Second-half revival almost brings unlikely victory
"no doom and gloom around the place"
Mal Graves praised his team's character as they came within a penalty kick of completing an impressive comeback in this top-of-the-table Shepherd Neame Kent 2 clash on Saturday.
A Depleted Blues side trailed 17-0 at half-time before launching a spirited revival which brought them three tris and a losing bonus point.
The defeat was Whitstable's first of the season and saw them slip three points behind Brockleians - the new outright leaders - but player-coach graves said it was impossible to criticise his players.
He added: "We were disappointed to lose but there's certainly no doom and gloom around the place. We went up there with a squad ravaged by injury and unavailability, yet in the second half we pummelled them. they barely got in our half, we were much fitter and just ground them down. They were out on their feet but we just could not get over the line in the final few minutes."
graves was without five regular pack members including- Rob Hudson, Luke Pepper, Leeroy Chapia and Ryan Crane and that led to much rejigged line-up with Tony Cairney excelling as a makeshift second row.
The first half saw Blues repeatedly pulled up by the referee who awarded no less than 14 penalties againest them.
Brockleians took full advantage to carve out a useful lead but in the second half, Blues turned the game on its head.
Bobby Powell, Will Reid and Cairney all scored tries out wide, although none were converted and a long- range penalty to win the game late on drifted just wide of the right hand post.
Graves was particularly pleased with the effort of his much reshuffled pack who competed well against bigger opponents and singled out Joey Taggart who played through the pain barrier.
He added: "We certainly weren't helped by the number of penalties that went against us in the first half but i never thought we were out of it and once we got our first try their crowed began to go a bit quiet.
"Brockleians were physically exhausted by the end and I've every confidence that when they come to us later in the season, we will be able to reverse the result,"
Match report credit to KM group.