Westcliff (Away)


Notice: Trying to get property 'result' of non-object in /home/matt5221/public_html/wp-content/plugins/zenfoliopress/Zenfolio.php on line 47

After a well earned break over Easter Tunbridge Wells travelled to Westcliff for the fixture that would almost certainly decide fifth place in the league. Westcliff were two points above Wells in fifth and had their tails up after a good win over Sutton and Epsom in their last fixture. The sun was out, the ground was dry and conditions seemed perfect for expansive rugby, but the early exchanges were all about the scrum.  Wells found it hard going against a very solid Westcliff pack and once again it took them a while to get into the game. With their pack securing plenty of ball, Westcliff’s backs probed the Wells defensive line without success, but they always looked dangerous.

 

Neither side looked to be on top attacking form, but with defences working well and only a few minutes remaining the first half looked likely to be limited to two penalties for Westcliff and a yellow card apiece.  But Wells had other ideas. With very little time left on the clock and Wells applying sustained pressure to the Westcliff line, the ball was spun out to the back line and Mike Doherty made no mistake for the try.  Frank Reylolds’ conversion meant the visitors edged ahead with the halftime score of 6-7 giving them a mental boost.

 

Both sets of coaches would have had plenty to say at half time but it was the Wells’ coach Simon Whatling’s team talk that had the almost instant impact. Both teams were restored to full strength and the boys in blue and white restarted with all cylinders firing. They put direct pressure quickly on the Westcliff line and moved the ball efficiently out to captain Ryan Taylor-Dennehy for try number two.  Reynolds’ conversion went wide. 6-12.

 

It wasn’t too long before Westcliff replied with an unconverted try bringing the scores back to 11-12.  Nerves were jangling a little with the travelling support but seven minutes later Ryan Taylor-Dennehy bagged his second, and Wells’ third, try.  Reynolds’ conversion was unsuccessful so the score still felt too close at 11-17.

 

With less than 10 minutes to go and the home crowd vocally urging their team on, prop Ben Williams broke through the defensive line. Williams cleverly fed the ball across the pitch to Shadyn Osgood who made a terrific 50 metre run for the bonus point fourth try. Reynolds slotted over the conversion and with five minutes to go the score was 11-24.

 

Westcliff weren’t giving up easily though and finished the game with a second try making the final score 16-24.

This was not a pretty win, but it was a solid defensive performance against a side that has held fifth in this league for most of the season. A bonus point win is always welcome and with 16 try bonus points and five losing bonus points this season Wells have shown grit and determination in victory and defeat. Wells make it a double over Westcliff and will look forward to meeting them again next season.

 

Next week Tunbridge Wells welcome Guildford to St. Mark’s for the last home fixture of the season.  Kick off 3pm.

 

Squad:

Ben Williams, Luke Hawkins, Carl Straeche, Christian Earle, Mike Hathaway, Adam Webb, Dave Allen, Nick Doherty, Max Douch, Frank Reynolds, Blaise Salle, Mike Doherty, Shadyn Osgood, Max Hobbs, Ryan Taylor-Dennehy (c), Brendan Crosilla, Mac Popham, Matt Spicer

Sidcup (Home)


Notice: Trying to get property 'result' of non-object in /home/matt5221/public_html/wp-content/plugins/zenfoliopress/Zenfolio.php on line 47

In good conditions for running rugby Wells played up hill in the first half against a Sidcup side flirting with relegation. Max Douch kept the scrum half role, Brendan Crosilla was withdrawn after back spasms to be replaced by Carl Straeche, and Andy Burgess started in the second row.
However, apart from the first five minutes where Wells announced their intention of playing wide they hardly put a hand on the ball for the next 20 minutes as a clearly motivated Sidcup side battered the home defensive line. Wells defence and Sidcup possession were to dominate the afternoon and ultimately determine the victor.
Wells did get onto the scoreboard first with a Frank Reynolds penalty in the 14th minute but could still not achieve more than a 20% share of the ball. For the most part the Wells defence was very solid but after two successive penalties up the touchline Sidcup saw their chance to use their physicality and inexorably rolled a maul over in the left hand corner for NO 8 Freddy Ruff to score the try and full back Josh Twyford to notch the conversion 3-7 after 25 minutes.

Wells though with what ball they enjoyed- mainly kicked to them by the Sidcup halfbacks- decided to live by the sword and on 28 minutes player coach Dave Allen launched a counter attack from deep in the home half which covered 70 metres as the ball went through several pairs of hands to find centre Mike Doherty who knifed through for the try. 8-7.
The rest of the half saw a similar pattern as Wells went close, with a diagonal kick from Reynolds to Nick Doherty who popped up on the wing.
Halftime arrived with no further score and with both sides capable of a win. Head Coach Simon Whatling would have stressed Wells potency out wide and Sidcup will have emphasised the power of their pack in close quarter play.

Wells commenced the second half having to display their defensive skills again Christian Earle, Dave Allen, Mike Hathaway and Shadyn Osgood particularly to the fore but after 45 minutes another penalty to the corner saw Sidcup roll the maul again from the line out. The maul collapsed on the line and the referee gave a penalty try and sent Mike Hathaway to the touchline with a yellow card. 8-14.

Wells then produced a calibre of defensive play across the team which ultimately won them the game as they prevented Sidcup from scoring or getting over the gain line very regularly until Hathaway’s return. As soon as he reappeared Wells struck with another length of the field counter attack initiated by captain Ryan Taylor- Dennehy from a Sidcup kick with wing Max Hobbs claiming the try and Frank Reynolds the conversion on 57 minutes 15-14.
Wells then showed with more of a share of the ball that the last 20 minutes is critical as they turned a penalty into a rolling maul and gave Sidcup a taste of their own medicine as Ben Williams peeled off to score and Reynolds to convert on 72 minutes.22-14.

Within another 2 minutes with Sidcup now playing catch up rugby a loose pass on their right wing was intercepted by Blaise Salle -on for Matt Spicer . Salle showed tremendous acceleration as he left his own 22 and arrived in the visitors to find centre Shadyn Osgood on his shoulder to take the inside pass and score close to the posts with Reynolds again converting 29-14 75 minutes.
From the kick off Wells failed to secure the ball and an offside forward gave Sidcup the chance of another rolling maul from the line out again with a similar result as No 8 Ruff grabbed his second try with Twyford converting on 78 minutes 29-21.
With full time beckoning Wells continued to attack down the left and when it broke down Sidcup saw a chance of at least a losing bonus point but Wells tackling again kept the visitors pinned in their own 22 until the final whistle went to seal their third victory in a row and their third try bonus in a row.
This Saturday sees a rest week before Wells travel to Essex side Westcliff. If they win then a 5th place beckons in this tough league. Coach Whatling will be happy with Wells current form and that of the towns second team who after a narrow win against Medway move into the top 3 in the County Invicta 1 league .

Squad: Ben Williams, Josh Pankhurst, Carl Straeche, Kyle McGarvie, Andy Burgess, Christian Earle, Dave Allen, Mike Hathaway, Nick Doherty, Toby Talbot, Max Douch, Frank Reynolds, Max Hobbs, Mike Doherty, Shadyn Osgood, Matt Spicer, Blaise Salle, Ryan Taylor Dennehy.

Roger Clarke

Dorking (Home)


Notice: Trying to get property 'result' of non-object in /home/matt5221/public_html/wp-content/plugins/zenfoliopress/Zenfolio.php on line 47

Tunbridge Wells hosted Dorking at St Marks in a game that saw 6th take on 7th in a match that was always likely to be highly competitive.

Wells were hoping to put on a show as they bid farewell to club captain Chas Spence who now travels to Australia to further his rugby education and there was also a sense of unfinished business from when the teams first met on “Bonfire Night”in Surrey. An under-strength Wells were heavily beaten 42-7 in arguably their most disappointing performance of the season. It was a win Dorking clearly enjoyed that day but the boys from St Marks were keen to ensure that the only fireworks this time around came wrapped in blue and white.

Head Coach Simon Whatling was forced to make changes after the previous week’s impressive win at Southend. Max Douch started this time to replace Spence at scrum half, with Richard Webster coming on to the bench. The powerful Shaydn Osgood returned at centre after injury whilst in the forwards the ever-popular Andy Burgess came back into the second row enabling Mike Hathaway to move to his preferred back row slot. Luke Hawkins also returned as forward substitute cover. Full back Ryan Taylor-Dennehy assumed the captaincy.

The home side played up the hill  towards the club house on a bitterly cold day with the swirling wind predominantly in their faces going towards Wells’ defensive left hand corner. Indeed, the wind was to prove troublesome for both teams.

On 5 minutes Wells failed to deal with a box kick which led to to a successfully converted penalty for the visitors in front of the sticks. 0-3. In the early stages Dorking had the territorial advantage and after Wells knocked on during a line out maul in their own 22, they had an attacking scrum which earned a penalty and another scrum was chosen. Robust defence forced a knock on though and Wells were able to exit from the ensuing scrum. Strong defence of this nature was to be a feature of the afternoon for the home team.

Taylor-Dennehy and outside half Frank Reynolds kicked extremely well and intelligently into the wind, outplaying their counterparts. One such kick nearly led to a try as Academy product Toby Talbot charged down a clearing kick and the chasing wing Max Hobbs looked likely to score after good footballing skills only to knock on.

In these initial exchanges Dorking held the upper hand in the scrum with Wells incurring the wrath of the referee. However, the Wells line out was  functioning very well with hooker Josh Pankhurst hitting Hathaway and Christian Earle and did so all afternoon.

Wells first got on the scoreboard on 18 minutes. After a series of phases in the middle of the pitch close to the ruck on the Dorking 22 metre line, with Nick Doherty and Burgess to the fore, centre Mike Doherty exploited a mismatch against a visiting prop to cross for an opening try on the left hand side 10 metres in from touch. With a fine Reynolds conversion it was 7-3.

Dorking came back strongly but fierce and intelligent defence from Talbot,  Hobbs, Douch and Pankhurst led to a great turnover from prop Ben “Fridge” Williams. Soon after, Wells counter attacked well with Taylor-Dennehy, Hobbs and Osgood in tandem.

A break through the middle from a Dorking winger off the back of a line out led to a penalty. This was kicked to corner to set up a catch and drive on 28 minutes but phenomenal Wells defence again thwarted the visitors. This impressive defence was also leading to Dorking mistakes and with the home scrum now becoming increasingly competitive Wells entered their best phase of the first half.

A Taylor-Dennehy and Osgood counter saw excellent field position and when Dorking were penalised for a tackle offence Reynolds knocked over the penalty from 30 minutes. 10-3. Wells closed out a tough half up the slope after a break deep in his own half by Nick Doherty was taken on by Talbot who surged up field impressively. Wells had assumed control of the half dealing with the worst of the conditions through a superior kicking game and handling, coupled with great defence. Half Time 10-3.

As the second period started Earle broke through the middle and off loaded to Hathaway and a penalty was earned. Unfortunately, this went wide  but the home side were not to be denied. Not only did Williams pre-empt a laboured box kick clearance and charge it down but it was the prop himself who hacked through from the 22 metre line and beat the Dorking cover for a very popular touch down on 46 minutes. 15-3.

Dorking are not in 7th by accident though and came back only to be held up by Brendan Crosilla, Earle, Williams and Hathaway but the men in red and white eventually earned a penalty on 50 minutes that they converted from 30 metres. 15-6.

What would have particularly pleased Skills Coach Mike Whatman (now promoted to Director of Rugby) was the fact that Wells were executing their skills much the better of the two teams in the conditions. With the scrum now gradually assuming dominance Reynolds was soon given another penalty opportunity after Williams and Hathaway carried strongly again and he extended the Wells lead on 57 minutes. 18-6. On the hour after another impressive outing an injured Hathaway was replaced by Hawkins.

Despite Wells seemingly being in charge the game was not yet won and the visitors best passage of play saw some big carries up field earning a penalty. Dorking kicked to the Wells 5 metre line and an impressive catch and drive saw them score a try on 63 minutes. 18-11.

Nerves were just starting to jangle for the home support but these were almost settled when Reynolds cleverly chipped and chased but the defending blindside winger covered well to prevent the try. Webster now replaced the injured Mike Doherty and soon after Wells stretched their lead. Douch fed his ball carriers well and Crosilla, Earle and Pankhurst made good yardage before Taylor-Dennehy showing great vision grubbered the ball behind the Dorking defence and in-form winger Matt Spicer was first to the ball for the try. With a cracking Reynolds touchline conversion it was now 25-11 on 74 minutes.

All that was needed now for the perfect afternoon at the office was the fourth bonus point try and on 80 minutes it came. A huge hit by Osgood created turnover ball for Nick Doherty to break through for a final try converted by Reynolds. 32-11.

Overall, this was a thoroughly deserved win. Wells managed the conditions superbly and always seemed in control with resolute defence and great execution in skills and game plan against a very useful team. Man of the match could have genuinely gone to several players but for a huge shift in defence, the scrum and a very well taken try the accolade went to Ben “Fridge” Williams.

Wells moved to within two points of 5th placed Westcliff and will be targetting this spot with this away fixture to be played . Next week they host Kent rivals Sidcup at St Marks with a 3pm kick off. As the visitors are one of four teams battling to avoid the final relegation spot then another fiercely-contested local derby is likely.

Squad: Ben Williams, Josh Pankhurst, Brendan Crosilla, Kyle McGarvie, Andy Burgess, Christian Earle, Toby Talbot, Mike Hathaway, Luke Hawkins, Nick Doherty, Max Douch, Frank Reynolds, Matt Spicer, Mike Doherty, Shadyn Osgood, Max Hobbs, Ryan Taylor- Dennehy (Capt) Richard Webster.

Southend Saxons (Away)


Notice: Trying to get property 'result' of non-object in /home/matt5221/public_html/wp-content/plugins/zenfoliopress/Zenfolio.php on line 47

Tunbridge Wells hosted Dorking at St Marks in a game that saw 6th take on 7th in a match that was always likely to be highly competitive.

Wells were hoping to put on a show as they bid farewell to club captain Chas Spence who now travels to Australia to further his rugby education and there was also a sense of unfinished business from when the teams first met on “Bonfire Night”in Surrey. An under-strength Wells were heavily beaten 42-7 in arguably their most disappointing performance of the season. It was a win Dorking clearly enjoyed that day but the boys from St Marks were keen to ensure that the only fireworks this time around came wrapped in blue and white.

Head Coach Simon Whatling was forced to make changes after the previous week’s impressive win at Southend. Max Douch started this time to replace Spence at scrum half, with Richard Webster coming on to the bench. The powerful Shaydn Osgood returned at centre after injury whilst in the forwards the ever-popular Andy Burgess came back into the second row enabling Mike Hathaway to move to his preferred back row slot. Luke Hawkins also returned as forward substitute cover. Full back Ryan Taylor-Dennehy assumed the captaincy.

The home side played up the hill  towards the club house on a bitterly cold day with the swirling wind predominantly in their faces going towards Wells’ defensive left hand corner. Indeed, the wind was to prove troublesome for both teams.

On 5 minutes Wells failed to deal with a box kick which led to to a successfully converted penalty for the visitors in front of the sticks. 0-3. In the early stages Dorking had the territorial advantage and after Wells knocked on during a line out maul in their own 22, they had an attacking scrum which earned a penalty and another scrum was chosen. Robust defence forced a knock on though and Wells were able to exit from the ensuing scrum. Strong defence of this nature was to be a feature of the afternoon for the home team.

Taylor-Dennehy and outside half Frank Reynolds kicked extremely well and intelligently into the wind, outplaying their counterparts. One such kick nearly led to a try as Academy product Toby Talbot charged down a clearing kick and the chasing wing Max Hobbs looked likely to score after good footballing skills only to knock on.

In these initial exchanges Dorking held the upper hand in the scrum with Wells incurring the wrath of the referee. However, the Wells line out was  functioning very well with hooker Josh Pankhurst hitting Hathaway and Christian Earle and did so all afternoon.

Wells first got on the scoreboard on 18 minutes. After a series of phases in the middle of the pitch close to the ruck on the Dorking 22 metre line, with Nick Doherty and Burgess to the fore, centre Mike Doherty exploited a mismatch against a visiting prop to cross for an opening try on the left hand side 10 metres in from touch. With a fine Reynolds conversion it was 7-3.

Dorking came back strongly but fierce and intelligent defence from Talbot,  Hobbs, Douch and Pankhurst led to a great turnover from prop Ben “Fridge” Williams. Soon after, Wells counter attacked well with Taylor-Dennehy, Hobbs and Osgood in tandem.

A break through the middle from a Dorking winger off the back of a line out led to a penalty. This was kicked to corner to set up a catch and drive on 28 minutes but phenomenal Wells defence again thwarted the visitors. This impressive defence was also leading to Dorking mistakes and with the home scrum now becoming increasingly competitive Wells entered their best phase of the first half.

A Taylor-Dennehy and Osgood counter saw excellent field position and when Dorking were penalised for a tackle offence Reynolds knocked over the penalty from 30 minutes. 10-3. Wells closed out a tough half up the slope after a break deep in his own half by Nick Doherty was taken on by Talbot who surged up field impressively. Wells had assumed control of the half dealing with the worst of the conditions through a superior kicking game and handling, coupled with great defence. Half Time 10-3.

As the second period started Earle broke through the middle and off loaded to Hathaway and a penalty was earned. Unfortunately, this went wide  but the home side were not to be denied. Not only did Williams pre-empt a laboured box kick clearance and charge it down but it was the prop himself who hacked through from the 22 metre line and beat the Dorking cover for a very popular touch down on 46 minutes. 15-3.

Dorking are not in 7th by accident though and came back only to be held up by Brendan Crosilla, Earle, Williams and Hathaway but the men in red and white eventually earned a penalty on 50 minutes that they converted from 30 metres. 15-6.

What would have particularly pleased Skills Coach Mike Whatman (now promoted to Director of Rugby) was the fact that Wells were executing their skills much the better of the two teams in the conditions. With the scrum now gradually assuming dominance Reynolds was soon given another penalty opportunity after Williams and Hathaway carried strongly again and he extended the Wells lead on 57 minutes. 18-6. On the hour after another impressive outing an injured Hathaway was replaced by Hawkins.

Despite Wells seemingly being in charge the game was not yet won and the visitors best passage of play saw some big carries up field earning a penalty. Dorking kicked to the Wells 5 metre line and an impressive catch and drive saw them score a try on 63 minutes. 18-11.

Nerves were just starting to jangle for the home support but these were almost settled when Reynolds cleverly chipped and chased but the defending blindside winger covered well to prevent the try. Webster now replaced the injured Mike Doherty and soon after Wells stretched their lead. Douch fed his ball carriers well and Crosilla, Earle and Pankhurst made good yardage before Taylor-Dennehy showing great vision grubbered the ball behind the Dorking defence and in-form winger Matt Spicer was first to the ball for the try. With a cracking Reynolds touchline conversion it was now 25-11 on 74 minutes.

All that was needed now for the perfect afternoon at the office was the fourth bonus point try and on 80 minutes it came. A huge hit by Osgood created turnover ball for Nick Doherty to break through for a final try converted by Reynolds. 32-11.

Overall, this was a thoroughly deserved win. Wells managed the conditions superbly and always seemed in control with resolute defence and great execution in skills and game plan against a very useful team. Man of the match could have genuinely gone to several players but for a huge shift in defence, the scrum and a very well taken try the accolade went to Ben “Fridge” Williams.

Wells moved to within two points of 5th placed Westcliff and will be targetting this spot with this away fixture to be played . Next week they host Kent rivals Sidcup at St Marks with a 3pm kick off. As the visitors are one of four teams battling to avoid the final relegation spot then another fiercely-contested local derby is likely.

Squad: Ben Williams, Josh Pankhurst, Brendan Crosilla, Kyle McGarvie, Andy Burgess, Christian Earle, Toby Talbot, Mike Hathaway, Luke Hawkins, Nick Doherty, Max Douch, Frank Reynolds, Matt Spicer, Mike Doherty, Shadyn Osgood, Max Hobbs, Ryan Taylor- Dennehy (Capt) Richard Webster.

Hertford (Away)


Notice: Trying to get property 'result' of non-object in /home/matt5221/public_html/wp-content/plugins/zenfoliopress/Zenfolio.php on line 47

Wells travelled to Hertford and for the first time in 5 weeks it was a dry sunny Saturday with the pitch reasonable under foot. Skipper Chas Spence, player coach Dave Allen , key centre Shaydn Osgood and hooker Luke Hawkins were all injured and replaced by Max Douch, Mac Popham and Blaise Salle with Ben Williams making his debut from the bench and Max Hobbs making his first start for some time.

Whilst Wells looked as if they were still shaking the journey off, promotion candidates Hertford in 4th place caught them napping as they produced a pace of game some 2 metres quicker than Wells and when they did need defence their line speed was superior. This pace and accuracy of pass saw them carve holes in Wells midfield, normally so dependable, and this gave them plenty of room on the edges as the Wells defence proved too narrow. The whole of the Hertford team produced some very impressive rugby but if there was to be a tormentor in chief during this period it was overall Man of the Match for Hertford scrum – half  Ben Creasey who scored on 8 minutes with a burst through the middle, full back  Sean Taylor converting and tries were then produced at regular intervals as Wells struggled to gain ball and to plug the gaps. Taylor was also having an outstanding game for the hosts and it was he who added the second try on 15 minutes 12-0. Flanker Jack Elston added the third on 28 minutes and a rolling maul try after a penalty to the corner saw Hertford add the try bonus point on 29 minutes 24-0. Try no 5 was added a minute later as James Keens one of the second row charged through. ( 31-0).

As the half entered the last 10 minutes Wells did come more into the game as even Hertford could not keep up the pace of the first half hour. Two pick and drive sequences saw Wells close to the home line but patience was lost on one occasion and Hertford line speed defeated the other as the visitors found it difficult to hold onto the ball.

When Wells did have success in gaining field position it was normally fly half Frank Reynolds or stand in skipper Ryan Taylor-Dennehy from the back who got them into the opposition half.

Halftime saw no addition to the score and Wells staring down the barrel of a 31-0 points deficit. As is usual. however, this was a game of two halves, and as the second began on came Ben Williams who immediately brought more aggression to the game which was contagious as Mike Hathaway – who had an outstanding game for Wells, Christian Earle, Nick Doherty and Gus O’Grady started to get into a game they had not been able to influence in the first half.

As a result Wells enjoyed more possession and  Reynolds was able to play- make to get them farther up the field. This meant that Hertford didn’t get close to the line and Wells looked the more likely to score. The visitors went close on 45 minutes after a penalty and line out saw them roll a maul towards the home line. Christian Earle also making a 40 metre line break but not being able to find support to finish the move. However, it took until the 55th Minute for Mike Hathaway to show real physicality to get over the Hertford line with Frank Reynolds adding the conversion 31-7.

Hertford were not finished however and No 9 Creasey dummied his way over from a break down in front of the posts on 60 minutes and then repeated the dose out wide for his hat trick on 65 minutes 43-7.
Wells continued to work at their game getting themselves back into the Hertford half through further Reynolds tactical kicking and some brave counter attacks from the back. Ultimately these paid dividends as first left wing Matt Spicer went in after a great inter passing movement on the left 43-12 and then from a similar move on the right wing  Max Hobbs picked up a third try with some injury time to play.

Wells worked hard to provide the opportunity for a try bonus but couldn’t quite find the right route as Hertford kicked out to end a testing game for the visitors who could at least take consolation from ‘winning’  the second half 17-12 and reducing the incessant chatter of the Hertford commentator!

Wells remain in 6th place but have a vital game at home against Dorking who are only two points behind them at St Marks ‪on Saturday 3rd March‬ KO 3 ‪00pm‬. With only 6 games to go Wells have to target a sequence of wins to maintain this 6th position or if they are to catch Westcliff in 5th.

Squad: Kyle Mcgarvie, Josh Pankhurst, Brendan Crosilla, Ben Williams Carl Straeche, Gus O’ Grady, Christian Earle, Mac Popham, Nick Doherty, Mike Hathaway( Man of the Match), Max Douch, Frank Reynolds, Matt Spicer, Blaise Salle, Mike Doherty, Richard Webster, Max Hobbs, Ryan Taylor- Dennehy (capt).

Westcombe Park (Away)


Notice: Trying to get property 'result' of non-object in /home/matt5221/public_html/wp-content/plugins/zenfoliopress/Zenfolio.php on line 47
Wells visited Goddington Dene on Saturday and for the third successive week found themselves in the rain on an increasingly heavy pitch. Shaydn Osgood returned after suspension and Richard Webster came onto the bench but otherwise the side was unchanged from that which secured a good win against Sutton and Epsom the week before. Skipper Chas Spence remained on the injured list with Max Douch continuing to deputise at scrum half.

Combe have recruited in recent weeks and a large pack took to the field equipped to give Wells a hard afternoon and that is what happened.
Points were hard to come by and after a flurry  in the first 20 minutes there was little on offer. Combe were first on the scoresheet as their pack took advantage of early pressure with Jordan Saunders ultimately driving over the line for an unconverted try on 4 minutes.

Wells though soon got into the Combe half and stayed there. A dump tackle saw a Combe centre head to the sin bin on 8 minutes and Frank Reynolds made no mistake with the penalty 5-3. However, the visitors could not make advantage of the extra man as Mike Doherty limped off to be replaced by Webster.
Both sides were ironically back to 15 when after consistent pressure Shaydn Osgood broke surprisingly easily through the Combe cover to score a try halfway out which Reynolds converted on 20 minutes 5-10.

For the rest of the half both sides enjoyed equal possession with parity in the scrums but with Wells having difficulty in securing ball in the line out for a range of technical reasons. Both sides defences were in good working order and the only further score of the half came from a 33rd minute penalty from Combe full back Will Robinson on 33 with halftime seeing the score remain at 8-10 to Wells.

If the first half had been  even the second was dominated in general by the home side who had more of the ball and in general occupied a higher field position. Both defences were parsimonious and the Combe half backs  James Cameron and new signing Ed Durki put in some very precise and tactically astute kicks many fielded well by Wells full back Ryan Taylor – Dennehy.

The possession eventually told when Robinson kicked his second penalty for offside on 65 minutes to put Combe in the lead for the first time 11-10.
Combe continued to push up but could find no way through an uncompromising Wells defence

With injury time looming there came the key moment of the game as Cameron made a rare mistake kicking low with the ball ricocheting back behind the Combe defence. Reynolds latched onto it like a greyhound and kicked on to beat the cover and dive for what all thought was a score. Sadly for Wells the referee didn’t and the chance of a win went with this judgement as Combe saw out time and gleefully kicked out.

Disallowed try or not the home side had dominated the second half in favourable conditions for their big pack as they make a late bid to get out of the relegation zone. Wells performance was spirited and competitive and they can now enjoy a rare week off to work on remaining in sixth place in London and SE Premier as they pocketed a losing bonus point.

Squad: Kyle McGarvie, Josh Pankhurst, Brendan Crosilla, Carl Straeche, Gus O’Grady, Christian Earle, Mike Hathaway, Dave Allen, Nick Doherty, Mac Popham, Max Douch, Frank Reynolds, Blaise Salle, Shaydn Osgood, Mike Doherty, Matt Spicer, Richard Webster, Ryan Taylor – Dennehy.
Wells next play Hertford away on Saturday 17th February KO 2 30 PM.

Sutton & Epsom (Home)


Notice: Trying to get property 'result' of non-object in /home/matt5221/public_html/wp-content/plugins/zenfoliopress/Zenfolio.php on line 47

A dry day gave way to wind and rain as these two sides took to the field with the home side having the wind and rain to their backs in the first half. Max Douch took over scrum half duties as Chas Spence recovers from his jaw injury, Mike Doherty replaced Shaydn Osgood and Max Hobbs came onto the bench for his first game.

Wells started at pace and had well taken tries by Mike Doherty 6 minutes and Ryan Taylor – Dennehy after a Nick Doherty chip forward in the first 10 minutes to which Frank Reynolds added a penalty after 15. (15-0).

It took this long for Sutton and Epsom to get going but with picking and driving they started to get into the game. The Wells defence led by it’s back row were not giving an inch and they could find no way through or over the gain line.

When the home side had the ball they handled very well in the conditions and Reynolds at fly half used the ball intelligently to kick field positions.

As a result more tries followed at regular intervals, through Gus O’Grady after a patient pick and drive 28 mins, through Kyle McGarvie from a pushover on 30 mins (which collected Wells 12 th Try bonus of the campaign) and the try of the game on 38 minutes as Blaise Salle burst up the right and handed the ball on to Matt Spicer whose pace took him the remaining 35 metres and in under the posts. With Reynolds kicking boots well tuned he kicked this from the touchline to make it 4 out of 5 conversions and a halftime lead of 36-0.

If the back row deserved a special mention in the first half with all three, Nick Doherty, Mike Hathaway and Dave Allen having exceptional games the front row of Brendan Crosilla, Kyle McGarvie and Josh Pankhurst were also instrumental in the Wells dominance in the set scrum.

The pace slowed to some degree as Wells faced the wind and Sutton and Epsom enjoyed more of the ball but the Wells defence continued to hold as they added further tries through Frank Reynolds after a kick ahead on the counter from Taylor – Dennehy on 49 mins ( 43-0) and from Mike Hathaway after a 50 metre pick and drive had been repelled but not the ensuing line out and attack out wide to the left. Reynolds kicking both of the conversions to make his personal tally for a great afternoons work 20 points.

With a lead of 50 points by the 67 th minute it was probably not surprising that Wells took their foot off the gas to some degree as the surface became more difficult. S and E upped their game and displayed great spirit as the game went into a long injury time period scoring tries through sub Joe Ridgly on 80 minutes and from skipper and scrum half Steve Munford from a tap penalty on 86 minutes.

Wells Coach Simon Whatling was pleased with the way Wells played in the conditions and said: ‘we had a great Thursday training session with over 40 in attendance. It’s pleasing to see work on the training paddock paying dividends on a Saturday both at First and second team level, where our seconds narrowly beat leaders Sevenoaks in Kent Invicta 1.

This Saturday sees Wells at local neighbours Westcombe Park KO 2 30 PM as they seek to retain a top six place.

Roger Clarke.

 

Towcestrians (Away)


Notice: Trying to get property 'result' of non-object in /home/matt5221/public_html/wp-content/plugins/zenfoliopress/Zenfolio.php on line 47

Tunbridge Wells travelled up to Northamptonshire to visit Towcestrians for the first time. Having beaten their hosts 41-7 earlier in the season at St Marks the final score was to be an almost mirror image of that game.

Conditions were difficult for the players with constant rain and the occasional snow flurries making the wet pitch even heavier as the game progressed. Despite this both teams showed good skill sets throughout but it was the power of the Wells pack of forwards that was to prove decisive. From the first scrum the front row of Kyle McGarvie, new-signing Josh Pankhurst and Brendan Crosilla, dominated their opponents. The first scrum saw the home pack shunted back 5 metres and this was to continue throughout the game. With Pankhurst also combining well at the line-out with Christian Earle and Mike Hathaway, this set piece platform enabled number 8 Nick Doherty to have masterful game.

It took 8 minutes for the visitors to open the scoring. A strong rolling maul that covered 20 metres pushed Towcestrians back and when Frank Reynolds popped the ball to inside centre Shadyn Osgood he powered his way through an unavailing tackle to score under the posts. With Reynolds’ conversion it was 0-7.

Wells stretched their lead 5 minutes later. A huge Osgood tackle dislodged the ball and Blaise Salle then made a fine break. Skipper Chaz Spence was quickly in support and kicked the ball through for the chasing Matt Spicer to dot down out wide. The conversion went wide but it was now 0-12. Sadly, this was to be Spence’s last positive involvement as at the restart he received a heavy late tackle as he made a relieving kick and left the field not to return. Mike Doherty came on at centre, Salle moved to the wing and the versatile Max Douch went to 9.

The home team now had their first spell of territory and used their maul to great effect. However, the determination of the Wells defence was a feature all afternoon and they resisted the midlanders efforts. Dave Allen and Osgood made important tackles but all players contributed to a fine defensive effort. A good clearance kick by Reynolds eventually released the pressure. Towcestrians had a defensive scrum 30 metres out but a huge Wells push stole the ball for Nick Doherty to pick up and challenge the home defence. Expertly drawing the final man he passed to Douch to score the third try on 23 minutes. Again the conversion kick was difficult given the underfoot conditions and fell short. 0-17.

Towcestrians came back at the kick off but an excellent Gus O’Grady turnover took away their momentum. At this stage the boys from St Marks were incurring the wrath of the referee at the breakdown but with a solid blue defensive wall they could not break through.  Indeed, it was Wells who were to score next when Nick Doherty stole a home line-out before setting off on a 40 metre run beating three defenders for a spectacular individual try. With Reynolds converting it was now 0-24 on 36 minutes and the try bonus point was in the bag too.

Wells were not satisfied though and on 40 minutes another powerful scrum saw a pushover try for Doherty. Half time 0-29.

The half time team talk will have seen satisfied coaches and players with the hope of a large second half score and the opportunity to rest players was taken with Carl Straeche and Mac Popham replacing McGarvie and Allen. The expectation of a comfortable second half was further enforced on 49 minutes by a second pushover try to secure Nick Doherty’s hat-trick, converted by Reynolds. 0-36.

From the kick-off Reynolds was subjected to a late tackle which infuriated the visiting team and a scuffle ensued. The referee took decisive action yellow carding both the Towcestrians number 8 for the offending tackle and Wells’ Osgood for his perceived involvement in the hand bags.

This seemed to unsettle Wells and as they conceded a procession of penalties the home side dominated territory and possession for the next 20 minutes. However, tenacious defence thwarted all Towcestrians efforts with Earle, Hathaway and Pankhurst to the fore. On 70 minutes Spicer was yellow-carded for a deliberate knock-on but the home side still could not cross the line. This was real character building stuff from Wells.

Having spent very little time in the opposition half Wells finally got back into the Towcestrians 22. Firstly, Ryan Taylor-Dennehy and Salle almost created a try but then from a scrum the Doherty brothers combined with Nick putting in older brother Mike for Wells’ seventh try on 77 minutes. 0-41.

The 9 minutes of injury time was to prove frustrating for Wells as the home side finally scored a try from a forward drive and then Osgood received a second yellow card for a tackle offence.

This should not over shadow a superb team performance though, both in attack and defence that sees Wells remain in 6th position in the league on 47 points. Next week (27th) they host Sutton & Epsom who are 9th on ‪42 at St‬ Marks with ‪a 2pm‬ kick off. All support will be gratefully received.

Squad: Ryan Taylor-Dennehy; Max Douch, Blaise Salle, Shaydyn Osgood, Matt Spicer; Frank Reynolds, Chaz Spence (Capt) (Mike Doherty); Kyle McGarvie (Carl Straeche), Josh Pankhurst, Brendan Crosilla, Christian Earle, Gus O’Grady, Mike Hathaway, Dave Allen (Mac Popham), Nick Doherty.

 

Tring (Home)


Notice: Trying to get property 'result' of non-object in /home/matt5221/public_html/wp-content/plugins/zenfoliopress/Zenfolio.php on line 47

Guernsey (Away)

This was a tough first fixture of 2018 for Wells as they had an early morning start to catch the flight to Guernsey where the Premier division leaders lay in wait. The rain held off and pitch conditions were good as Wells took the field in front of the Island’s supporters and a number of past Tunbridge Wells inhabitants now living in the Channel Islands.
Wells started slowly after the three week Christmas break and after some initial skirmishes got pinned in the right hand corner after a penalty.

The home side made no mistake securing the line out and rolling the maul over for an unconverted try from hooker Tom Ceillan . 5-0  after 8 minutes.

Wells enjoyed more of the ball in the next 10 minutes of play and were rewarded as Guernsey were penalised for not rolling away and fly half Frank Reynolds kicked the penalty from in front 5-3 after 13 minutes. Wells continued to enjoy possession but the defensive line speed of the Guernsey team made it difficult at times to get over the gain line.
Captain Chas Spence got away for a 40 metre line break and Nick Doherty just failed to get the ball away to brother Mike down the right but further points would not come.

It was therefore somewhat frustrating that Guernsey sent another penalty to the corner and scored a carbon copy rolling maul try through Cameron Craine to go with their first with fly half Owen Thomas landing the conversion on 23 minutes 12-3.

For most of the second quarter Wells secured good line out ball through the throwing of hooker Luke Hawkins and the jumping of Mike Hathaway, Owain Withers and Christian Earle. The scrum held firm as well with Brendan Crosilla and Kyle McGarvie holding things very steady.
The closest either side came to scoring in this period being Frank Reynolds bouncing an attempted penalty from 40 metres on the crossbar and back into play on 37 minutes as the first half came to an end at 12-3.

All was still to play for in the second half and for the first ten minutes it remained that way as Wells worked some good back moves and also used their back row to make the hard yards up the middle. From one of these moves a diagonal kick to Blaise Salle almost saw the winger in and from the subsequent position Wells picked and drove to the line only to lose control as they looked to go over. However, pressure was maintained and after several phases of play full- back Ryan Taylor- Dennehy picked an immaculate line to score from 20 meters halfway out but Reynolds could not convert 12-8 after 48 minutes.

The next 10 minutes were to win the game for Guernsey as Wells dropped the ball from the kick off and Guernsey showed speed and precision as open – side Dale Martin finished off good approach work from centre Ned Brown, Thomas converting on 52 minutes 19-8.
Wells then lost hooker Luke Hawkins and second row Owain Withers to injury as their play started to look a little tired. The islanders upped their work rate seeking the all important try bonus as Wells found it difficult to secure good line-out or scrummage ball. Nevertheless Reynolds pegged back the score on 55 minutes as he nailed a penalty for obstruction 19-11.

It was inevitably though the rolling maul that delivered the try for the home side as it had done on two previous occasions as Guernsey secured the try but not the conversion on 58 minutes 24-11.

Wells though are a spirited group and for the last quarter only conceded an Owen Thomas penalty 27-11 at the start of the quarter as several breaks earnt territory and threatened the home line.  Taylor – Dennehy continued to look incisive, Max Douche put in a trade mark 40 metre weaving run and Christian Earle made yards as Brendan Crosilla began to feel the effects of an energetic afternoon.

No further scores though could be added to the visitors total as Guernsey continued to demonstrate their aggressive line speed in defence . Wells can take heart that they were competitive throughout at one of the most difficult away journeys in the league but will have to up the overall performance rate for the visit of high fliers Tring KO 2 00 PM at St Marks this Saturday if they are to add to their current points tally for the first time in 2018.

Squad: Kyle McGarvie, Carl Straeche, Luke Hawkins, Brendan Crosilla, Christian Earle, Owain Withers, Gus O’Grady, Mike Hathaway, Nick Doherty, Mac Popham, Chaz Spence, Frank Reynolds, Blaise Salle, Adam Webb, Shadyn Osgood, Mike Doherty, Matt Spicer, Ryan Taylor-Dennehy.