan was almost faultless with his boot from the tee and out of hands. Backs defence from James through to Luke and Tom on the wings was exceptional. Always things to work on, but that can wait for another day.
But Harry stood out for us as coaches. He hit his lineout jumper all game – credit to lots of off-field work. He carried continuously and turned over ball. Like I said, the try scorers are the final beneficiaries. Well done Harry.
This takes us through to the Plate Final at Ashford on 15th April vs Medway. We go hunting for silverware. Whatever happens, the boys should be proud.