By Matthew Hickmott
Thanet Wanderers Colts Blue 34 V Thanet Wanderers Colts Gold 15
(Sunday 8th January)
The first weekend of 2023 and our Colts side found themselves with no opposition but chomping at the bit to get out on the field and sweep away the Christmas turkey. With a large squad, even with injuries and abstractions we managed to field two sides to compete against each other.
The weather was actually pretty good for once, not too hot (hard ground) and not too cold (hard ground) and not wet (soggy ground)! With other games taking place, we were lucky to play on the hallowed first team pitch and set about doing it justice.
Prior to kick off the teams were split into two sides, Gold and Blue and both looked impressive. The coaches gave last minute words of wisdom and set the lads off with a last shout of ‘remember they are your team mates, don’t take lumps out of each other! ‘
It was particularly good to see the lads who played for the adult sides yesterday turn out. Sam Molyneux And Joe Sykes, both played for the seconds in their win, Flynn Shingles also played yesterday but could not make today. And Harrison Quittenden made his first team debut in a good performance against one of the favourites for the league.
The game kicked off and split into three thirds of 20 minutes each. The game initially was frenetic with both sides needing to settle down but could be excused as they had not played a game for around a month and all wanted to tackle, ruck, run, catch, kick and score, sometimes all at once!
In the 8th minute after good play in the middle of the field by Isaac Divine, Henry Carruthers with good support enabled their 10, Ollie Jordan Smith to run in the first score and put the Gold side 5-0 up. The game settled into a good even contest with both sides making breaks but excellent defence, especially from Farzam Yazir meant the score stayed the same until right at the end of the third when after good play by the Blue side particularly Tom O’Callaghan, Charlie Panteli and Ben Couldridge and Stanley Ball was released on the wing and showed he has lost none of his speed to score and to make it a tie.
At the end of the first third the score was Thanet Wanderers Colts Blue 5 Thanet Wanderers Colts Gold 5. Very close between the sides and only a couple changes made to make sure we gave opportunity to all but also maintained the structure of the sides.
The Second third kicked off and with it being so finely balanced it was all to play for. Both front rows of Joseph Near, Shaheer Khan and Couldridge for the blues and Toby Hunt, Fred O’Halloran and Dominick Springer were having a great game. Both sides in the scrum were evenly balanced but focused all the same in getting one over on their opposite number.
Literally 1 minute in and after Alfie Reeves had had a couple of great drives stopped, he weaved through( with two hands on the ball) and made a great pass out to Gil Smith for him to score and put the Blues up.The wingers for the day, Ball, Lucas Norwood, Ewan Maclean, Isaac Bright, Harvey Stocker and Jake Croft (all interchanging throughout the game) were seeing plenty of the ball, but also showcasing their defensive side too.
More good play from the Centres Smith, Joe Sykes, Will Mahoney and Carruthers linking play and generally making ground for their respective sides. The second rowers of Josh Maculley, Mustafa Bugren, Archie Kujawinski and Reeves were doing well with making their tackles and showing good craft at the break down. In the 17th minute Jordan Smith picked the ball up again, with plenty to do and went on a stepping frenzy to work his way in to score and to make it all square again.
The Blue team then pushed hard for the lead. Harrison Quittenden at full back was comfortably taking the ball when under pressure and always showing positive front foot rugby. In the last minute of the third, a super break by Near followed up by quick thinking from Finn Hickmott and he ran at the defence, faked a pass and ran in unopposed, to put them 15-10 up.
This third came to a close with the Blue team narrowly winning 15-10. All players had game time by now and it was still being played in a competitive manner but with great result for one another.
The final third started and with both sides still giving everything. Both 8s from each side Hugo Evans and Sam Molyneux were regularly picking and going and making great gains. Hugo having a great battle with older brother Frankie Evans, with both showing they would not back down. A couple of minutes in and another strong run saw Ball run in for his second, 20-10.
Scum half for the golds Zach Ralph was showing not only quick hands but fantastic tackling ability. The Blues were pushing very hard despite some great runs by Reece Davies. In the 8th minute after good line out work and a drive, O,Callaghan crashed over and Smith kicked the extra points. A minute later, and Smith and Quittenden exchanged quick passes and this left Smith a simple try which he then kicked to put the Blues 34-10 up.
Into the last few minutes and the Golds really came back into the game and wanted the the last word. They pushed hard down the wing in front of the club house and this ended with MaCulley in possession of the ball near the line and despite efforts to tackle him, he went over to get the final score.
The result was Thanet Wanderers Colts Blue 34 Thanet Wanderers Colts Gold 15. Both teams played some nice rugby at times, show casing their talents, it also showed the great strength in depth of the squad that the quality was so good.
Across the team today there were a lot of excellent performances throughout the team. But this week the ‘Please Sir’ man of the match has gone to Farzam Yazir. Farzam put in some huge tackles , carried very well and showed that after a few injuries at the tail end of 2022, 2023 has started well. Well done Farzam.
Thanet Wanderers Colts:
Finn HICKMOTT, Gil SMITH ,Isaac DIVINE, Joe Sykes, Henry CARRUTHER, Ollie Jordan Smith, Stan Ball, Harvey STOCKER, Charlie PANTELI , Shaheer KHAN ,Zach RALPH, Toby HUNT, Hugo Evans, Tom O’Callaghan, Fred O’HALLORAN, Josh McCulley, Reece Davies, Ben Couldridge, Lucas Norwood, Dominick Springer, Ewan Maclean, Joseph Near, Alfie Reeves, Jake Croft, Archie Kujawinski, Farzam Yasir, Sam Molyneux, Harrison Quittenden, Mustafa Bugren, Isaac Bright, Frankie Evans, Will Mahoney.