By Matthew Hickmott
Thanet Wanderers Colts Blue 60 V Dartford Valley 0
The first proper game of 2023 and our Colts side found themselves up against Dartford Valley who were bringing down their Under 17 colts side. Thanet had a squad of 22 players selected, giving all their older lads the weekend off, apart from those that played for the firsts and seconds on Saturday.
The game kicked off and for the first 10 minutes although Thanet were flexing their attacking muscles, they could not get through the valley defence. Initially Owen Read played for the opposition, and was showing great defensive touches. Our initial front three of Ben Couldridge, Shaheer khan and Dominick Springer were being tested by the very sizeable Valley pack.
In the 10th minute Thanet made the breakthrough they deserved. After great rucking by Finn Hickmott and Isaac Divine, which continued throughout the game, eventually Henry Carruthers’s broke free and scored, which Charlie Panteli converted to put the home side 7-0 up.
Couldridge then picked an injury up to his ankle and skipper Max Anderson came on to the field. The new lads Mustafa Bugren and Jake Croft were showing no nerves and getting stuck in. 17 minutes gone and our speed demon Stanley Ball got his chance and took it running in to score with Panteli adding the two. We picked up another injury with Bugren’s match cut short and Archie Kujawinski coming on to replace him.
A few minutes later and brilliant play from Ollie Jordan Smith and Tom O’Callaghan, and Croft received the ball and had the determination to get in the corner for a debut try. Josh McCulley in the second row was making some good runs with the ball gaining important metres.
Scrum half Sam Stevenson was as ever a terror in defence and brilliant in attack, being at the centre of most of the good things the team did well. With three minutes to the half time whistle, a brilliant individual break by Jordan Smith resulted in him scoring and Panteli converting.
At the end of the first half the score was Thanet Wanderers Colts 26 Dartford Valley 0. Thanet had played well but knew they could improve and did not want to take their foot off the gas.
The second half kicked off and we saw Croft go over and play for the opposition, with Read returning to the Wanderers line up. Also coming on we’re Fred O’Halloran, Joseph Near, Hugo Evans and another making his debut was Lucas Norwood.
Thanet continued where they had left off, having attack after attack and not letting up on the defensive duties either. Read and O’Halloran immediately getting some of the ball and making some great territory gaining runs. With five minutes gone, Thanet were awarded a scum and Evans at 8 picked and went and it opened up for him to score, with Jordan Smith converting.
Literally two minutes later the ball was spread wide and Near found himself out on the wing with the ball and he showed a clean pair of heels to all the chasing defenders to score, which Jordan Smith converted. A few minutes later and Ball got his chance to stretch his legs again running in his second to put Wanderers 45-0 up.
Norwood out on the wing showed some great handling and no nerves. Anderson was keeping the pack tight and making big yards himself too. In the 14th minute after some great work at the ruck, Gil Smith cut a great line and carved up their defence to run in Thanets eighth try.
To finish the scoring Carruthers’s scored two more to complete his hat trick the last a brilliant jinking run down the wing. By the end of the game with the opponents picking up injuries we further allowed Panteli, Khan and McCulley to turn out for them. With the score being so wide, the match was finished just over 10 minutes early.
The result was Thanet Wanderers Colts Blue 60 Dartford Valley 0. Both teams played some nice rugby at times, Thanet just having that extra bit of quality across the team.
Thanet Wanderers Colts:
Finn HICKMOTT, Gil SMITH ,Isaac DIVINE, Henry CARRUTHER, Ollie Jordan Smith, Stan Ball, Charlie PANTELI , Shaheer KHAN ,Hugo Evans, Tom O’Callaghan, Fred O’HALLORAN, Josh McCulley, Ben Couldridge, Lucas Norwood, Dominick Springer, Joseph Near, Jake Croft, Archie Kujawinski, Mustafa Bugren, Owen Read, Sam Stevenson, Max Anderson.
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At the end of the first half the Ref should have declared a “No Contest” and abandoned the match!