Category: Match Report

MATCH REPORT: Brighton RFC 1XV (24) v TWRFC 1XV (26)

Match report by Jim Hendley

Wells played the first half with the brisk northerly wind at their backs on a fine but cold day for rugby at Brighton. Ultimately, it was Brighton’s lack of discipline that brought Wells back into the game at the start of the second half with 2 quick yellow cards.

Whilst Wells started of brightly it was Brighton who struck first with a fine flat pass from their fly half to the No8 who took a great line to score under the posts which was converted to give a 7-0 lead. Wells worked themselves back into the game but Brighton were exerting more continuity & control during the half and Wells had to defend well to keep them out. Finally, Wells broke into the Brighton 22 and after good close quarter driving by the forwards quick feet from Hobbs saw him scorch under the posts with Day adding the extras to level the score 7-7.

Wells tried to play their attacking style and all too often passes were put down or speculative passes didn’t find their target. Brighton were more secure in their play and went ahead again 12-7 with a well worked unconverted try in the corner. They extended they lead further to 19-7 their centre strolled through after it looked like the Wells defender had been taken out.

As the halftime whistle approached Wells mounted a sustained attack on the Brighton line which forced their No 8 to prevent the ball being released to the backs and duly received a yellow card and from the resulting penalty Wells drew closer after a Ben Whale try but the kick went wide to leave the score 19-12 at Half time.

Wells started the second half into the wind in fine style as Williams made a great break down the pitch deep into the Brighton half which was initially repelled. Wells continued to pressure and Isbell scored after a good close driving and Day added the conversion to bring the scores level again at 19-19.

Chapel Down Player of the Match – Nick Doherty

Wells now in the ascendancy moved the ball well out to left wing Hobbs who was taking out by a high tackle leading to another yellow card and with Brighton down to 13 Wells pressed for their bonus point try. This was duly delivered by Isbell again after good continuity & driving play by the forwards. Converted by Day for Wells to hit the front for the first time 19-26.

Brighton got back to full strength but couldn’t make much headway into the Wells half until the last 10 minutes when they did score in the corner. Wells had made a hash of a try line drop out to give Brighton an attacking scrum 5 yards out under the posts. Good control and then swift hands created the opening but importantly the conversion was missed and Wells held a 2 point lead.

Wells managed this last period quite well and held out for another good away win. However, there was a farcical end to the game with Wells deliberately throwing the Ball into touch after the 80 mins were up giving Brighton a final chance to snatch victory but their flyhalf kicked the ball dead to end the game.

Wells remain in 3rd place in the League and host Bournemouth at St. Marks on Saturday.


Match Report: Fran Colangelo

A lovely dry Boxing Day morning at St Marks welcomed this years teams made up of a variety of Wells players and guests including none other than former player, England and British Lion Martin Corry playing for the first time with his son Ned and for the last time in a Wells shirt at the place he started his rugby journey.

Martin & Ned Corry – played their first game together

The script could not have been written any better as within 5 minutes of Referee Tim McCabe’s whistle a trademark Martin Corry offload to his son saw Ned cross the line to put the Presidentts 5-0 up. Despite this early setback The All Stars hit back with John Ridley of TJs playing alongside his 2 sons came up with the ball after a great team effort to get to the line. Soon after it was the younger sibling Patrick Ridley who sliced open the defence to put the All Stars in the lead with Ben Shirley adding the conversion.

This was an evenly matched contest with both sides playing open rugby and The Presidents scored next when Sam Crichton went over to reduce the gap to 10-12. The All Stars however were dominating the tackle area with skipper Tiggy Bartley and Kent Veteren Rob Harrison using all their experience to gain the advantage. Soon another score came with Lucas Scully playing alongside his brother Jesse found a gap to go over converted by Shirley. 10-19. Patrick Ridley sealed the half with his second try to put the All Stars 10-24 up at half time. 

The Presidents started the second half well with Jack Greig showing some silky skills and speed to run in from halfway converting his own try to make it a 1 score game at 17-24. There were moments of brilliance in the second half with Sam Crichtons charge from 50 meters out only to get hauled down by Ben Shirley with the line at his mercy. The old and the young were having fun. The All Stars just had the edge though and 2 quick tries from Hamish Towers and Oscar Davies put the All Stars 17-34 up with 5 to go. This was the green light for Fran Colangelo to enter the game for one last run with his son Harvey replacing his old friend Nick McDowell. Quick ball was one and Jack Grieg broke through making a try scoring pass to Fran Colangelo who dotted down in the corner. What a way to bow out!

Friendships renewed, memories made and a special mention for Andy Maynard for a full game at hooker in his 50th playing season at the club at the age of 65 – he made his first senior appearance at 15 in 1974 and still played regularly for the 3rd XV and Vets.

Martin Corry & Andy Maynard – 50 seasons and counting!

Martin Corry presented him with his British Lions shirt from the 2005 Lions Tour to New Zealand.

Finally a special mention for the fathers and sons that graced the pitch, Corry’s, Greig’s,  Childs, Bradley’s, Ridley’s, McCabe’s, and the brothers Scully. A day that won’t be forgotten in a long time.

EDITORS NOTE: A huge thankyou to Fran Colangelo who organised this and many other Boxing Day games. Fran’s continued efforts have made the Boxing Day a great club and community event which also helps raise funds for the club.

MATCH REPORT – Horsham 1XV (8) v TWRFC 1XV (33)

Match Reporter – Fran Colangelo

On a dry day Wells the 1 hour trip to Horsham for one of their “local derbys”. When Horsham came to St Marks in September Wells won against the newly promoted side 45-14. A good crowd after their busiest lunch of the year was on hand to cheer both sides on.

Wells started on the front foot with some good attacks from Ben Whale and the backs getting in the game early but they couldn’t finish off what they created, partly by little mistakes and also by the determined way in which Horsham defended – especially the ruck area. Slowly Horsham got back in the game and their ability to run from anywhere and Wells giving away penalties saw them keep play deep in Wells half. 

After 10 mins, following another penalty, Horsham went to the corner and a clean catch and drive saw them go over for a deserved try and a 5-0 lead. This spurred Wells into action but they couldn’t get a foothold in the game with the quick defensive line of Horsham rattling them. The speed of ball from the hosts was led by their 9 keeping Wells on the back foot. Any attacking play from Wells met a wall of green and on 25 mins the hosts extended their lead with a penalty that bounced off the crossbar twice and over to go 8-0 up, which on the balance of play was a fair reflection.

Chapel Down Player of the Match – Dave Thornton

The next 15 mins was very broken play from both sides as we moved from set piece to set piece with no real threats. With the clock on zero the ref indicated 3 mins of injury time at the end of the half, and in what seemed like the visitors first real attack on the Horsham line the pick and drive went to plan and Ben Isbell went over for the try, converted by Ben Day. Horsham heads dropped as the half time whistle sounded with their lead whittled down to one point.

The Wells team talk at half time must have been good as they started the second half as they finished the first, cutting out their mistakes and putting pressure on the Horsham defence. Wells got a penalty on the 22 and went to the corner confident of scoring a try. The catch and drive followed fast hands to the corner where the quick feet of Angus Horne saw him go over with Ben Day slotting a big kick. Wells led for the first time 8-14. 2 minutes later Wells went over again. From the kick off they went through he phases to score their 3rd try as Harrison Chapman found the gap to go through. Another Day conversion and there was clear water in the scores at 8-21.

Wells were in the ascendency and big carry from Ben Whale, Dave Thornton, Nick Doherty and Jay Smith punched holes as Horsham’s defence tired. It was from a Thornton charge that that saw the ball moved to Max Hobbs in space and he took his opportunity well. The conversion went wide but Wells now had an unassailable lead of 8-26 going into the last 10 minutes.

Wells finished a very good second half performance with another assault on the Horsham line, this time Tom Webster scoring and Day adding the conversion. 8-33 was a good win against a dogged home side who have greatly improved from the earlier meeting.

This was a great way to end what has been a good year and sees Wells sitting 3rd and all to play for in 2024. Good luck to Horsham in the New Year – a great club and excellent hosts to the many Wells supporters.

Boxing Day sees our usual social fixture at St Mark’s – 11am k.o.

MATCH REPORT: Bracknell RFC 1XV (31) -V- TWRFC 1XV (10)

Match report by Stuart Montgomery

On a bitterly cold day Tunbridge Wells travelled to Surrey to take on Bracknell with a few changes in the starting lineup but all the same a pretty strong side in what was expected to be a close game against opposition just 1 place adrift of our league position. Bracknell won the toss and elected, as expected, to play up the slope on a narrow pitch.

The early exchanges and for nearly 25 minutes the Wells controlled territory but the Bracknell defence was solid forcing some handling errors and enough pressure to make a couple of crucial poor decisions where it would have been easier to score than not. A Wells penalty just 10 yards out and 10 from the posts was kicked to the corner only for the lineout to malfunction and pressure relieved.

After 25 minutes and some kicking exchanges George Montgomery chipped over the defence and was taken out by 2 defenders with one getting a yellow card and Day stepped forward to convert from 40 metres out, 0-3. Bracknell were spurred into action and good tight forward play with some excellent offloading increased pressure to force a line out 35 metres from  Wells line. A good catch and drive into our 22 produced a penalty and they in turn kicked the corner seeking a try. Secure possession saw many phases at close proximity to our line but the defence held up and pressure was relieved with a forward pass. A solid scrum and clearance was brought back for a Bracknell penalty for obstruction and the scores levelled at 3-3 after 30 minutes. Bracknell came straight back and just 5 metres from our line the ball came lose, there was a minor scuffle and a player from each side were shown a yellow card. A kick to the corner, good line out and multiple close quarter phases saw the try by one of the tight forwards and the conversion was good from quite wide out, 10-3. The half was seen out with Wells attacking but making a few too many mistakes to make an impression on the scoreboard.

Chapel Down Player of the Match – Ben Whale

It wasn’t going to be easy playing up the slope and it was made harder when Bracknell had a scrum just 10 yards from the Wells line in the first 5 minutes and the second row returned from the yellow card to create solid front foot ball which was rolled in 3 or 4 phases to score, again a good conversion to make the score 17-3. Wells made a few changes with Crichton coming on and Day and Montgomery switching positions. Wells were now forced to play a more high tempo game and against the run of play a  mid-field kick intended for the space behind the wing was blocked and fell straight into the Bracknell wingers hands for a 60 metre sprint to score out wide and another good conversion saw it 24-3. The bench of Petty and Goodger came on in an attempt to help the cause. Wells were playing far better rugby but their efforts were too often eradicated by poor decisions at close quarters. However a good attack down the right flank and a deft chip by Montgomery saw Angus Horne touch down which was duly converted by Montgomery for 24-10. Was there to be an exciting finish, Wells efforts won good positions and a kick to just 5 metres out from Bracknell’s line saw 10 phases but their defence held out with many of their players having to have treatment after they had been stretched. That was to be the last chance for Wells and to cap the game off, on trying to run from deep inside our half the ball was stripped from a Well’s player and the final play of the match was a try for the winger to secure the bonus point, this time an easy conversion, 31-10.

An interesting match and a few lessons learnt, with Havant at home next week the pressure certainly remains on.                          

MATCH REPORT: TWRFC 1XV (31) v Maidenhead 1XV (15)

Match report by Fran Colangelo

After another wet week Wells pitches were given the go ahead on Saturday morning and the rain stopped ahead of kick off to ensure a dry spectacle for the 100 + crowd at St Marks.

Maidenhead won both fixtures last time the teams met in the league and they started well with good early possession. From a line out 10 metres out Maidenhead won the ball and a kick found their left wing Alex Turton who scored in the corner, the conversion was missed and the visitors led 0-5. From the restart Wells wing Tom Webster made a great break and good hands saw Tom Waghorne go over for a try converted by Ben Day for a 7-5 lead. Wells continued to attack well and from a line out in the Visitors 22 Ben Whale caught the ball and the forward drive saw Luke Hawkins score Wells second try with day converting it was now 14-5. Wells came close to a 3rd try but Webster was held up over the line with some solid Maidenhead defence. Both defences were working hard and despite Maidenheads young side pressurising the home line they could not add to their score. With 10 to go in the half however their try came as they wend over from close range converting to reduce the gap to 14-12. Wells came straight back and good hands saw Mike Doherty go over just before half time – Day added the conversion for a 21-12 lead at the break.

Chapel Down Player of the Match: Nick Doherty

Half time saw George Montgomery come on at 15 with Mike Doherty moving to 12 as Ali Main left the field injured. Maidenhead started well as Wells infringed and Hawins saw yellow reducing the home side to 14 early on. The scoreline stayed the the same for the next 20 minutes until a good line out from Wells followed by strong drives by Ben Whale and Jay Smith saw Sam Crichton score on debut with day adding the 2. Wells had some breathing space with a 28-12 lead, but Maidenhead again came back, this time winning a penalty which they slotted for 3 to close the gap to 28-15 and 2 converted tries away from a possible win. 5 minutes later though Ben Day returned the favour added 3 for the home side and resorting the 16 point lead. Wells scrum started to dominate but they could not covert possession into further points. The last 10 minutes were a scrappy affair with neither side getting any quality phases and the game ended with no further scores.

Wells have a break next week before 3 fixtures in December, Bracknell away on the 2nd, Havant at home on the 9th and Horsham away on 16th in what will be the last game of 2023.

CS STAGS 1863 1ST XV          21                     TUNBRIDGE WELLS RFC 1ST XV           26

Wells travelled for a 5 00pm KO on the new Kings House School Chiswick 4G environmentally friendly pitch installed this Summer. It was crisp and damp and as the players steamed the pitch started to fog up but conditions remained good enough to complete the game.

The town side had to make some changes from the team that had narrowly triumphed against London Welsh the week before. Tom Waghorn rotated with John Petty at prop with Petty on the bench to start. Ben Day replaced the injured George Montgomery at fly half with Mike Doherty taking his place at full back, Jay Smith recovered from injury and Sam Williams were added to the bench.

CS started at a high pace which was to be maintained by both sides throughout and within 2 minutes home centre Toby Eaton cut a line to the posts with fullback John Hargreaves adding the points 7  – 0. The home side continued to look menacing for the first 15 minutes but gradually Wells came into the game using their dominance of the scrum an efficient line out and some physical clearing out of the ruck to put the home side under pressure.  Whilst the backs looked the most likely route for a score from some direct running Wells looked as if they would score on 15 minutes from a rolling maul but were penalised close to the line. It took until the 19th minute for a first score when a movement started on halfway culminated in back row Ben Isbell going in under the posts with Ben Day tying the score at 7  -7. Wells continued to dominate physically and in the breakdown and spent the next 10 minutes wearing CS down as the 5 back row in the pack got to work. The CS defence stood up well but on 29 minutes a searing Ben Whale break and a scrum- half Anthony Storkey supporting run saw a penalty awarded in front which was miscued. It took the visitors another 10 minutes to the cusp of half time for the Wells pack to exert their scrum power to earn a pushover try controlled and scored by Nick Doherty and converted by Ben Day. 7  –  14.

Wells were no doubt hoping that given their advantage in territory and ball that they would get to the break in the lead but this was not to be as CS came flying out of the traps for right wing Ikenna Obonna to get round the Wells cover and score halfway out on the right with  Hargreaves converting to make the halftime score 14  –  14.

The second half kicked off with Jay Smith returning after injury replacing  Luke Hawkins at hooker and with the visitors still on the attack. A useful fly hack down the pitch could not be controlled as the attacking player Webster and a CS defender collided. The pattern of the game had also changed to some degree as whilst Wells continued to dominate the scrummage some accuracy was lost at the lineout. After 48 minutes a great forward effort nearly saw Wells over the line but the CS defence mastered the attack. 2 minutes later, however, they could do little to stop an incisive break from centre Max Hobbs who fed  Tom Webster who went in for the 3rd try which was not converted 14  -19 to the visitors.

Despite Wells not having as much of the ball CS chose to kick a lot which gave  counter attacking options. A forward drive on 59 minutes saw the ball moved to the right with Mike Doherty coming into the line to ensure both brothers were on the score sheet with Mike getting the try bonus point and  with Ben Day nudging the conversion off the right upright   14  –  26.

CS again replied quickly to Wells pulling away as on 63 minutes they made progress on the right with centre Toby Eaton scoring his second of the day with Hargreaves converting  21  –  26.

The visitors piled on the pressure for the last 15 minutes and perhaps should have gone further into the lead when on 76 minutes Whale made an even better midfield break and got the ball to an unmarked Toby Webster on the right wing. Sadly as it would have been an outstanding try the ball wouldn’t stick and the chance had gone. The game ending with CS trapped in their own 22 as the pressure was applied.

This was a good win against opposition which the town-side have always found difficult away from home. The control of the forwards at the set scrum, the power of the clear out and midfield running  from the pack and some nice attacking lines from the backs saw the side to the win retaining third place in London and SE  Regional 1 South  Central.  Man of the Match  Ben Whale. Scorers Tries: Ben Isbell, Nick Doherty, Tom Webster and Mike Doherty. Ben Day 3 conversions.

This Saturday the 18th November Wells entertain Maidenhead RFC at St Marks KO 2 30 pm.

Roger Clarke


Match reporter: Stuart Montgomery

With unprecedented rainfall over the previous 3 days it was a testament to the improved drainage that has been implemented over the last 3 years and the game comfortably went ahead. This was always going to be a tight game with the sides just one place apart in the league and purely on points difference.

London Welsh started well with 2 dominant scrums setting the standard and extracted a penalty and ball going forward. Using quick possession the LW centre made a half break around the TW 22 and the full back was used to put the winger in, a good conversion saw a 0-7 score in just 5 minutes.

A more stable scrum saw TW extract a penalty whilst moving the ball wide, kick to the corner and a clean catch saw the ball held up just a metre out but a LW forward was given a yellow card – looking very close to a penalty try. Sustained pressure just metres away from the line saw another penalty to TW in front of the posts and Archie Warren duly converted (called upon early due to injury), 3-7. Both sides were playing confident rugby and a good tackle in the middle of the pitch by Webster was not taken well by the LW centre who saw red mist and received a red card for his reactions and TW a yellow card for the ensuing scuffle.

Chapel Down Player of the Match – Ben Isbell

LW went further ahead after some good sustained defence by TW but an offside right in front of the posts was probably the best outcome that could have happened, 3-10. 5 minutes before half time TW attacked down the right hand side and some good handling saw Webster straighten and then beat the full back on the outside – George Montgomery kicked 10 yards from touch, 10-10.  TW weren’t finished and in the last play of the first half their good ball retention was rewarded after a steady scrum 5 metres out and 4 phases before Ben Isbell crashed over, George converted to make it 17-10.

Another good start saw immediate pressure from the LW scrum and their handling was good to work a try under the posts after 5 attempts, the conversion made it 17-17. TW made a change at tight head which was only short term as Hawkins had to retire bringing John Petty back on. For whatever reason these changes stabilised the scrummage which gave TW a more stable platform, their lineout continued to function well throughout. LW tried a long range penalty which seemed the first time they wondered how to break the game up. TW had a good 15 minutes and a good scrum should have seen a try but for a loose final pass, however, another stable scrum in the LW 22 saw a delayed pass from George and Ali Main crashed over which was also converted, 24-17. LW kicked out on the full and some further great play by the driving forwards off of clean lineout ball saw another crossing the line only for the last pass to be adjudged forward.

TW emptied the bench and saw Archie Warren back on for Angus Horne and Toby Talbot on for Ben Isbell. Some good tactical kicking by TW to the LW 22 saw another excellent chance that should have been converted only for LW to clear their lines and score after just one visit to the TW 22, conversion tied the score 24-24. 

Within the last 5 minutes LW gave everything to force a penalty in the TW 22 which was converted and celebrated as they suspected victory at 24-27. TW had other ideas and forced 2 penalties which were kicked deep into LW 22, Harrison Chapman took a clean ball, 6 phases took Wells to just a metre out with 2 penalties in play signalled. A late pass to George Montgomery saw the offside LW defence almost taking the pass but the ball was controlled and kicked to clear the LW wing with Max Hobbs rounding the full back to score in the corner and claim the try bonus point. George slotted the conversion to make it 31- 27 and the final whistle ended the day.

A great game with excellent handling, considering the conditions, and notable performances from Ben Whale who was immense and the tactical game management of George Montgomery. 

Next week sees the 1st XV travel to CS Stags. Support always welcomed. Match details will be posted on the Club’s socials.


Report is below courtesy of James Spence

Wells First XV travelled to West London to play Hammersmith and Fulham RFC in an inaugural meeting of the two clubs. Our President was well looked after at the lunch by all accounts and was impeccably behaved! The welcome was friendly and the pitch was firm but greasy and the match played in mostly dry conditions (after earlier heavy rain), much to everyone’s delight, including the travelling WAGS who were in full voice and were well stocked with provisions!

A scrappy start from the St Marks lads and H&F scored two kick through tries courtesy of their wily No. 10. who was a clever operator all match long. Two Archie Warren penalties and the game was an even contest, score 12-6 midway through first half. Wells then dominated the final 15 mins of the half and after a Yellow Card for the H&F winger for an infringement at the breakdown, it was only a matter of time so it seemed and sure enough Big Dave Thornton crashed over from close range, conversion good, 12-13.  The H&F coach delivered a few choice words behind the posts to his charges and the Ref blew for HT.

The teams re-emerged, Wells now down slope and breeze, confidence high. That feeling lasted 15 seconds after a dropped restart a couple of passes and a gift of a try to H&F, conversion missed 17-13. Wells emptied our considerable bench, a strength of the squad this year, however, this was quickly followed by an Ali Main yellow card for a high tackle and the game was in the balance. The Wells Scrum and line out continued its superiority and through the phases Anthony Storkey on the shoulder as always scores under the posts – 17-20. Ali Main came back on, but a dropped ball midfield led to a H&F walk in! Converted 24-20.

Wells then took control of the game through the forwards and after many carries from all the lads Big Dave was there again, conversion good 24-27. Surely that was that with 6 mins to play.  Wells on top camped in H&F territory. Then, one offload too many and the H&F winger intercepted the pass and galloped clear to score a dramatic winner for the home faithful? – unbelievable!  Now it was Jervos turn to be heard amongst the West London mansions! This WELLS team has spirit and with the clock running down, kicked to the corner after a H&F conceded penalty and through the phases and up the jumper rugby, saw Dave Thornton go over for his hat trick and the winning score. Archie Warren 100% from the tee 31-34. Time just for a restart but the game was up and the Wells faithful breathed a sigh of relief. A game we could have won by 20, but equally could have easily lost.

A “never give in” attitude got the boys through in the end, a game that was won and lost many times over by both sides. Next week is a rest week. Saturday 4th November sees us welcome London Welsh to St. Mark’s.  COYW!!

Match Report – TWRFC 1XV (43) v Bournemouth RFC 1XV (27)

Match report by Stuart Montgomery

This was another new opposition for Tunbridge Wells on a fine sunny, but windy, day. The preparation wasn’t ideal with a 3 and a half hour coach journey and then with Ali Main tweaking a hamstring in the warm up (replaced by Rory Goodger from the bench and Mike Doherty moving from travelling reserve).

It was a lively start with both sides wanting to move the ball around, Reuben Elliston broke well from 40m out but the play broke down in the Bournemouth 22. TW regained possession after an untidy lineout and after 5 phases Bournemouth were offside just 5 metres from their line. The scrum was won but broke down and the ball hacked down the pitch to half way. TW kicked deep into the Bournemouth 22 and Chapman took a clean ball and another TW penalty in the red zone. Great TW scrum with Bournemouth standing up and giving another penalty away just 5 from their line. Another solid scrum saw the ball moved out to the right touch and after 3 phases Seymour went in for the try with Montgomery converting. Bournemouth kicked straight to touch from the restart and after the scrum the ball was kicked deep into the Bournemouth 22. An excellent TW line out to the back and a delayed pass to Webster then put Elliston in for the try, converted by Montgomery 0-14. A better restart and a kicking exchange lead to a high tackle and Elliston was shown a yellow card. Bournemouth saw the chance to score as a period spent deep in the TW 22, a penalty relieved the pressure only for Bournemouth to move the ball out for their left wing to hit a great line to go over for the try which was duly converted 7-14. TW back to full strength lead to more pressure into the Bournemouth 22, another clean lineout to the back forced another penalty on the 22 and the kick hit the mark just 5 metres from the line. Clean lineout to Talbot which was marched over the line for Luke Hawkins to score and Montgomery slotted the conversion against a tricky wind 7-21. Bournemouth looked lively when the play was loose but with a scrum under pressure and a misfunctioning lineout they found it hard to sustain pressure. However TW were penalised at the breakdown on the 40 which was converted 10-21 and they continued to half time with a well worked try with the earlier scoring winger again going over after coming in from the blind side, another good conversion saw a scoreline of 17-21.

Charley Smith came on for Bench at loose head at half time, and Waghorne for Petty after a further 10 minutes to maintain the scrum intensity. Very strangely there were a series of 3 scrum penalties in 15 minutes for engagement and dropping – the Bournemouth tight head leading a charmed life. Further penalties by a multitude of offences lead to Bournemouth going over for a try in the corner after a tap and go, again converted 24-21. TW responded well with instant pressure into the 22 and a secondary take by Harrison in a lineout just 10 metres out saw him score almost unopposed – con missed 24-26. It was still a lively game and Mike Doherty, on for just 10 minutes, put Hobbs away who straightened up the defending full back and then beat him to score in the corner – con missed from the touchline 24-31. Another couple of penalties lead to another 3 points for the Bournemouth kicker 27-31. Another great response from TW competing well at the restart and the ball squirted out for Chapman to gather and sprint in from 22 out, converted by Montgomery  – 27-38 with 5 minutes left. TW won the kicking exchange and with an excellent attacking lineout, Talbot again, saw the Bournemouth line disintegrate and scored from 25 out – con missed with the final score 27-43.

Another very solid performance with dominance at set piece and great tight five contributions which wasn’t really rewarded. The man of the match award was given to Jay Smith at 7 who was at the heart of all the defensive work as Bournemouth tried to play the open game which they considered their only hope of winning this game. A break in the fixture list next week  with the next game against Camberley at St Mark’s on the 14th.                  


Match report by Roger Clarke

The Wells 1st XV met old rivals Brighton on a perfect day at St Marks with a crowd of over 200, a pre match demonstration of Rugby by the club’s U13s,  and with club stalwart Mike Doherty leading the side out to celebrate his 100th appearance.

Wells chose to play down the slope in the first half and although Brighton got into their stride quickly the Wells pack proceeded to dominate possession and territory. The first quarter saw Wells enjoy 80% possession and although it took some 19 minutes for the first score the pace of their attacks and the speed of the ball being moved from the base of the breakdown had the visitors on the back foot. Following a number of wide attacks- centre debutant Reuben Elliston punching some significant holes in the Brighton line- No 7 Jay Smith took the direct route after a break from Toby Talbot for a try on 19 minutes halfway out which fly half George Montgomery converted 7-0.

From the ensuing kick -off Wells regained possession following a Ben Whale turn over with the ball being spun out to Ali Main who broke the line giving the ball back to Whale who found scrum half Anthony Storkey backing up on the right wing to score Montgomery converting 14-0 after 23 minutes.

Wells continued to pile on the pressure and would have had more points on the board but spilled the ball in the act of going over the line. It was ironic that with Brighton’s first entry to the Wells half they should score on 34 minutes as they underlined their spirit and experience as a team  to make the score 14-7 with a successful conversion.

Wells continued to apply pressure through a dominant scrummage powered by the second row of Whale and Josh Hawkins and by the stability in the tight of props Charley Smith and Tom Waghorne and by an efficient line out.  These features allowing Wells to keep Brighton pinned in their 22 for long periods. This territory allowed the home side to work George Montgomery into space on 39 minutes and he stepped inside to beat the cover and convert his own try 21-7. Within 2 minutes Montgomery repeated the dose with a similar try at close range but he could not convert leaving the halftime score at 26-7 and with a try bonus point earnt.

What happened in the changing rooms at half-time the Wells faithful will never know but a side that had 80% territory in the first half was never repeated. Their continuity of play was severely disrupted throughout the second half by conceding a double figure penalty count which never allowed the side to settle and establish a consistent pattern of play. Brighton for this reason- and their spirited play- came increasingly into the game reducing the score gap almost immediately on 43 minutes with a try halfway out converted by fly half Charlie Manger. 26-14.

Inexorably Brighton started to take control and although Wells had one golden chance when the overlap man was put clear to the line the final pass went down and the chance was gone.

Brighton continued their attacks down the hill with their lively backs making things difficult for Wells. It was their left wing Alex Basson who got in for a further try on 58 minutes as the home side realised they were now under real pressure to secure the result. 26-19. As the clock entered injury time Brighton got away from the Wells defence again down the left to score 5 metres out and to bring the score within 2 points. The conversion slid across the face of the posts and missed 26-24. There was just time for a restart  and Wells managed to secure the ball and get it to touch to secure a valuable 5 points and the win.

Elsewhere the Wells second team maintained their position at the top of Kent Counties 3 with a 48-19 win against New Ash Green 1st XV and the thirds went down 39-40 in a thriller against Canterbury.

Next Saturday the Wells 1st XV are on the road to Bournemouth hoping to export their home form to maintain their current league position. Training will no doubt concentrate on the cause of such a high penalty count in the second half of Saturdays game.