By Matthew Hickmott
Thanet Wanderers Colts 14 V Beckenham 14
After having games called off and teams pulling out of fixtures it has been a problem getting game time this season. Thankfully Beckenham stepped up and we had a game! Thanet travelled the long journey but it was worth it as our hosts were as always great to spend time with. We went with a squad of 21 but did not take those that played for the firsts and seconds on Saturday.
The game kicked off with Thanet kicking to the opposition and immediately Finn Hickmott and Isaac Divine got the chance to show their relentless tackling ability. Once won back nice hands shown by Tom O’Callaghan, Zach Ralph and Owen Read and great forward moving rugby moved us up the pitch, but Beckenham showed some excellent defence too.
Captain Max Anderson was having a super game, in defence and attack but also marshalling his team and keeping up a difficult dialog with the referee. Fellow front rowers Shaheer Khan and Fred O’Halloran were strong in the pack and O’Halloran cut some great lines during the game. Beckenham’s 10 showed very good ability in his kicking game and tested Farzam Yazir at fullback, and when needed Yasir’s tackling ability was faultless too.
In the 18th minute a great break that started in our half with Frankie Evans and Sam Stevenson, and was progressed on the wing first by O’Callaghan and then a great line by Gil Smith that ended with Hugo Evans running in to get the first score and Charlie Panteli kicked from wide for the extra two.
In the 22nd minute, great hands across the team staring with Khan and eventually releasing Stan Ball to run in the second try which again was smoothly slotted over by Panteli. The latter part of the half played out with Thanet dominating but probably needing to add the third to feel totally satisfied but still some brilliant play.
At the end of the first half the score was Thanet Wanderers Colts 14 Beckenham 0. Thanet had played well but knew they could improve and did not want to take their foot off the gas. We had six replacements to get on to give all game time and so the changes were made.
The second half kicked off and with how Thanet had played the first there was great optimism that a very good performance could be on the cards. Archie Kujawinski and Joseph Near wasted no time once on in making some big hits. Both wingers saw plenty of the ball, The experienced Will Mahoney and newer to the game Lucas Norwood.
Both Alfies were also introduced with Alfie Pearce showing fleet footed movement and Alfie Reeves powerful defence splitting runs.
In the 19th minute with Thanet camped out on the Beckenham line, looking like we were going to extend our lead, it was a simple mistake and perhaps the first drop in concentration that ended with the opposition turning the situation on its head to run in a try over a full length of the pitch which was converted 14-7.
Now, Thanet probably put themselves under a bit of pressure for a few minutes that ended in a bizarre moment. Beckenham kicked forward with the ball going into the try zone and to all , including our players standing over it and the on looking Beckenham parents that the ball had gone dead but an opposition player touched it and shouted loudest and to everyone’s amazement it was given. This was then converted to tie the scores.
With around 10 minutes left Thanet still played the better rugby and looked the most likely to score but for various reasons and I’m being diplomatic when I say that, it was not to be and the third try did not come before the final whistle.
The result was Thanet Wanderers Colts 14 Beckenham 14. Thanet played some good rugby today, perhaps could have been a bit more clinical and individuals will need to learn from those mistakes but nonetheless a decent performance in testing circumstances!
Thanet Wanderers Colts:
Max Anderson (C), Fred O’hallohan, Shaheer Khan, Hugo Evans, Frankie Evans, Finn Hickmott, Isaac Divine, Gil Smith, Sam Stevenson, Charlie Pantelli, Owen Read, Tom O’Callaghan, Zach RALPH, Stan Ball, Farzam Yasir, Alfie Reeves, Will Mahoney, Archie Kujawinski, Alfie Pearce, Joseph Near ,Lucas Norwood.