After over 10 years of playing together in the junior rugby ranks theThanet Wanderers Under 18 team concluded their junior rugby careers with an outstanding victory at the Kent County rugby 7`s Finals in Medway on Sunday. The Under 18 squad were crowned Kent champions with a team that contained a number of players who have come through the development system at the club to be become regular first team players this year.
The team cruised through the qualifying group with a mixture of hard tackling defence and high risk attack that took many an opponent by surprise.
The full squad of 11 players played an integral part in ensuring that the team reached the knockout stages of the competition with energy to spare. Scott Ward excelled off the bench to drive home the advantage in the pool games and Joe Payne brought long haired style to the hooking position. Special mention should be made of Harry Royce who constantly stepped up to the task in defence.
In the semi-final against Gravesend the opposition attempted to out-muscle the Thanet team but were unable to break down the aggressive defence of Ethan and Keiran Wright, who excelled in the tackle. Strong work from Matt Short allowed the magician Zak Ward to unleash the adventurous Thanet backs resulting in a Henry Mirams hat-trick of tries. This left Gravesend bemused and shell-shocked from the relentless pressure from the Thanet team.
In the final, Thanet faced a very strong Beccahamians side that expected to win, but once again the constant energy of Toby Rayleigh Strutt and the Wright brothers provided the platform for first team trio of Ward, Short and Mirams to unleash the turbos of Charlie Knight and Jimmy Robinson.
There was no answer to the speed and style of the Thanet backs and the County Champions were crowned with a four try extravaganza from the mercurial Robinson.
The success of the Under 18s has seen all players regularly being part of the senior teams this year and this has provided the club with a plethora of talent at its disposal.
Regular first teamers Short, Ward, Knight and Mirams provided a strong base for success but the outstanding performances of fringe first team players Keiran and Ethan Wright added aggression to the defence.
This was a complete team performance to conclude a junior journey of over 10 years.
Report by Adam Mirams