By Matthew Hickmott
Thanet Wanderers Colts 49 V Dover 7..
Last Sunday our Thanet Wanderers Colts entertained local rival Dover at St Peter’s in a friendly match. Over the last few seasons we have played each other a good few times and it has always been a great encounter between the two sides.
Another Sunday and more rain, the positive being it was not as bad as last week. Dover had made the short trip over to us, but for the second week running we tapped into our large squad to lend them a few players. Some of the older Thanet squad were away at Kent trials and we wished them well.
The game kicked off and in the damp conditions it was making the ball again slippery, but both sides seemed to manage well. Thanet scrums were again very strong, being marshalled well by front three Ben Couldridge, Fred O’Halloran and captain Max Anderson and at eight Hugo Evans.
After some good pressure by Thanet, in the 10th minute they finally got the ball moving through their hands with Finn Hickmott, Sam Stevenson and Charlie Panteli getting the ball out to full back Owen Read who cut a great line to score, which Panteli converted. A fairly even passage followed. Second rowers Zach Ralph and Vinnie Perkins were gaining good meters and closing down play regularly.
In the 22nd minute following more Wanderers pressure and great work by Isaac Divine at the ruck, allowing eventually Hugo Evans to crash over and Panteli converted again. Thanet was at last getting the ball to both wingers Ewan Maclean and Alfie Pearce who were showing glimpses of great skill but were also being thwarted well by the strong Dover defence.
Both Toby Hunt and Sam Molyneux were introduced and both went to work immediately smashing tackles and going in where it hurts! In the last minute of the half Anderson ran a great line and made a massive gain for the team. Dover were penalised, we looked for the advantage but Stevenson took it quickly and passed on to Ollie Jordan Smith who ran into score, Panteli fittingly scoring the last points of the half with the conversion.
At half time the score was 21-0 to Wanderers. Thanet had played well but in the past had perhaps at this point been a little complacent and not ruthless enough and that was there challenge. Two more of our replacements were introduced with Tom O’Callaghan who was just back from injury and Alfie Reeves.
The second half kicked off and as asked Thanet were looking to up their game. With Reeves taking a couple of balls out of the air with confidence and then making a powerful run. O’Callaghan showed his fantastic passing game and dictated play. In the 43rd minute, Panteli saw some space in behind and nudged the ball over and Jordan Smith who read the bounce the best and ran in for his second try. Panteli again converted to add the extra two.
In the 39th minute, following a great steal by Divine in the line out against the throw and the ball found Panteli who kicked on and ran himself and he showed excellent speed and determination to get his fingers to the ball to get the score and then get up and convert it.
In the 56th minute following further dominate play, Evans got free from a pass by Hickmott and ran in to score with Panteli getting his 6th conversion of the day. Literally two minutes later and after a break by Hickmott another well timed pass to Pearce, and he set off on the wing and had to show his speed and movement to score Thanet’s final try which completed a perfect day for Panteli as he converted again.
The last player to get on was Josh Jury. He played out on the wing and although did not see much attacking play, did show some great tackling ability to stop the Opposing winger.
With around 12 minutes to go, Dover kicked for territory and a mistimed Collection allowed their player to catch and run in a try, which was converted. With around 12 minutes to go the Dover coach asked for the game to be finished at that point, which was a shame but was reluctantly agreed to.
The final score was Thanet Wanderers 49 Dover 7,An excellent showing from the Wanderers boys. Very clinical and dominant performance and probably their best of the season so far. A big pat on the back for Shaheer Khan, Tom Welsh and Joseph Near who all played at points today for Dover to get the game ‘on’ and all played well.
All the squad played well today and again showed a real togetherness as a team. We had a few very good candidates for the ‘Please Sir’ Man of the match this week with Ollie Jordan Smith, Isaac Divine, Alfie Pearce and Fred O’Halloran, But it has gone to Charlie Panteli. Not only did he have a great game controlling performance, he scored 19 points and also set up some tries, well done Charlie.
Thanet Wanderers Colts:
Max Anderson (C), Fred O’Halloran, Ben Couldridge, Vinnie Perkins, Finn Hickmott, Isaac Divine, Hugo Evans, Zach Ralph, Ollie Jordan Smith, Toby Hunt, Alfie Pearce, Sam Stevenson, Charlie Panteli, Gil Smith, Ewan McLean, Josh Jury, Alfie Reeves , Tom O’Callaghan, Owen Read.
Also played for the opposition were:
Shaheer Khan, Tom Welsh, Joseph Near.