By Matthew Hickmott
Thanet Wanderers Colts 24 V Sittingbourne 14.
Another week and another game for our Thanet Wanderers Colts, this time a friendly against our good friends Sittingbourne. Wanderers had a full side of players, many playing their first competitive game this season and four their debut game for the club.
Sittingbourne have been struggling for numbers a little this season and so we lent them six of our players that had played in previous weeks to boost them up to a full squad.
The weather could was wet , dark and even more wet. When the lads came out from the changing rooms it was almost a decision whether to change into their trunks and goggles. With a decent crowd again gathered to watch the game, anticipation was high and the lads were extremely grateful for the support especially given the horrible conditions.
The game kicked off and the wet conditions were playing their part with the ball acting like a bar of soap. Early on Owen Read and Captain Dominick Springer had a great couple of territory gaining runs, and were supported by Alfie Pearce and Harvey Stocker.
A fantastic feature this season has been how good our scrums have been and even though it was a virtually different eight this week the result was the same. Front three of Tom Welsh, Sam Bridle and Springer were dominating and at eight for the first time was Shaheer Khan but already showing he was very comfortable with the position.
Harrison Quittenden at Full back took the ball with ease each time it was kicked back into our half. Collecting it and always running hard back at the opposition and always making big gains for the teams. Our two second rowers for the day Clayton Brooks and Reece Davies were both not afraid to get struck in at the breakdowns and both carried the ball well.
In the 10th minute after great work to steal the ball back and good passing by Joseph Near , Alfie Pearce released Alfie Reeves who from a long way out managed to score in the corner to give the home side the lead. Both wingers Brandon Davies and Luca Ruocco Gibson were having chances with the ball in hand but good tackling by the opposition shut them down.
In the 30th minute Thanet pressuring Sittingbourne was paying off. Josh McCulley made a couple of attempts on the line before the ball found its way to Bridle who powered over to score and this was then converted by Quittenden, wanderers were now 12-0 up.
Sittingbourne were always pushing Wanderers with Thanet players Joe Sykes, Sam Molyneux and Finn Hickmott, playing for them, always at the centre of this. The other Thanet lads playing for them, Charlie Panteli was showing his brilliant kicking game, Will Mahoney was always making hard line runs and in the 34 minute Gil Smith anticipated a Thanet kick, charging it down and kicking on. The ball coming off the post and being expertly collected by Smith for him to dive over and it was then converted to reduce the lead.
At half time the score was 12-7 to Wanderers. Wanderers had played well but knew they could have scored more with a little better ball retention but all the new lads were getting great exposure and did not look out of place.
Second half kicked off and two more debuts for the team, Sol Morgan-Walls and Max Weinel were on and both played in several positions, either in the scrum, wing and full back and made a great account of themselves. Sittingbourne raised their levels and in the 42nd minute Mahoney broke free and managed to score which was then converted to put the opposition two points up.
This seemed to spur Thanet on and after good probing runs from Near, Read and Quittenden, Wanderers found themselves in the 48th minute camped out virtually on the Sittingbourne line. From one of these rucks quick thinking from Pearce and he dived over to regain the lead and Quittenden kicked the extra points.
Thanet asserted themselves a little better into the game. Lots of changes were made with players all getting lots of playing time and experiencing different positions. In the 63rd minute the final score of the game came from Thanet with Reeves getting his second of the game to cap a good performance.
The result was Thanet Wanderers 24 Sittingbourne 14. An excellent team performance from the Wanderers boys. With so many playing their first game this season for the club and a good number making their debut, this could have been different but they gelled together very quickly and all getting valuable experience to carry forward into our season.
All the squad again played well and showed what a great sport rugby is and it was played in the true spirit of the game. We had a good few very good candidates for the ‘Please Sir’ Man of the match this week with Dom Springer, Reece Davies, Alfie Pearce, Owen Read and Harrison Quittenden all putting in excellent performances. But this week it has gone to Joseph Near. Joe Really had an all round great display in attack and defence and had his best game to date. Well done Joe.
Thanet Wanderers Colts:
Tom Welsh, Sam Bridle, Dominick Springer (Capt) , Clayton Brooks, Reece Davies, Josh McCulley, Joseph Near, Shaheer Khan, Harvey Stocker, Owen Read, Brandon Davies, Alfie Pearce, Alfie Reeves, Luca Ruocco Gibson, Sol Moegg-Walls, Max Weinel, Ben Couldridge, Fred O’Halloran, Harrison Quittenden.
Also for Thanet but played for Sittingbourne were:
Finn Hickmott, Gil Smith, Sam Molyneux, Joe Sykes, Charlie Panteli, Will Mahoney.