Sutton & Epsom (Home)
50 - 10
Tunbridge Wells Vs. Sutton & Epsom
A dry day gave way to wind and rain as these two sides took to the field with the home side having the wind and rain to their backs in the first half. Max Douch took over scrum half duties as Chas Spence recovers from his jaw injury, Mike Doherty replaced Shaydn Osgood and Max Hobbs came onto the bench for his first game.
Wells started at pace and had well taken tries by Mike Doherty 6 minutes and Ryan Taylor – Dennehy after a Nick Doherty chip forward in the first 10 minutes to which Frank Reynolds added a penalty after 15. (15-0).
It took this long for Sutton and Epsom to get going but with picking and driving they started to get into the game. The Wells defence led by it’s back row were not giving an inch and they could find no way through or over the gain line.
When the home side had the ball they handled very well in the conditions and Reynolds at fly half used the ball intelligently to kick field positions.
As a result more tries followed at regular intervals, through Gus O’Grady after a patient pick and drive 28 mins, through Kyle McGarvie from a pushover on 30 mins (which collected Wells 12 th Try bonus of the campaign) and the try of the game on 38 minutes as Blaise Salle burst up the right and handed the ball on to Matt Spicer whose pace took him the remaining 35 metres and in under the posts. With Reynolds kicking boots well tuned he kicked this from the touchline to make it 4 out of 5 conversions and a halftime lead of 36-0.
If the back row deserved a special mention in the first half with all three, Nick Doherty, Mike Hathaway and Dave Allen having exceptional games the front row of Brendan Crosilla, Kyle McGarvie and Josh Pankhurst were also instrumental in the Wells dominance in the set scrum.
The pace slowed to some degree as Wells faced the wind and Sutton and Epsom enjoyed more of the ball but the Wells defence continued to hold as they added further tries through Frank Reynolds after a kick ahead on the counter from Taylor – Dennehy on 49 mins ( 43-0) and from Mike Hathaway after a 50 metre pick and drive had been repelled but not the ensuing line out and attack out wide to the left. Reynolds kicking both of the conversions to make his personal tally for a great afternoons work 20 points.
With a lead of 50 points by the 67 th minute it was probably not surprising that Wells took their foot off the gas to some degree as the surface became more difficult. S and E upped their game and displayed great spirit as the game went into a long injury time period scoring tries through sub Joe Ridgly on 80 minutes and from skipper and scrum half Steve Munford from a tap penalty on 86 minutes.
Wells Coach Simon Whatling was pleased with the way Wells played in the conditions and said: ‘we had a great Thursday training session with over 40 in attendance. It’s pleasing to see work on the training paddock paying dividends on a Saturday both at First and second team level, where our seconds narrowly beat leaders Sevenoaks in Kent Invicta 1.
This Saturday sees Wells at local neighbours Westcombe Park KO 2 30 PM as they seek to retain a top six place.