By Colin Whiteley
Thanet Wanderers 10 – 34 Bromley RFC
Prior to the match three debutants, Tyler Cawood, Lewis Downer and Mike Whitehead, were presented with their match shirts by Club Chairman Chris Panteli.
It was good to see Kieran Wright back in a Thanet first XV shirt but the dismal news on the fitness front again limited the selection pool. This was exacerbated in the warm up when Sam Rolfe, who expected to return to first team duties at full back, pulled up. Marius Thompson moved to full back and Downer started in a re-jigged back line. Harrison Leach was called up from Deal, where he was playing for the 2s, to complete Wanderers 1st XV squad.
Playing up the slope, with the wind, Wanderers dominated the opening minutes but conceded a penalty and Bromley cleared that early danger and established themselves in Wanderers half. The visitors’ pack used a series of pick and goes to open the scoring and minutes later converted a penalty to open up a 10 point lead.
Thompson’s long clearance showed the strength of the wind as it was gathered by the gusting wind and bounced over the dead ball line meaning a restart on Thanet’s ten metre line. Louis Marshall, on Wanderers left wing was tackling strongly and forcing his way over the gain line but the visitors’ defence was sound. The referee was knocked over conjuring up visions of the abandoned match at Heathfield for Wanderers but thankfully James Goksaran was able to continue and complete a good match.
Nick Herbert reduced the deficit to 10-3 with a penalty when a Bromley hand was active in the ruck but two minutes later a converted try put the visitors 17-3 ahead. With half time approaching, a Bromley penalty set them around twenty metres out and a try followed wide left to give them a 22-3 lead at the interval.
Just four minutes after the restart, Bromley took advantage of some soft Thanet tackling to register their bonus point try and lead by 27-3. Tyler Cawood had made his debut in the second row earlier but now the genial giant had was forced off with a hand injury which could sideline him for some time. He has recently returned to the Thanet area after army service which included being on the bench for the Army and Navy game.
Inside centre, Cam Pond, became the next to withdraw after being knocked out and around the hour mark Bromley crossed for a fifth try. Five minutes later some quality handling amongst Thanet’s backs tacked from right to left before Tom Walton, who was playing in the centre, ghosted through, in his inimitable way, to touch down under the posts for Thompson to convert and make the score 34-10 to the visitors.
Thanet worked hard to reduce the deficit but will be disappointed that they could not find another score against a Bromley side who had had their own share of injuries and whose seniors in the scrum were clearly struggling. Credit goes to determined defences that there was no further score and Wanderers had suffered another heavy defeat.
Leach played well after reaching the ground just before half-time and blindside Warren Riddell-Broomfield worked incredibly hard in defence where his example was inspirational. Skipper Nick Herbert also led by example with fine tackles but today’s man of the match was Kieran Wright who switched from the second row to the back row and had a great game in both positions. Work commitments may limit his availability but it was good to see him back.
This week Wanderers are on the road again travelling to Beccehamian who have had a good start to the season, defeating Bromley by 48-10 and also handing Old Alleynians their only defeat of the season. As ever, please support if you can.