Match Report: TWRFC 18 – 3 Dorking
TUNBRIDGE WELLS RFC 1ST XV. 18. DORKING RFC 1ST XV. 3
Wells faced visitors Dorking- one place above them in L and SE Premier league- at a rain soaked and windswept St Marks. Pre match changes both planned and unplanned saw Chris Pentney, Ben Isbell, Richard Murray and Jake Caddy starting with Luke Hawkins joining the bench.
Wells kicked off up the hill with the wind advantage in the first half and immediately established a territorial dominance they would not relinquish all half. Within 5 minutes Frank Reynolds had missed a penalty goal which he made up for only 2 minutes later to give Wells the lead 3-0. Wells from the kick off were immediately back into the Dorking 22 and after a neat dribble by several Wells players kept the pressure on as they drove at the visitors line. Eventually patience was rewarded as No8 Nick Doherty went over between the posts on 14 minutes and Reynolds converting for a 10-0 lead.
With a number of changes already to the side Wells did not want further disruption but got it when key prop Ben Williams and back row Ben Isbell collided with each other and played no further part in the game being replaced by Carl Straeche and Luke Hawkins.
This made no difference, however, to Wells dominance as they continued to occupy a high field position which earnt them a further Reynolds penalty and a near miss from 45 metres from George Montgomery. The halftime whistle seeing Wells 13-0 up having had close to 80% of the possession in difficult conditions.
With the conditions the same in the second half Dorking supporters could have reasonably expected to gain an advantage particularly from the wind but this never happened as tenacious tackling and some sharp break outs kept Wells on top.
Dorking suffered their own injury as a back was carried off with a suspected ankle fracture soon after the restart. If Dorking were to come back they needed to do so early and at around the start of the last quarter it looked like they might as first they were held up over the Wells try line and then had two successive penalty awards in front of the posts but chose to scrum. Wells withstood this onslaught as the pack led by skipper for the day Mike Hathaway won the turnover and got the ball some 35 metres up the field.
With Richard Webster replacing Richard Murray Wells made 50 metres on the left through a pacy touch line run from Mike Doherty. Maintaining the position the Wells pack then put in a succession of pick and drives before Anthony Storkey spotted a mismatch in defence on the right. Quick hands to right wing Matt Spicer saw him in for the try at the corner to seal the game in the 73rd minute.
This was a very good performance from the Wells with special mention for Chris Pentney and for Carl Straeche who stuck to their roles well. Stuart Nicholls throwing in the line out is becoming an art form in wild conditions and backs and forwards can take credit for their aggressive and often offensive tackling. Skipper Hathaway took the Man of the Match award for a huge tackle count which exemplified the Wells performance.
This Saturday Wells visit Kent rivals Sidcup KO 2 00 pm as they look to get higher in the league positions before the Christmas Break.