Match report by Bertie Sanders-Champney
With both teams eager to get off the mark in the opening fixture of the Kent 1 League, the tension of the opening minutes of the game was palpable. Both teams vied for territory with neither team able to establish a foothold early on. Positive tackling from Faversham afforded their backs the opportunity to demonstrate their potential.
Following a well-versed line out move and strong running lines from the pack, O. Jaynes distributed the ball into open space finding Sanders-Champney with room to run. Before being tackled into touch, a clever offload found Woolf with a creative supporting run and blistering pace that put Faversham in the ascendancy with the first try of the game.
Whitstable’s game plan to kick for territory at every opportunity worked well in keeping The Castaways penned into their own half but a potent combination of defiant defending and discipline saw the hard work of Egleton and Dodge culminate in Faversham retaining the ball at the Breakdown.
Explosive Running from S. Jaynes and McDermott drew the visitors into conceding penalties at the breakdown which Egleton seized upon with a quickly taken penalty. A penalty that started with ingenuity, continued with an elusive run, and concluded with a 60m try.
To Whitstable’s credit, they came back into the game with a ferocity and determination that pegged Faversham back into their own 22. A well-executed quick penalty sought out an overlap which they utilised to get back into the game.
The remainder of the half was eagerly contested with neither side making a break until Hall made use of his agility to out-manoeuvre a fragmented Whitstable defensive line to set up Payne who slotted the drop-goal from just outside of the 22 at a razor thin angle.
As aggression boiled over onto the pitch, Payne was penalised for illegally clearing a ruck and was yellow carded alongside a Whitstable player for their aggressive reaction just before the close of the half with Faversham leading 13-5.
As the second half began, Faversham aimed to solidify their dominant position in the game and with the assistance of some exemplary kicking to touch, they were able to do so. The physicality or Stott, S. Jaynes and Mcdermott, coupled with the tireless work of Meadows, Kingdon and Dodge at the breakdown left Whitstable unable to cope. Faversham won a penalty on the edge of the 40m line which was superbly dispatched by Payne for 3 points.
After a string of errors from the Whitstable defensive line, they were subsequently given a yellow card for a deliberate knock on that arguably prevented a certain try. Whitstable, having not learned from the trials of the earlier portion of the game, once again conceded a try to Egleton’s quickly taken penalty and darting run to score under the posts which was converted.
In spite of a consistent pressure and a wealth of opportunities, Faversham weren’t able to add the bonus point to what was otherwise an exemplary performance and a benchmark for the rest of the season.
Final score – Faversham 23 - 5 Whistable.
Captain, Rhys McDermott commented, “We were on top for most of the game. Our solid set piece and ferocious defence alongside our backs being absolutely formidable with the pace power and reading the game the way they did allowed us to squeeze the life out of Whitstable.”
Rob Dengate, Director of Rugby added: “We displayed excellent character throughout the game, which at times became very heated in its exchanges. We were sharper than them and this was certainly the case in the last 20 minutes when we took the game away from them. A great start to our season after being promoted. We will build this week for a trip to Kings college. If we apply the same character as this week, we will provide a challenge to them.”
Next week sees the return of FRUFC’s 18/19 player of the season Luke Garnham away to King’s College where they will seek to capitalise on their progress and outline their intentions to continue their upwards trajectory.