2nd XV beat Tunbridge Wells
Connor Fenlan Hat Trick leads the way
On a splendid autumn afternoon, a well trimmed and manicured Bronte View greeted a much changed Old Gravesendians 2XV, as they hosted Tunbridge Wells on this Cinque 4 West League fixture. A perfect day for a perfect game. A number of injuries and unavailabilities throughout the club made selection for both first and second team fixtures an interesting prospect. The strength and depth of the club, riding on the wave of last seasons successes was evident. Despite a number of positional changes, Old Gs fielded a strong side, with Big Bertie Basset filling the number 12 shirt. The oil tanker that is Tom Hammerton, switching from his usual second row berth, to outside centre. Jim Henshall started at 10, with Steve Jarrett and Paul Mitchell, returning from injury, to complete the front row, joined the regulars band of merry men. Who over the last two seasons have shown signs of an enthusiastic and loyal group of players that will provide the club with a good platform for the future.
From the off, Tunbridge Wells always knew they had an up hill battle. Conceding they did not have a recognised front row before kick off, for a second week in a row, Old Gs faced the prospect of 80 mins of uncontested scrums. This, however, did not detract from a competitive spectacle of rugby.
Tunbridge Wells won the toss and opted for Old Gs to kick off. Basset's kick off went so high it came down with snow on it. It's descent was greeted by a waiting Andy Hinde who set the tone for the afternoon with a good hit on the TW receiver.
The early phases of the game showed that TW were not going to lie down. Strong evasive running from the TW 10, 12 and 15 saw them make in roads into Old Gs territory. The defence stood firm. Digging like a demented mole, some how, Ben Randall, appeared out of the back of a ruck with the ball. Finding himself just inside his own 22, Bass put his trusty left boot through the ball. Landing just shy of the TW 22 the full back misjudged the bounce with the ball kindly falling straight into the hands of Sonic the Hedgehog impersonator Connor Fenlan who raced away to open the scoring. Much to the delight of his enthusiastic team mate and substitute for the Day Dave Frodo Owen. Conversion missed. 5 nil Old Gs.
The second try followed some two minutes later. As the TW back line looked to move the ball wide, Fenlan pounced. Leaping like a salmon he plucked the ball out of the grasp of the advancing TW 13 and scampered under the posts. Bassett added the extras, 12 nil with barely 15 mins played.
It looked as though Old Gs were going to run away with a resounding victory. TW had other ideas, frustrating Old Gs into making mistakes they started to come back into the game. At times Old Gs were there own worst enemies trying to force the pass when recycling the ball was a better option. Indeed it was only the good scrabble defence of all of the Old Gs that kept TW out.
Just before half time the pendulum swing back in favour of the Blue and blues. An extended passage of play, with a number of phases saw Jim Henshall dart over to take the half time score to 17 nil.
The second half started in familiar fashion to the first. Injuries and interchanges saw Old Gs reshuffle: the absence of WD40 in the medi bag saw the lively Jordan replace stalwart Darrel Conlan. Much of the second half was played in the centre of the park with both sides sharing possession. With twenty minutes to go, the first of two pieces of Old Gs magic occurred.
Bassett, now at 10, following the departure of Jim Henshall, fizzed an exorcet missile of a pass to the charging Tom Hammerton. Showing a surprising turn of pace the big second row carved through the TW defence like an icebreaker on an Antarctic rescue mission. Leaving defenders in his wake, he had the intelligence to draw the full back and pop the ball to the Duracell Bunny, Conner Fenlan for the easiest hat trick try you will ever see. Somehow the easiest kick of the afternoon was missed, however the game was now beyond any doubt. 22 nil. Old Gs were not done. The best try of the day was saved until last. Man of the Match Jaime Edwards bobbed and weaved himself into space before showing a turn of pace to scorch down the touch line evading last ditch tackles to score in the corner. After missing an easier kick minutes earlier Bass smashed the conversion over from out wide to make the score 29 nil. A minor blip and loss on concentration in the dying minutes saw TW added a well worked and deserved team consolation. To make the final score 29 v 5.
Next week 2XV host Aylesford where they hope to continue their winning ways.