Match Report: Shelford 27 – 10 TWRFC
Wells travelled to Cambridgeshire to compete in their last game of the season against a Shelford side they had defeated 39-19 in their first home game of their new campaign in London and SE Premier Division. The temperature was in the low 20’s as they ran out on Shelford’s new artificial grass pitch. Wells had secured their impressive 5th place in this the highest league they have played in the week before and Shelford had guaranteed survival with a big win against Sutton and Epsom.
The first half was a relatively even one with Wells not really at their best in attack but with their defence causing a number of spill ages and turnovers from their hosts. Scrums were even but again Wells had trouble securing their own ball at offensive line outs.
Shelford were on the large electronic scoreboard first as fly half Josh Simmons made no mistake 3-0 7 minutes. Wells though stuck manfully to the task with an intent to move the ball wide which saw them run the ball down the right in a counter attack before moving the ball inside for Mike Hathaway to get the touch down and Frank Reynolds the conversion 3-7 on 16 minutes.
Possession continued to ebb and flow with Wells defending several rolling mauls.
Things remained this way until the referee took exception to events at a break down on 23 minutes when Luke Hawkins the Wells hooker and Aki Lea the Shelford 8 were both shown yellow cards. This opened the game up and on 28 minutes Anzelu Tuitavuki the home left wing scored from the halfway line with Simmons missing the conversion 8-7.
With both players safely back on the pitch Frank Reynolds took a simple penalty opportunity on 33 minutes to restore the Wells lead which remained the score at halftime 8-10 to the visitors.
At the restart Wells continued in contention holding up the Shelford pack over the line and initiating some good yards in attack. Despite going behind to a Simmons try and conversion on 52 minutes 15-10 the game was still in the balance but opportunities were not so frequent as Simmons put Wells under aerial bombardment. Nevertheless Max Hobbs went close on the right and then Wells moved the ball right to create the extra man. Often games are won with an inspired moment and home right wing Charlie Parkhouse seized it as he intercepted only 10 metres from his own try line to score under the posts withSimmons converting on 62 minutes 22-10. From then onwards this was a task too far for Wells as they strove to deliver a sixth successive win and with a further yellow card for impeding conceded a final try which brought Shelford the bonus on 80 minutes. 27-10.
This defeat can in no way though undermine the most successful season for Tunbridge Wells playing at RFU Level 5 for the first time as they end up in 5 th place from the 13 sides competing.
Credit must go to the squad in general, the coaching team of Simon Whatling, Dave Allen and Mike Whatman and to the team management of Chairman John Crees and Team Manager Michelle Greenall not forgetting the work of Will Thorpe up until the end of January.
Now comes a rest before the town side looks to improve on this showing in 2018/19.
Squad: Ben Williams, Luke Hawkins, Brendan Crosilla, Carl Straeche, Adam Webb, Christian Earle, Toby Talbot, Mike Hathaway, Nick Doherty, Mac Popham, Max Douch, Frank Reynolds, Blaise Salle, Mike Doherty, Shadyn Osgood, Max Hobbs, Matt Spicer, Ryan Taylor – Dennehy.