TUNBRIDGE WELLS 24 CS STAGS 18
This week saw Wells entertain CS Stags 1863 at St Marks on a sunny but chilly Saturday afternoon. CS were promoted last year and had already taken the scalp of Wimbledon, the league leaders, early on in the Season. They sat in 11th spot in the league, one position below Wells, so this game was important for both sides and the game certainly showed this.
Wells started strongly putting CS under pressure from the kick off. Only the final pass going astray or silly errors preventing Wells from scoring. However after 5 minutes CS made a break and Wells were penalised for offside in front of their posts which CS converted, making the score 0-3. Wells fought straight back and after several attacks, they were awarded a penalty which Frank Reynolds converted with ease. Strong running from the backrow of Allen, Hathaway and Doherty finally paid off when Nick Doherty picked up from the base of a ruck and powered over for Wells’ first try, converted by Reynolds. 10-3.
Soon after, on the brink of half time, strong phases of play, with Stu Nicholls hitting Earle in the lineout, Wells scored their second try with George Montgomery skipping his way around the defence to score under the posts. Again converted by Reynolds, taking the score to 17-3. The referee then added another 8 minutes of extra time much to the bemusement of the supporters and players, CS Stags scored a try in the corner in 48th minute taking the half time score to 17-8
Cs started the second half much stronger having been boosted by their extra time try and put Wells under a huge amount of pressure testing the defence of the home side. Wells held strong and it was not long before they were back in attack.
From a lineout on the 22 they caught and drove in a unit and could not be stopped, Dave Allen touching down from a magnificent forward effort. Reynolds again converting to take the score to 24-8.
CS were not going to give up, however, Wells lost prop Ben Williams to an injury and this was a key point in the game. Cs pressurised Wells in the scrum and were finally rewarded with another try which they converted following on with another penalty taking the final score to 24-18.
Wells will be happy with another win under their belts following a disappointing result against Bedford a couple of weeks ago. A great all round performance and a debut appearance from Anthony Storkey at scrum half, who also had an excellent game.
Wells travel to Chingford next week (KO 2 30pm)whom they last played in the promotion play off 2 Seasons ago, coming out victors by 2 points after extra time. Wells will be looking for a further victory on the road as they look to close a 4 point gap to the sides above them.
Wells travelled to Chiswick on a very windy Saturday afternoon to try and right the wrongs from the week before, when they threw a 17 point lead away in the last 5 minutes of the game. The squad had worked hard during the week knowing that CS Stags would be a very tough opponent. On the very open sports field the wind was howling down the pitch and Wells chose to play into the wind first half. The game kicked off and was stalemate for the first 25 minutes before back rower Nick Doherty was sin binned after a team warning. Stags took advantage of the extra man and 3 minutes later scored between the posts after the ball was fumbled at the back. They converted making it 7-0 and soon after scored again off a lineout which they converted taking the game to 14-0. Doherty returned and Wells were soon on the attack, with wave after wave, though pick and drives, Hathaway powered over the line which Reynolds successfully converted. Wells came out for the second half playing with the wind and they came out of the blocks very quickly. A quick line out between Crosilla and Pankhurst, saw the ball go through quick hands with Montgomery taking a straight line which split the Stags defence for him to be driven over the line by his pack. Again successfully converted by Reynolds. 14-14. Soon after the physical and attacking defence took its toll on Stags, with the Stags second row, their most influential player taking a head knock and having to leave the field, soon followed by the scrum half and a back row player. This soon told and Wells started to take a hold of the game and they scored further tries through Taylor-Dennehy and Mike Doherty.
The back row of Doherty, Hathaway and Isbell were immense, making driving runs and putting up a solid defence, with strong carrying by Crosilla making scrum half Rigby’s afternoon mainly on the front foot. With 5 minutes to go Stags broke through what had been a solid defensive wall and scored out wide taking the score to 19-24. Wells had learned their lesson from the week before, they kicked off, Rigby turned the ball over and the forwards took control once again. From 10 phases of play and excellent possession of the ball, it was spun wide for Mike Doherty to round off an excellent team performance and score between the posts for Reynolds to convert. Final score 19-31.
Wells will take a lot of positives from this game and now look to secure their place in the London & SE Premier League when Chingford visit St Marks in two weeks time on 23rd March. 3pm KO. Wells will need 5 points from that game to secure their place for next Season.
Tunbridge Wells RFC Chairman