By Colin Whiteley
BROMLEY RFC 27-0 THANET WANDERERS RUFC
There were six changes to Thanet’s starting fifteen including a totally changed front row. Noah Dann moved from Number eight to inside centre, there was a first start for Harrison Quittenden at full back and Kris Finneran was back on the bench.
Despite the heavy rain of the previous week, the pitch was in amazingly good condition. A strong diagonal wind made for tricky conditions and after just two minutes, a lost line-out led to Bromley’s opening try which was well converted. As Wanderers settled, Marius Thompson who played at ten, and his half-back partner Tom Walton, both made good use of the wind to set attacking positions.
Connor Brown was called back for a forward pass when heading for the line but his powerful carries were causing Bromley problems. Bromley scored a second try after twenty-two minutes which was not converted. Jack Startin broke and offloaded well and Thanet’s defence survived a strong workout. However, in the third minute of added time, Bromley scored their third try which could not be converted from wide right, but they led 17-0 at the interval.
There was a lively start to the second-half and in the first six minutes the hosts stretched their lead with two tries, neither of which were converted. Dann had played well in his unaccustomed role in the centre but now was forced off after a knock; Lennie Brown joined the pack as Connor Brown moved from the back-row to the centre.
Thanet used two penalties well to set attacking opportunities that were lost to subsequent infringements. Thompson had put in a strong defensive performance but limped off to be replaced by Tom Stevens whose direct running stretched the home defence. Andy Letts had put in another top shift, he then took a break with around twenty minutes remaining. Finneran replaced him for his first appearance of the season.
Quittenden’s confidence had grown during the match and the young full back caught and kicked well to lift pressure. Wanderers were building attacks more patiently but errors caused them to break down before the line was crossed. Both sides were competing hard and after a scuffle a home player was shown yellow. Wanderers could not get on the scoreboard, despite the extra man, but maintained an unbending defence to the end that ensured there was no further score. This was against a Bromley side who, during this game, scored the best try that Andy Letts says has been scored against him in his long career with the Wanderers.
Team Captain Sam Taylor was supporting from the sideline and making hopeful noises about a return perhaps before this season ends.
It was a difficult task for Head Coach, Mike Pond, and his fellow coaches to nominate Wanderers’ man of the match. Connor Brown, who is easing himself back to full fitness, showed how much his powerful presence (if not his kicking!) has been missed and great determination in defence was shown by all of the Wanderers’ squad. Mike Whitehead played out of position in the demanding tight-head prop position and displayed outstanding resilience and courage before being forced off with just ten minutes of the game remaining. His willingness to play in the position made it possible for Thanet to avoid forfeiting the fixture and being deducted five points. The player himself was however unhappy with his playing performance and it was scrum-half Tom Walton who was again at the heart of Wanderers better attacking moments and who was superb in defence who was adjudged to be Wanderers man of the match.
Next Saturday 21st January, Beccehamian are the visitors to St Peters (kick off 2 PM). The West Wickham based team is enjoying an excellent season and is in second place in the league. Wanderers lost the away fixture 69-3, their heaviest defeat of the season, so a tough game is likely. Your support would be very welcome.
SQUAD: Danny Clement, Regan Doody, Mike Whitehead, Andy Letts, Jack Startin, Warren Riddell-Bloomfield, Steve Jones, Connor Brown, Tom Walton, Marius Thompson, Callum Doody, Noah Dann, Nick Herbert (c), Drew Dolan, Harrison Quittenden. SUBS- Lennie Brown, Kris Finneran, Tom Stevens.