Sat 10 Mar 2018

Southend RFC
Tunbridge Wells RFC
SOUTHEND SAXONS.  8.     TUNBRIDGE WELLS RFC 1 st XV.    45.

Wells returned to action on Saturday after a three week lay off to play Southend Saxons -who were laying second to bottom of the league- on a playable but greasy pitch at Warners Bridge Park.
Wells supporters were delighted to see skipper Chas Spence in the starting line up having been out with a head injury since the 20 th January. Dave Allen returned after a minor knee operation and Academy product 18 year old Toby Talbot made his debut at 6.
Wells started at pace against a spirited but youthful Saxons side with player coach Allen following up a charge down to score an unconverted try in the corner after 2 minutes 0-5
Within 5 minutes after more pressure Frank Reynolds kicked ahead for left wing Matt Spicer to chase to the corner for a second try again unconverted 0-10.
During the first quarter the Wells pack and particularly the front row of Ben Williams, Josh Pankhurst and Brendan Crosilla were dominant and it only took another 10 minutes of possession for Wells to score their third try as a drive from the pack saw the ball released to Matt Spicer for his second try with Frank Reynolds adding the extras 0-17.
The second quarter, however, saw some over kicking from Wells, the front row receiving minute attention from ex - professional player and referee Richard Haughton and a resurgence from Southend who enjoyed more ball and when they had to defended stoutly. Half time came with Wells still 0-17 in the lead but having to think tactically about where the bonus try would come from.

The first ten minutes of the second half followed a similar pattern as Wells struggled to get their set piece possession cleanly and Southend continued to gain a good share of the ball. This section of the game culminating in them scoring a try on the right after a long miss pass to the wing where Franco Maggiolo - on as a sub - scored an unconverted try 5-17.

It was from this point that Wells shrugged off any first and early second half lack of accuracy as on 52 minutes full back Ryan Taylor- Dennehy created an outstanding try taking a great angle from 45 metres out to go in under the posts and for Frank Reynolds to convert. 5-24 to add the 13th try bonus of the season so far.
From this stage of the game Wells were in command as they scored further tries on 55 minutes as Mike Hathaway finished off a surging drive 5-31, on 64 minutes when Hathaway turned provider to get the ball away to Mike Doherty who went through the gap to score at the posts and on 80 minutes when Matt Spicer scored his hat trick after receiving an outstanding flip pass from Nick Doherty all converted by Frank Reynolds to bring the try tally to 7.
The Saxons whilst outplayed for much of the last period never gave up and were rewarded for field position with a penalty from full back Tom Ramsey.

If the front row had helped to establish Wells dominance in the first half it was the mobility of the back five in the pack and the distribution of the Wells half backs who won the second. Mike Hathaway and Dave Allen had outstanding games and Nick Doherty, Christian Earle and Toby Talbot were not far behind.
Wells maintain 6 th place out of 14 sides in London and SE Premier with five games to go and welcome 7 th placed Dorking for  a snow postponed game KO 3 ‪00 PM at St‬ Marks ‪next Saturday‬.

Squad: Ben Williams, Josh Pankhurst, Brendan Crosilla, Kyle McGarvie, Karl Straeche, Mike Hathaway, Christian Earle, Toby Talbot, Dave Allen, Nick Doherty, Chas Spence, Frank Reynolds, Matt Spicer, Mike Doherty, Blaise Salle, Max Hobbs, Ryan Taylor- Dennehy, Max Douch.



Roger Clarke.

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