Brentwood (Home)

This was the first game between these sides in an official league game although they have met in preseason friendlies. Having gone down in injury time the week before the home side were eager to make amends

Sadly for spectators and players for the second time at home in consecutive fixtures it was wet and gusty and this was to have a very big influence on the way the game unfolded.

Wells were without Josh Pankhurst, injured and Christian Earle unavailable with Luke Hawkins and Chris Pentney taking their places. Skipper Ryan Taylor- Dennehy moving to the centre to accommodate the returning George Montgomery at full back in his first start since returning from London Irish Wild Geese.

Max Hobbs started on the right wing.

Wells had the elements first kicking off down the hill and with the wind and needed to build a reasonable lead if they were still to be ahead at the end. With seven minutes on the clock a sustained pick and drive saw the home team over the line but the ball was knocked on in the act of scoring. It was not until the 17th minute that Frank Reynolds kicked a simple penalty after Brentwood’s Adam Thomas was sent to the sin bin as punishment for repeated team misdemeanours close to their line. 3-0.

Despite pinning Brentwood in their 22 it took until the 23rd minute for Wells to threaten on the right with ball being skilfully directed to George Montgomery entering the line for the try which Reynolds converted 10-0. For the next ten minutes or so using the elements Wells pinned Brentwood down but could not add to their score as the visitors defended valiantly. It took until the 35th minute for Wells to move the ball wide on halfway where left wing Jake Caddy beat his opposite number on the outside to then feed the supporting Reynolds who scored close to the posts and converted his own try for a 17-0 lead. At this point another try would have been a reasonable return but it was the visitors who in their first visit to the Wells 22 found space out wide for a diagonal kick to right wing  Liam Batty who finished the scoring for both teams on 37 minutes 17-5. Max Hobbs departing the field with a serious shoulder injury as the half concluded to be replaced by Matt Spicer.

In  normal circumstances Wells lead could and should have been enough but the rain intensified and it was the home teams turn to be pinned in their own half. This pressure was rarely relieved as conditions made it difficult for both sides to handle the ball with Wells experiencing big problems at the line out where securing their own ball became difficult. Within two minutes of the restart the home tackling was found wanting down the left as fullback Toby Simpson scored with fly half Brad Burr converting 17-12. For the next 18 minutes Wells found it increasingly difficult to break out as a combination of inaccurate passing under pressure and poor technical kicking from hand added to their inability to make progress up the park. When they did all too often the movement was too lateral to make real progress. It took Brentwood until the 60th minute to go ahead as not for the first time they spotted space on the right flank and another diagonal kick found Batty in space again to score with Burr converting from the touchline. 17-19.

Despite some manful defending Wells continued to find it difficult to break out and in the 68th minute a poor clearance kick found Brentwood fullback Simpson in space as he moved the ball wide for Batty to finish with a hat trick and for Burr to convert again 17-26. Try as they might for the last 17 minutes of the game Wells could not find the pattern or incisiveness in the conditions to launch a counter and the game came to an end with no further score.

Wells have to ponder their third home defeat in a row and despite a better start can only rue one or two missed chances in the first half and a very narrow backs defence which offered the opposition four tries on the flanks. The elements clearly had a big role to play as Wells won the first half with them 17-5 and Brentwood the second 21-0.

With six games gone in the league season Wells reach the first rest week on 12 points but with this defeat drop to third from bottom in a league which is unforgiving if you don’t take your chances. Time for Simon Whatling and his coaches to work on tactics and technique prior to Wells getting on the road to Sutton and Epsom for a 3 00pm KO on the 20th October to start the process of moving back up the table.

BRENTWOOD 17 – 38 TUNBRIDGE WELLS

BRENTWOOD 17 – 38 TUNBRIDGE WELLS

Wells travelled across to Brentwood this week following the loss to Guildford the week before knowing that they had to win this game to avoid the relegation zone. Brentwood on the other hand were extremely confident quoting that this match would be an easy win for them. They were in for quite a shock as the Wells were fired up for this match and were not going down without a fight.

Wells started the game against the wind and up the slope and soon found themselves under a lot of pressure from Brentwood who used their big forwards to punch holes in the Wells defence. Wells were camped on their line for several periods of time but managing to keep them out with solid defence from Hathaway, Doherty and Isbell. After 13 minutes however Wells found themselves offside at the ruck and were penalised with Brentwood converting to make the score 3-0. Straight from the kick off Brentwood piled on more pressure pinning Wells back down in the corner and it was on 32 minutes when their bulky centre punched through a gap and scored between the posts which was converted making the score 10-0. Wells then started their comeback with a great break from Doherty at the base of the scrum, feeding Caddy who skipped through a couple of tackles only for the last pass to go to ground. Just before half time Wells pressured Brentwood again and after several phases lively scrum half Storkey danced his way over the try line, between the posts for Reynolds to convert taking the half time score to 10-7.

The second half started the same as the first with Brentwood taking the game to Wells and scoring first with a try which was also converted, making the score 17-7. This woke Wells up and they soon started playing more territory and using the wind. Some strong running from the front row of Straeche, Nicholls and Crosilla tested the Brentwood defence and this eventually paid off with Man of the match Crosilla crossing the line between the posts, again for Reynolds to score. Brentwood never got out of their half again with Wells now firing on all cylinders. Excellent lineout work from Earle and Hawkins secured solid ball and another strong driving phase saw Earle power his way over between the posts for Reynolds to covert. 17-24. After another strong lineout, a catch and drive saw the returning Pankhurst finish off a rolling maul for Reynolds to covert again. With only a few minutes remaining Talbot replaced Isbell and Clough replaced Storkey. Wells however were not finished and some excellent handing and interplay involving the lively Montgomery, Reynolds, Hathaway, N Doherty feeding his brother Mike Doherty to finish off with an excellent try between the post converted by Reynolds making the final score 17-38.

Wells will take a lot of positives from this game particularly their dogged defence and take it on to their next game in two weeks against the league leaders Sutton & Epsom at home at St Marks. KO 2-30pm.

John Crees
Tunbridge Wells RFC Chairman