Faversham made it 5 bonus point wins in a row as they battled to a well-earned victory against a physical Bexley side.
Try’s from Simon Jaynes, Ollie Jaynes and a brace from Gander-Compton is too much to handle as an explosive second half from Faversham puts a strong Bexley outfit to the sword.
Head coach Rob Dengate described the performance as ‘The highlight of the season so far’ and that the way Faversham defended for long periods of the first half and limited them to one try was ‘evidence of how far we have progressed this season’. He went on to add that ‘In attack we took our chances well and were very clinical in the second half. A strong performance for the forwards, especially man of the match Freddie Iron and fellow second-row Luke Garnham were a real highlight. Jacob Gander-Compton took his try’s really well, showing that he is becoming very good at the art of finishing. The real big loss was the injury to Dan Hodges who we wish a speedy recovery on his dislocated shoulder. Competition for places is high and it is becoming very difficult for us to pick the quad let alone the team. Which is a real positive of how well we are doing this season so far.
The game began rather evenly, with both sides looking to run the ball. The game took on a frantic pace and Faversham lost Dan Hodges early on to a shoulder injury. Ten minutes in and Bexley made their share of possession count when a well worked line out routine gave them a good platform to build on and when they got the ball, the Bexley fly-half played a cross field kick to the left and the visitors scored down the left and with the conversion good, Faversham were trailing 7-0.
Bexley continued to make ground but were thwarted by a stern defence. When Faversham looked in danger of conceding further points the ball was turned the ball over through solid work from Nick Kingdom and debutante Aaron Mills. The hosts were still trying to play expansive rugby, but had no luck in building too many phases before handling errors cost them. After some good work down the left, Simon Jaynes placed a kick over top for Ben Gray to chase, but the ball bounced just beyond him and went in to touch. The final few minutes of the half were action packed with Bexley missing a penalty to stretch their lead, before some resolute defending from Faversham forced the turnover. Bertie Sanders-Champney broke free and his pass to Gray looked destined for a try until he was brought down with a high tackle. After more pressure and another high tackle, this time on Tim Woolf, Faversham were given the chance to kick to touch for a 5 metre line out. After some pressure and more penalties, Faversham finally scored in the right hand corner through Jacob Gander-Compton. The conversion was pulled to the left of posts.
The second half was vastly improved for the hosts, and with Faversham in the ascendancy, they were aided by some strong running from Billy Egleton and Luke Garnham. Faversham continued on the front foot when Sanders-Champney (making his first 1XV appearance after 10 months out with a serious injury) spotted a gap and made a line break out wide. Faversham then went through their patterns with Mills crashing the ball up the middle of the pitch with support from Kingdon and Garnham. The ball was span to hooker Egleton, who placed a grubber kick into the corner to put Bexley under pressure from the resulting line-out. Faversham opted to not oppose the Bexley the lineout, however this was an error and Bexley capitalised and broke up the pitch. Fortunately the ever present Sanders-Champney was in place to make a huge hit and force a knock-on from the Bexley winger. Gander-Compton collected the loose ball and broke through some lackluster defence to score under the posts.
Faversham were now in the ascendancy. A five –man lineout provided quick ball for Garnham to take at pace, making strong yardage. The Faversham pack worked around the corner with fly-half Jaynes taking the ball at pace. Egleton ran a strong line on his outside shoulder with support from McDermott and Iron. Jaynes used this to sell his opposite man with a ludicrous dummy before using his pace to slide in for his seventh try of the season. He then converted to make the score 19-7.
Faversham were now looking for their fifth bonus point in a row and scored their 35th try of the season with an absolute stunner. Faversham opted for a five-man line-out around forty meters from the Bexley line. Superb movement from Iron allowed him to find space at the back of the line out. This allowed him to take the ball and cleanly provide Tabor with quick ball before releasing Mills and Garnham at the Bexley defence. The Faversham pack worked round the corner with McDermott hitting a monstrous line to take ‘Sham up the opposition 22’. Tabor then found Egleton in the second pod but rather than taking the ball up he spotted a space out wide and pulled the ball behind his support runners to Simon Jaynes. Despite having an overlap Jaynes backed himself from 20 metres out; selling his opposite man with a dummy and being too strong for the full-back before he crashed over in the corner to seal the victory for Faversham.
Skipper’ Rhys Mcdermott described the result as a ‘huge win’. He went on to add ‘It shows how far we’ve come against a very physical Bexley side. For us to concede an early try and not panic, stick to our systems and squeeze the life out of the opposition shows the character and never say die attitude the lads have got’.
The first team have a week off before a huge game away to Brockleans in a fortnight’s time. Faversham 2’s host Sittingbourne this week at the rec (12:30 KO).
Report by Mike Juden.