By Colin Whiteley
Thanet Wanderers RUFC 0 – 22 Beccehamian RFC
Mike Morris returned to the tight-head berth with Kurt Pearson as hooker and Lennie Brown started at number eight. Henry Mirams and Louis Marshall were back in the three-quarters where Adam Harrison made his first team debut at inside centre.
Wanderers kicked off down the slope on a lovely afternoon for rugby. Tom Watson set two good early field positions with big clearances. When Wanderers strayed offside, Becc’s attempt at three points failed.
However, with twelve minutes played, incessant pressure from the visitors was rewarded with a try under the posts which was converted for a 7-0 lead. The referee had warned Thanet and after four penalties were conceded in the red zone, Marius Thompson was shown a yellow card for a high tackle. Five minutes later referee Oliver Smith was again reaching for the card and Beccehamian was also shown yellow. After 27 minutes play, Wanderers were slow to react to a quick tap penalty and the visitors were away and clear to score a second converted try and lead 14-0. The visitors continued to press but Wanderers were equal to the challenge with some excellent defence and closed the half on the attack.
Danny Clement took a break at the start of the second half; Mike Whitehead replaced him. Louis Marshall showed strongly early in the second period with a fine break and offload. Beccs knocked on as they went for a quick penalty. Thompson took a break; Harrison Quittenden came off the bench as full back in his stead.
When Wanderers were penalised for not releasing, Beccs kicker increased their lead to 17-0. Thanet were increasingly gaining the upper hand in the battle up front but after a dominant scrum the kick ahead was just too strong for the chasers. Both teams were regularly penalised and it was difficult to build any momentum. Warren Riddell-Bloomfield and Adam Harrison were now replaced by Thompson and Steve Jones.
Time was running out when Walton was obstructed by the remaining defender as he chased his kick ahead with just a penalty the sanction. Beccs hit back with a third try that was not converted as the visitors raised their game. The home defence did well to deny Beccs a bonus point try in the remaining minutes but the game had already been lost 22-0.
Coaches will be disappointed by the high number of penalties conceded that made for a stop start game which didn’t make it a good spectacle. Wanderers will certainly aim to reduce their number in the games ahead. There were promising features to build on with a strong defensive performance in the centre from Henry Mirams and newcomer Adam Harrison but another game without scoring any points will be a major concern for Thanet’s coaches.
The pack did well to contain their opponents and no-one did more than lock forward Jack Startin to help Wanderers recover the initiative in the tight which was backed with a fine defensive display. He was Wanderers man of the match.
Next Wanderers will travel to Charlton Park in South London. They are currently in third place, so another tough game is in prospect (Kick Off 2pm)
SQUAD: Danny Clement, Kurt Pearson, Mike Morris, Jack Startin, Andy Letts, Warren Riddell-Bloomfield, Noah Dann, Lennie Brown, Tom Walton, Nick Herbert (c), Louis Marshall, Adam Harrison, Henry Mirams, Andrew Dolan, Marius Thompson. SUBS Mike Whitehead, Steve Jones, Harrison Quittenden.
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