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.