Faversham fall agonisingly short in fiery derby to local rivals Whitstable.
Thirteen points from fly-half Chris Gadihe not enough for Faversham as ill-discipline costs ‘Sham the win in a brutal contest against Whitstable, the league leaders.
Faversham started the first half playing up the slope, and into a strong wind. This however did not prevent them from starting the match superbly. From the kick-off, hooker Jack Meadows (re-instated to the starting line-up after being dropped to the bench for the previous two matchers) put a huge hit in on Whitstable’s captain; driving him back 5 metres. However, Meadows was not done there and rolled away from the ruck and charged down Whitstable’s scrum half’s attempted box kick leading to a turnover on Whitstable’s 5 metre line. Good carries from captain McDermott and Eddie Stott meant Whitstable had to infringe at the breakdown to prevent a try being scored, resulting in an easy 3 points for Chris Gadihe in front of the posts.
Faversham were put under instant pressure from the re-start, with Whitstable using the slope and the weather to their advantage. Whitstable started playing a narrow game of their fly-half to attempt to draw in Faversham defenders, however, a solid defensive set ended with Egleton creating a turnover in midfield with a huge hit on Whitstable’s outside centre in the midfield after Whitstable tried going wide. However, despite strong carries from the Faversham pack they could not get out of their half, and Whitstable were now firmly on top. After a prolonged period in Faversham’s 22’, Whitstable’s fly-half stepped inside his opposite man and scored under the posts. Whitstable were not completely on-top and minutes later were in again when they crashed over from the back of a driving maul.
Less than 5 minutes later poor defence out wide meant Whitstable scored their third try of the game, after good handling from their back line put their winger into score in the corner. Faversham were not playing badly nevertheless and would have taken a 12 point deficit at half time considering they were still to play down the slope with the wind in their backs. Despite this, fly-half Chris Gadihe had other ideas as his attempted chip and chase was misjudged by Whitstable centre Luke Bowers, gifting him a try under the posts. The conversion was kicked meaning Faversham went in 17-10 down at half time.
The second half descended into a brutal affair, one which is quite common when these two sides meet. Unfortunately, this stopped either side gaining any real momentum. Faversham then had two tries disallowed, both for forward passes. The first came after brilliant play from ‘Shams skipper McDermott; who beat two Whitstable players down the blind side before slipping a pass to Eddie Stott, who looked to have ran an inch perfect line straight under the posts until the referee judged the ball to have gone forwards. Moments later, Hodges found Egleton out wide with no one in front of him for only, yet again, the referee to judge the pass to have gone forward. After this ill-discipline started to set in for the home side, who appeared to ‘lose the referee’. All decisions at the breakdown started going the way of the away side after sloppy play around the breakdown by a number of Faversham’s pack. First Jack Williams was sin-binned for a high tackle on his opposite man, and then just as Faversham looked like they might get something from the game, Chris Gadihe was sin-binned for a tip-tackle on Whitstable’s winger.
The final ten minutes of the game saw tempers flare as both sides became frustrated with the start/stop nature of the game. The game finished 22-13 to Whitstable, who picked up another bonus point win to remain at the summit of the table, and left Faversham near the rear end of the table having only picked up one win from their opening four games. Faversham go away to Foots Cray next week looking to build on a positive performance as Whitstable aim to maintain their 100% record as they play Askeans at home.