The Blues continue their impressive start to the season
depleted Whitstable secured a bonus point victory away from home
A depleted Whitstable secured a bonus point victory away from home after sustained pressure pays
Despite travelling with just 16 men, Whitstable were able to outscore their opponents five tries to
one and take a try bonus point from the Greenwich ground for the first time in four visits.
Mirroring their last fixture, Whitstable went in at the break just one converted score up after
number 8 Matt Hall went over on the stroke of halftime, but it was the home side who began the
game better. A series of penalties, scrums, and line-outs in the Whitstable 22 presented Greenwich
with an early platform to launch an attack from, however they were unable to convert their
possession to points as Whitstable’s defence held tight and flankers Mal Graves and Sam Holness
were able hold the ball up in a tackle and earn the turnover, the first of many times.
Whitstable worked their way into the Greenwich half when Captain Ben Cliff found himself in
amongst the backs, a surprisingly familiar situation for the hooker this season, and was able to
breach the Greenwich line and charge towards the try line. A high tackle just metres from the try line
was all the stopped Cliff from finishing, but he offloaded to Hall who crashed over from close range
for the first score. Andrew Huey converted to make it 7-0 at the break.
Whitstable restarted the game, and were quickly on the attack. A loose pass was picked up by Andy
Till who kicked along the floor into the Greenwich half, and the chasing Whitstable players were able
to tackle and turnover the isolated Greenwich fullback. From then, Whitstable’s patience and
confidence in their abilities came into play; several pick and go’s got the Blues on the front foot and
deep into Greenwich territory and when fly-half Marck Olive switched the direction of play he was
able to take advantage of the retreating Greenwich defence and stretch over for a second
Whitstable try. Conversion missed.
The Blues went 19 points clear of their opponents when Mal Graves, who had moved to number 8,
went over for the 3 rd score of the day. The player/coach picked from the base of the scrum outside
the Greenwich 22 and got away from the Greenwich flankers before carrying hard through the
attempted tackles of the home side’s scrum half and fly half. One on one with the fullback, Graves
kept composure to go round the final challenge and dot down by the posts. The spectacular score
was converted by Andrew Huey.
With 15 minutes to go Whitstable scored their fourth try, once again through Olive. Big carries from
the Whitstable pack meant that Greenwich’s defence was stretched and Olive was able to exploit a
gap in defence and sprint clear from the chasing Greenwich defence. Conversion missed. 24-0.
Despite Whitstable’s second half dominance, Greenwich kept themselves in the game and were
rewarded with 5 points late on. A series of soft infringements from Whitstable allowed the
Greenwich fly-half to kick the home side into the Whitstable 22. Greenwich carried hard, and were
met by a resolute defence. The attack seemed to have been weathered when Whitstable held the
carrier up, but they failed to react and Greenwich worked the ball to the back before peeling off to
the blindside. A good initial hit from Dan Till slowed the ball carrier before the Whitstable forwards
kept Greenwich at bay for now. With Whitstable overcommitted in and around the rucks, when
Greenwich eventually did go wide they made their overlap count. A looping miss pass from their
inside centre found their winger who finished, despite the efforts of Cairney and Reid. Conversion
It would, however, be Whitstable who had the last say; a solid chase forced Greenwich to clear their
lines and hand a line out to Whitstable inside their half. Similarly to the Greenwich’s try moments
earlier, the defence were overcommitted in the rucks but Whitstable were unable to generate quick
ball and capitalise on the overlap. After sustained pressure on the try line Whitstable were awarded
a scrum; their power and Greenwich’s fatigue meant Whitstable were able to drive over the line and
Hall was able to fall on the ball to complete the scoring, much to the relief of the backs. Huey’s final
conversion attempt was good and took Whitstable’s total to 31.
The Blues continue their impressive start to the season and will be looking to carry this momentum
into a home clash versus Snowdon on Saturday 16th December.
Match report credit to Andy Till