Ts first game of the season was against local rivals London Exiles, always a tough place to play away with LE beating 4 of the top 5 at home last year.
Ts not taking the squad they would ideally like to have at the beginning of the season but not complaining the boys got on with the task at hand.
Forwards; Front 3 consisted of Fyles, Ricky, Penson, locks were T.Knight & Skipper Banks, Chris, Mooro & Smithy complete the pack in the back row.
Backs; Sam G & Sam W partnered up at half backs, Jash at 12 with debutante Dan Wilde at 13, completed by Rose, & the Fosters as back 3.
Replacements; L.Haskell, Luke Deakin & A.Mcdonagh (Scholesy)
Exiles got the game underway and both teams looked evenly matched, first game of the season keeping things simple and working to the strengths they've built up over the summer. A more direct game from both sides meant if was very much a defensive/territory based game in the initial 10 mins. After 7 mins of deadlock on the shorter narrower pitch, Exiles went 3, then a couple minutes later 6-0 into the lead.
However it wasn't long after that Ts began to open up a little more, playing the ball a little wider and speeding up momentum seemed to take Exiles by surprise before a switch of play and a broken tackle from Chris Ts opened up the scoring, converted by Fozzy Ts went 7-6 ahead. After this point the game began a lot more expansive and both sides attacking more in open play.
Exiles returned strong and a yellow card for Ricky "going high" not sure how that's possible, Exiles took advantage of the extra number and managed to convert in the corner. taking the score 11-7 to the home side. After T's became under the cosh with a man down, after solid defence Ts came away with the ball deep in their half and attacked the open space, this lead to Rose galloping down the wing to beat the defence to dot down under the posts, Fozzy made it 14-11 to Ts.
The forwards not as slick as they were last season but for the first game back they looked strong at set piece, territory in Ts favour, the forwards took advantage of the possession and rumbled forward until Jordan managed to get over making it 21-11. However that wasn't the end of the scoring, with Ricky back on the field and the team back to 15, Ts mounted an assult on Exiles deep into their half and Fozzy managed to break through on the stroke of half time but missed the conversion to make it 26-11 at HT.
Ts restarted the game, with Banks under the kick off they retained possession and started exactly how they finished. Half backs moving our forwards across the field with our backs running direct lines with great support to put Exiles on the back foot. Using our passing game Fozzy managed to get through again & the score 33-11 Ts looked in complete control.
Exiles on the other hand hadn't given up yet, the next 20 minutes, was complete deadlock between the sides. Deakin, Haskell & Scholesy (The second debutante of the day) all making their way onto the field, maybe it was Ts adjusting to the restructuring but Exiles putting pressure on and discipline was dropping off. Then as Ts on the attack, debutante Wilde broke through the line beating defenders and got over for a try, Fozzy made it 40-11.
As the game entered the final 10 minutes Exiles game back strong, adopting a faster paced, wider game they took the ball to the line and supported well, demonstrating how dangerous a side they can be with ball in hand. This took Ts by surprise, giving away a few penalties Exiles were creeping into dangerous territory. Quick ball and Exiles managed to break through and convert to make it 40-18.
After entering the opposition half once again and with only minutes on the clock Banks took the executive decision to take the time and 3 points notching it to 43-18. However, once again Exiles came back with Venom, using their weighty forwards to gain momentum and a few wide passes, they moved Ts defence around and managed to get another final score out wide, unconverted this would be the final score of the match 43-23.
Ts demonstrated some very positive rugby on the weekend, but Exiles also reminded us how dangerous they can be in the last 10 minutes. Ts go ahead into week 2 taking on more local rivals Old Tonbridgians at home.
Sat 15th Sept, not only brings 3 home games to Parkfields its also a big day for the club as we celebrate Andy 'The Fury' Rees day.
MOTM; Fozzy, Knight, Connelly all playing well but Fyles, lead from the front and got the award.
DOTD; all 4.6" of Ricky was Yellow carded for not 1 but 2 "high tackles" i thought i'd never say those words.
As we begin this journey once again, thanks for the read and please not Paps.
Updated 13:16 - 26 Sep 2018 by brendan griffin
Until next time