By Colin Whiteley
Canterbury 19 – 12 Thanet Wanderers
Wanderers pre-season preparation has been curtailed by the hard pitches, so the opportunity to play a game on the 4G pitch at Simon Langton Boys GS was welcomed by Thanet’s senior squad and their coaches.
Thanet opened strongly and dominated early exchanges. On ten minutes, a penalty took Wanderers deep into the opposition 22 and despite the loss of the line-out, a powerful subsequent scrum drove the Canterbury pack off their ball and over their try line for scrum half Tom Walton to touch down wide left. Sam Rolfe’s conversion attempt was wide.
On 18 minutes Canterbury finally made their way into Thanet’s half but Wanderers’ defence was sound. Ten minutes later, Thanet’s dominant pack set good position wide left and No 8 Lenny Brown broke away to power over for the second try. Sam Rolfe made a good conversion for Wanderers to lead 12-0. There was no further score before the whistle sounded to end a very encouraging first half for Thanet.
Both sides made changes for the second period and the home side had clearly strengthened as the early plays demonstrated. Wanderers defence remained good but Warren Riddell-Broomfield was shown yellow after ten minutes for not rolling away and a strong Canterbury drive from the resulting line-out opened their scoring. Dan Hill landed a good conversion to make the score 12-7.
As Thanet attacked ten minutes later, an interception set a speedy, substitute winger away for Canterbury and there was no catching him. Hill’s conversion attempt rebounded off the post, so the scores were level at 12 all with around a quarter of the game to play.
A Canterbury drive, with ten minutes remaining, took them over wide left and Hill’s well judged conversion put the hosts ahead 19-12. Wanderers battled hard but could not find their way to the line.
The game gave good game time to 26 of Wanderers’ senior squad, including youngsters getting their first taste of senior rugby. The tackling was first class and augurs well for the season ahead. Head Coach, Mike Pond, was very pleased with the squad’s performance and looks forward to the league season when six of tonight’s notable absentees will be aiming to return to the first team ranks.
Thank you to Canterbury for hosting this worthwhile game and to referee, Steve Matthews for another polished performance.
The decision had been made to postpone the first two scheduled first XV league fixtures, away at Ashford on the 3rd of September and at home to Cranbrook on the 10th. We are now assured that the Ashford pitch is playable and that game will go ahead with a 3 PM kick-off. The players are raring to go so please support.