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MATCH REPORT: TWRFC 1XV (12) v BEDFORD ATHLETIC 1XV (10)

Match Reporter: Stuart Montgomery

This fixture completed the first half of the season whereby Bedford had only lost 1 previous home game and Tunbridge Wells could claim to having only conceded 79 points away from home all season – this was going to be a close game. Playing on an artificial grass pitch under lights is a great home advantage and leads to a game played at pace and we weren’t disappointed.

Tunbridge Wells started very well and took the game to Bedford in the opening exchanges and a loose clearance kick from Bedford found Mike Doherty on half way who scythed through the first line of defence and angled back towards the touchline to outpace the remaining defence. George Montgomery converting to make it 0-7.

Bedford were playing an open game and much of the first half saw multiple phases before Tunbridge Wells forced handling errors by patient but aggressive defence, especially in the 10-12-13 channels. It was from a TW scrum on the 40 metre line that was won but was deemed to have been collapsed to give Beford their first points of the game from a goal penalty. TW bounced back and after 3 or 4 good phases out to the right, recycled and taken wide with the extra hands of Brockman putting Mylo Vanner-Mackew in at the left corner – conversion narrowly missed but extended the lead to 3-12 which was taken to half time. Josh Brockman had to retire with an ankle injury and was replaced by Tom Waghorne. Matt Spicer was yellow carded for a side entry at a maul.

The second half saw TW again start well but a little inaccuracy saw mistakes at line out and breakdown and there were no further rewards. Bedford launched a sustained period of attack and TW defence was tested for c15 minutes and just holding out by a couple of strong ‘last ditch’ tackles by the back row and centres. It didn’t seem long with Matt back from the yellow card before Jono Hinton was carded for a high tackle. TW had some injuries and the team shuffled around (Ben Day and Stu Nicholls coming off the bench) but managed to keep their shape to create 2 half chances which were ended by crossing and a knock on wide out on the right wing following a kick into space. Bedford finally managed to cross the line on c70 minutes after multiple phases, this was duly converted to make the score 10-12. The last 10 minutes was a tight affair and neither side took a backward step and the home crowd were expecting the victory. Into the last minute of the game saw a TW knock on 40 metres from the line and the scrummage was to be the last play. A fantastic scrum from the tight 5 saw the Bedford front row stand up and the penalty, along with game, went to TW.

Both sides wanted to play rugby and on a different day the score could have been many more points across the board. It is most certainly a different game on an AGP and this should be good preparation for the second half of the season where we travel to the other opponents with a similar set up. 

At the halfway point we remain in 4th place and with a closely fought league no game can be taken for granted.                                

MATCH REPORT: Tunbridge Wells 1XV (24) vs Harpenden RFC (12)

Match Reporter: Tim McCabe

The players lined up to pause and reflect for two-minutes. The observed silence, is then awoken by the proficient Conor Boyle’s shrill blast on the whistle. The game gets underway, Wells kick off facing the clubhouse with a steady breeze behind their backs.

It’s a very close game, with much to and fro. After 13 minutes in, Harpenden are awarded a penalty for Wells not releasing. This results in five minutes of persistent pressure, but Wells defence is resolute. Eventually Wells then clear their lines, and the tables are turned, with a quarter of the match now played.

Thirty-one minutes in, a massive kick from Ed Shepherdson, showing versatility on the wing, lands 5 meters out. The line out is caught by Wells, mauled and expertly driven over the line and touchdown by the Wells blind side, Jono Hinton.  

The kick is not converted. Wells lead 5-0.

The next 9 minutes sees Harpenden banging at Tunbridge Wells’ door, but it’s bolted shut and their defence is solid. Eventually, after several Harpenden penalties, Wells managed to get one of their own, and boot the ball out for a well-earned half time rest. Score still 5-0.

Second half starts with colossal pressure from Harpenden, eventually their 11 goes over and dots down in the left-hand corner. Score 5-5 after conversion goes wide.

Wells start, with great pressure from the off and quick tap penalty from George Montgomery, followed by a line out. The ball is caught, driven and again Wells go over for the five points, with the totemic Toby Talbot getting a well-deserved team try.

Monty kicks the two, score is now 12-5

The game restarts and pretty soon Wells are back on the front foot. They enter the opposition 22, with a nice switch play from left to right and a try lands curtesy of Tom Waghorne. George Montgomery again converts the two, it’s now 19-5

Wells now on the march receive a penalty as Harpenden’s 11 is penalised for ‘coming off his feet’. They opt for a kick to the line, and with a clean catch, get a rolling maul over the whitewash. Jono Hinton dots down for his brace and Wells pull ahead, 24-5, with the conversion missed.

With 15 minutes left of the match, Harpenden provide some never say die attitude and their beefy 6 finally crosses the line. With the conversion kick sailing over, the score is sealed at 24-12

Harpenden now feel they are in the game, and turn up the heat, but again strong tackling from the whole team keeps them at bay. Nick Doherty, deservedly picking up the Man of the Match award from Chapel Down Group, for his efforts. Always leading from the front.

With the light now fading Harpenden still on the attack, but it’s proving increasingly unlikely that they will close the 12-point gap.

The last play of the game, sees Wells kick the ball out from their scrum. Another great day at the office and Wells move up to 4th position in the Regional 1 South East division.

MATCH REPORT: TWRFC 1XV (28) V COLCHESTER RFC 1XV (24)

Match reporter: Tim McCabe

A large crowd at St Marks were looking forward to this mid table clash against Colchester, who were only just sitting above Tunbridge Wells. It was a lovely mild and sunny afternoon. Perfect conditions for our splendid sport!

The Game kicked off with Tunbridge Wells facing the club house end. And within minutes, were slotting 3 points courtesy of the boot of George ‘Monty’ Montgomery, who was to have a major, positive impact across the whole game. 

Colchester immediately responded and within minutes of arriving into the Wells half, Sam Butler, the opposition hooker, touched down. At this point both teams knew they were in a game! Score now 3-5 as the conversion went wide. 

Wells replied with a neat kick from ‘Monty’ threaded through the oncoming defence. The ball perked up neatly and nestled into the hands of the nifty winger, Jack Smith and again Monty’s boot added the two – 10-5.

The match seemed very well balanced and incredibly entertaining. Wells seemed to have the upper hand at this stage and 20 minutes in, arrived at the opposition 22 for a another scrum. It’s fair to say the Colchester pack had the nudge at scrum time. Nail biting stuff.

Sustained pressure from Colchester began to take its toll on the tired Wells defence, the talented 7, Dan Whiteman, (previous club captain) bundled over for the 5. They didn’t make the conversion, so 10-10.

The game restarted and Monty’s boot was still proving to be useful. The home crowed were loving the strong running in midfield. Unfortunately the ball was turned over. Colchester took control and the super speedy 14, Conner O’Reilly, utilised his slippery skills and managed to break two tackles. Colchester were about to score coming towards the end of the first half, Wells needed to hold out.

Finally the pressure was too much and the opposition scored a try. Jimmy Malpaine dotted down. With the conversion – 10-17 is now the score line.

Wells were now in attack, with the sun on their backs and kicked down to the 22. Wells won the line out, the pill was chipped over, Ed Shepherdson at 15 was trying to run through the middle, with a beautiful delay on the pass the Wells wizard, Mylo Vanner-Mackew, cut through and stuck his five points underneath the posts.  Monty nailed the conversion and the first half ended, honours even. Score 17-17.

 Some of the crowed ran for well needed refreshments, the teams chatted and then it was back for the second half. Nerves were jangling!

 Play started, then broke down with an injury on the wing. The game resumed and with some decent open play from the Wells team , the ball was spun out wide and Wells scored in the corner through Mike Doherty. The conversion unfortunately hit the upright and bounced away so the score was now 22-17

The match was going backwards and forwards in middle ground territory. Josh Brockman, at openside, returning to the team, was being a proper nuisance.  However 15 minutes in, a decent kick into the 22, saw the Colchester army on the attack.  

Too much time spent was now being spent in the Well’s 22. Pressure was immense. Wells took some light relief, received a scrum, as the opposition spilled the pill, and cleared their lines with a clean kick to touch. But not for long, as the ball was grubbed through. And the speedy Malpaine took the chance from a Wells fumble, and easily glided through and put the ball down. With conversion, the opposition were now up by 2 points – score 22-24

It was now Well’s turn to fight back. Unfortunately their ball was turned over for holding on. And the pattern of the game was starting to ebb and slow. Wells needed possession if they were going to win.

There were a succession of penalties to Wells with the second penalty awarded in kicking range and dispatched. Again Monty providing the shot.

Wells now ahead, score 25-24.

With the clock running down, O’Brien at tight head saw yellow with a high shot, rendering the scrum to uncontested as Wells needed to go down to 13 players. They won their ball and charged down to the opposition 22. They then received a penalty for foul play and Monty moves the score line to 28-24.

Colchester still had time and threw the sink at the mighty Wells. They received a penalty and kicked for touch. It was all getting a little bit nail-biting!

Amazingly a Brockman turnover helped ease the nerves, and Monty tried for a drop goal. The Wells defence held strong and rebuffed the final Colchester charge. The ball was turned over, kicked out and the crowd cheered. You will not see a better, closer contested game, ever.

The players shook hands and Wells look forward to continuing their winning streak. A great game played by two excellent sides. It was a pleasure to host Colchester.

Next week sees the TWRFC 1st XV travel to Tring RFC. All travelling support welcomed!

U9 Travel to Chipstead RFC Festival

Chipstead RFC welcomed teams from all mini age groups for their annual festival on a sunshine filled morning last Sunday. Joining the fun were two squads from our U9s in their first series of contact games. In between lots of tries, pizza, superb tackling and end to end rugby, the kids showed great determination, teamwork and commitment to make TWRFC proud. Thanks to all the coaches and parent support for making it a great day! 

2XV MATCH REPORT: TWRFC 2XV (27) v Old Colfeians RFC 2XV (7)

Match Reporter: Fran Colangelo

A sunny day in South East London saw 15 players put on the blue and white for Wells 2s hoping to continue their fine start to the season

It was great to see the return of Charlie Rigby from injury playing at 10 to accommodate a backs reshuffle. It looked a strong side again against what looked like an equally strong and big Colfes side.

Colfes kicked off and Wells failed to collect resulting in the first of many penalties. Early Colfes pressure looked certain to get points on the board but Wells defence held firm and at the first opportunity Wells found space and the ball went from wing to wing before Max Douch scored in the corner for a 0-5 lead.

Colfes had the most of the early possession despite going down and Wells were racking up the penalty count. On 15 mins skipper Stu Nicholls saw yellow, Colfes piled on the pressure but could not convert and Wells cleared their lines. The 14 men marched upfield and quick thinking from Douch taking a quick tap penalty saw the ball spun wide to Harvey Colangelo to step inside the defence to score Wells second try. Ed Shepherdson added the 2 into a strong wind and Wells led 0-12 after 30 mins. Colfes strong runners in particular their centres found gaps but Wells defence was not to be breached and Ed Shepherdson concluded the half with a penalty for a 0-15 half time lead.

The second half started much like the first with Colfes attacking early on and for 15 mins Wells defended and cleared their lines. It was Colfes to get the wrong side of the ref in the second half and this gave Wells respite. Wells forwards were winning some good ball and as soon as they went through the phases a score always looked possible. Quick ruck ball and a lovely chip ahead from Spice saw Douch chase and claim the ball to dot over the line and with Shepherdson converting Wells had a 0-22 lead.

With 20 mins to go Colfes got their reward for their pressure as Wells ran out of defenders. The gap was closed to 7-22 and Colfes had a renewed energy. This game was not over. With the weather changing and the rain coming down heavily neither side could make any real gains. Wells kept it tight and with 30 minutes on the clock they attacked the blind side and Colangelo barged his way into the corner for his brace. At 7-27 the game was one, Colfes attacked again but Wells were equal to it and saw the game out.

This was another good performance from a strong side starting to gel and great to see so many players in the team that have come through the Wells system from Minis to Juniors to Seniors. Long may it continue.

Match Report: TWRFC 1XV (30) V SUDBURY RFC 1XV (10)

Match Reporter: Jim Hendley

Wells travelled to Sudbury for the first time and knew they were going to be in for an open and entertaining match. Whilst the travelling fans were few, they made up for it in volume as the TWRFC WAGS encouraged and supported the team from the kick off to the final whistle. The omens looked good from the outset as after being treated to a fantastic pre-match lunch a TWRFC supporter won the ‘heads & tails’ competition which added some nice funds to the beer kitty!

It was imperative that Wells got off to a quick start which meant shaking the near 3-hour coach journey out of their legs. Sudbury are particularly strong at home and like to play a high tempo, quick recycling & attacking game.

In relatively benign conditions Wells received the kick off and exited their 22 with a good clearance kick by Montgomery. The ensuing Sudbury lineout was stolen by Wells and the ball moved wide across the line, Brockman creating the extra man and sending Mylo Vanner through under the posts for a converted try 0-7 after 2 minutes. Wells were able top build on this after continuous infringements by Sudbury giving penalty chances for Wells to build their lead to 0-16 by halftime. Montgomery was imperious with the boot all match, kicking all 6 goal attempts and continuously finding space behind the Sudbury defence or clearing the lines. He was the worthy winner of the MOTM awarded by Sudbury.

Sudbury did have their moments and tried to attack at every opportunity, but the Wells defence held firm every time with notable contributions from Talbot, Brockman and N Doherty. A particularly impressive feature was the first up tackling with the Sudbury attackers often knocked back over the gain line or the ball dislodged for a knock on. With Wells having more control at the lineout and looking sharp in open play they always offered a threat. Debutant scrum half Sam Seymour also had an impressive game moving the ball wide at pace, defending well and box kicking effectively.

Wells kicked off the second half and the first score was going to be crucial if Wells could extend their lead or give Sudbury the opportunity to get back into the match. A good crowd were fully behind the home side but Wells had a blistering start again and this time it was Brockman who scored in the corner after great ball retention and passing by the Wells side. Montgomery slotting from the touchline with aplomb which silenced the home crowd and increased the decibels of the few travelling supporters 0-23.

To their credit Sudbury didn’t relent with their pace and attacks but were unable to break through the Wells defence. The whole team defended as a unit which is a reflection of the organisation and effort put in on the training paddock. The lineout held firm with Chapman managing to disrupt several of Sudbury’s and turn the ball over for Wells.

Midway through the half Wells extended their lead further after a sublime chip by Montgomery over the defence allowed Captain, Mike Doherty to scoop up the ball and whilst tackled he managed to reach out and dot down for the try, duly converted from the touchline by Montgomery. 0-30.

The game then became a little ragged and TW started to lose a little focus giving away several penalties which gave Sudbury some heart and they eventually broke through to score an unconverted try. 5-30. With Wells now on a team warning from the referee it seemed inevitable that a yellow card would follow and unfortunately it as Nick Doherty infringement that meant he was sent to the bin. Sudbury upped their intensity further and Wells brought on their bench to help stem the tide but eventually the home team were in again for another unconverted try 10-30.

With Wells back at full strength they saw the remainder of the game out relatively comfortably and ran out worthy winners. A great performance away from home and it was good to back up the previous victory over Sidcup. When Wells are fully focussed on their game rather than worrying about decisions that don’t go their way, they can cause any of the teams in this league a problem or two. With back-to-back home games coming up against Medway & Colchester they’re in a good position to extend their winning run.

TWRFC 3s (53) v Gravesend RFC 4s (5)

Match report: Fran Colangelo

Well 3rds followed up their win over Lordswood last week with a sound victory over Gravesend 4s on a beautiful sunny afternoon at St Marks on Saturday

With the Vets playing on Sunday this was a young looking side that saw the return of a couple of players back from Injury and some young guns that have come up through our mini and junior ranks

The kick off was 10 mins late due to traffic congestion but from the off Wells looked to attack and after a few knock ons from both sides Wells Stu Nicholls on his return from injury went over for the first try unconverted for a 5-0 lead. From the returning kick off Cam Follows took a great catch and charge upfield he linked with his team mates before Harvey Colangelo sent prop John Owusu over with Ollie crees converting for a 12 – 0 lead. Wells had found their flow and with Gs wayward with their kicking from hand Wells capitalised, this time Colangelo playing at 10 linked with Crees, a combination not seen for many a year at St Marks as their dads looked on proudly from the touchline! Ollie scored and converted for a 19-0 lead after 20 mins. Wells were starting to gel with some impressive running from Alex Nicholls in his first senior game after uni and Ollie Crees always strong with ball in hand and Robbie Hendley making a welcome return to the Club showed glimpses of his silky running. The pack were impressive with some charging runs and offloads and new young 9 Sam Seymour fed from the base well. The future looks bright for our 3s!

It was Cam Follows next on the scoresheet with some great support play to touch down – 24-0. The next 15 mins Gs turned things around with some aggressive tackling and testing runs stopping the Wells flow and the scoreboard in turn. A blood injury to the returning Josh Hawkins saw him leave the field to be taped up and it wasn’t until the last play of the half that Simon Waymont showing immense strength got over in the corner for a 29-0 half time lead.

The impressive Follows opened the half with an early try converted by Crees for a 36-0 lead and shortly after a well worked try that saw several phases eventually was dotted down by Colangelo with Crees converting again – 43-0. Gs never gave up coming close on many occasions but not quite getting the reward they deserved as Wells cleared their lines. It wasn’t until the last few minutes that Wells hit the scoreboard again. First Ollie Crees went over then Alex Nicholls got a deserved try chasing Hendleys kick to the corner. At 53-0 the game was won but Gs found the inner strength to march upfield and with Wells giving away a succession of penalties Gs took advantage and went over for what was a deserved try.

A great game, well refereed in a good spirit with a supportive crowd. A good day all round and skipper Andrew Cunningham left the field with a smile on his face and always good to see the effervescent Andy Maynard trotting out for another season