With several players missing and others playing out of position for all, or part of, the game this always going to be a test.
From the outset it was apparent that Thanet’s forwards had a bit more hunger and togetherness than we did and we were under pressure at set piece and in the loose. Despite this we scored first, a try by Jacob Alexander, which went unconverted. Thanet came back strongly and scored 2 tries, 1 of them converted to take a 12-5 lead halfway through the first half.
We were living off scraps, but moving the ball reasonably well, and a good long pass put Jacob into space and in for another try, this time converted by Alex Miller.
Half time 12-12
Within 5 minutes of the second half we were staring down the barrel. Two converted tries meant we were 26-12 down and seemingly out. All of a sudden, our forwards underwent a change of character and started to dominate the opposition. Good forward pressure meant Joseph at 9 was now getting good, clean ball, and good handling resulted in Jacob scoring his Hat -Trick try which was again converted by Alex. Thanet hit back almost immediately with a breakaway try, which fortunately was scored in the corner due to some cracking cover defence. 31-19.
Back we came again, some strong forward play resulting in a converted try for George Whichello. 31-26.The boys realized that they were only 5 points adrift and looking much the stronger team. Heavy defence from Remy Rees-Goddard, Joe Nightingale, Albert Miles and Archie Balkwill was putting real pressure on Thanet and this, coupled with our now-strong scrummaging resulted in another close range try for George, albeit wide of the posts. 31-31. Despite a dodgy angle Alex converted as cool as you like to take us into a 33-31 lead.
We had 10 minutes to hold out. Some cracking defence, highlighted by a massive ‘hit’ by Joe Nightingale enabled us to close the game out and when the final whistle sounded we had run out 33-31 winners. A result borne out of magnificent team spirit and never say die attitude.
A few words of thanks – to everyone who played out of position at any stage of the game without complaining – thank you
to all the parents who took the long trek to Broadstairs – thank you.
and to Thanet for playing a tough, keenly fought game and for being such good hosts - thank you