MATCH REPORT: Maidenhead 1XV (67) v TWRFC 1XV (26)

Match Reporter: Mike Rigby

As the league season starts to draw to a conclusion high flying Tunbridge wells RFC (3rd)  headed to Maidenhead RFC (10th).

On a normal day this trip would be very welcoming, however the fixture clashed with two significant events: Super Saturday in the 6 nations championship with the English sniffing a chance of a second week of upset; and the M25 being shut for the first time since it opened. The coach left at 10am for a 3pm kick off, to say this limited the travelling support would be an underestimate! 

However, the travel disruption  was not to be the only suprise this weekend as TWRFC were to come up against a surprisingly strong home side. The travelling side had a few changes this week, most notably the return of Ed Shepherdson at fly half. Two kicked off in warm weather and with a light breeze.

The home sides intend to secure the necessary points to take away relegation concerns was clear from the outset. They were fast to the breakdown and intent in the tackle from the off. Within 5 mins they were over the line for a converted try and had punished a penalty with 3 points to be 10-0 up.

TWRFC raised their tempo and themselves kicked into faster play, resulting in a delightful play seeing Shepherdson kick to the left wing (Hobbs), to release Curtis to go over. The speed to the wing looked to be the key. After a rather lucky home try TWRFC again responded well with a quick ball to Main in the centers, to Whale out to right wing (Horne) and back to Whale who went over. 17-14 after only 20 mins suggested we were in for a tight game.

Chapel Down Player of the Match: Ben Whale

We were then subjected to a 20 minute period where Maidenhead upped their game. Speed to breakdown, speed of recycle, and speed of their pocket rocket winger became too much for the travelling team. We went in at half time 31-14 down.

The second half was to see a buoyed home side start to turn on the style. The travelling side were up against it and with injuries mounting the make shift back line was starting to look quite permeable. With 70 minutes on the clock the home side were 67-14 up.

When some teams would have wished the remaining 10 minutes away, TWRFC showed the type of steely backbone that has brought them many a late win this season. They puckered up and ran in two late tries (Mike Doherty and Ben Whale). This was important for two reasons, firstly a deserved bonus point and secondly pride to take them back to St Marks to face Bracknell next weekend.

A 67-26 loss is not what was expected this week, but the combination of Maidenhead fighting for survival, a fast flowing artificial pitch and the joy of an 8 hour round journey coach trip proved too much for TWRFC. Roll on next week for our last home game of the season. 

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