TUNBRIDGE WELLS RFC 1st XV. 20. TRING RFC 1st XV. 14.
20 - 14
1st XV Vs. Tring
Wells made only two changes to the the squad who had won at Sutton and Epsom the week before. The starting XV remained unchanged Richard Webster returned to the bench after injury and was joined by debutant Ben Isbell.
Tring have had a good start lying 3rd in the league before kick off and despite Wells having the wind and the slope in the first half both sides demonstrated the art of defence to a high degree.Wells got on the scorecard first on 7 minutes as fly half Frank Reynolds kicked a penalty but within minutes Wells began to concede more penalties than they wanted and it was no surprise when Ben Criddal tied the score at 3-3 after 15 minutes. For the next 15 minutes the defences continued to dominate but with the Wells front row in particular of Ben Williams, Stuart Nicholls and Brendan Crosilla in particular. and the rest of the pack in general getting on top. Tring though dominated possession aided by Wells discipline which continued to earn a flurry of penalties for offences in the loose. From one of these Tring went ahead on 30 minutes with another Criddal penalty 3-6.
It took, though, indiscipline for the opposition as one of their back row forwards earnt a yellow in the 39th minute to create the next score as Wells punched up from the ensuing penalty and then spun wide to No8 Nick Doherty who picked up a bouncing ball committed the opposition and fed brother Mike for the try. This gave Wells a halftime lead of 8-6 and perhaps a thought that a slender lead would not be enough.
Whatever Coach Simon Whatling
said at half time the home team held a higher position and gained a greater share of ball after the break with dominance continuing in the scrum and Nicholls hitting his jumpers in the line out in tricky conditions to give the required platform.
Tring discipline then snapped as a further player was sent to the bin on 43 minutes leaving them 5 minutes to survive 2 down. Wells kicked the penalty to touch won the ball and from the ensuing maul Josh Hawkins catapulted forward and reached the line for an unconverted try 13-6.
It was a credit to Tring that they conceded no further points in this period but the extra defending tells and did so ultimately on this occasion. Both sides continued to test each other’s defences and Wells were able to maintain their higher field position as they produced a series of turnovers in a seriously physical encounter.
On 62 minutes Tom Newton reduced the points difference with a third Tring penalty 13-9 and within a minute as Wells came back to threaten the visitors line Christian Earle received a yellow for a deliberate knock down. Rather than concede though Wells ripped up the form book charging back up the field to score as fly half Reynolds ricocheting like a pin ball wizard went over from 20 metres on 69 minutes and converted his own try 20-9.
With Earle back on the pitch and with the penalty count going up again Wells spent a lot of the last 10 minutes defending well and tenaciously. Both backs and particularly the loose forwards put in a huge tackle count as Tring applied the pressure, finally breaking through at the right corner through centre Noah Jarvis after Wells had failed to hit touch from a clearance kick 20-14 on 79 minutes. Wells survived despite a second yellow card issued to Mike Hathaway just before injury time to take the win.
This was one of the most hard fought and high quality victories since the Wells joined this league and shows that they are now back in last years form.
Next Saturday sees the town side visit Bedford Athletic KO 2 30 pm looking to move up the table before a rest week on the 10th November.
Squad: Williams, Nicholls, Crosilla, Straeche, Hawkins, Earle, Hathaway, Allen, N Doherty, Isbell, Edmonton, Reynolds, Caddy, M Doherty, Montgomery, Murray, Webster, Taylor- Dennehy.
Man of the Match: Frank Reynolds.