By Colin Whiteley
Crowborough 33-7 Wanderers
It was good to see Charlie Knight back for just his fifth appearance of the season for the Wanderers. Alex Tuddenham was back too as a front-row sub after over a year out with shin splints and Ed Plori stepped up to turn out for the first XV at Number eight for the first time in many seasons.
Many spectators who had enjoyed the excellent sponsors’ lunch were still seeking their best viewing spot as the Crows kicked off and were quick to pounce on a loose ball to touch down and with a good conversion take a 7-0 lead.
The Wanderers were attacking through their backline at every opportunity, but the visitors’ defence was good. Finally, with thirty minutes played, some classy handling among the home backs was initiated by skipper Nick Herbert in an interchange with Charlie Knight and when halted just short of the Crows’ line, the pack took over with Jack Startin touching down. Marius Thompson made a good conversion to level things at 7 all. Nick Herbert, who had nearly lost his own head to a high tackle, that was not seen earlier by the unsighted referee, Simon Bingham, was now the transgressor and received a yellow card. The drive from the subsequent penalty brought another forwards try from the Crows that opened a 7-14 lead that quickly became 7-21 when the Crows’ scrum half was quick to grab another loose ball and dart through the home defence.
Wanderers were playing with the advantage when flanker Steve Jones made a break that took him close to the visitors’ line but he was brought down just short and the line-out from the pending penalty was not straight and there was no change to the score at half-time.
The visitors started the second half with energy and ambition and a big tackle from Thompson was needed to halt their advance. Four minutes later Crowborough, whose pack had a good day, again drove over under the posts to chalk up the try bonus point. This was soon followed by a similar try that went unconverted but with no further score the 7-33 score stood until the game ended. Charlie Panteli made a confident debut from the bench playing at ten. He replaced injured Henry Mirams and joined fellow colt, Sam Molyneux. Wanderers could find no further score during the remaining twenty minutes, despite having periods of dominance, and the final score remained 33-7 to Crowborough.
Wanderers’ man of the match, chosen by Thanet’s coaches, was front-row forward Alex Tuddenham who played out of position and put in an excellent performance after being unable to train or play rugby recently because of shin splints. Crowborough chose a back who they saw as Wanderers’ Man of the match and it was Marius Thompson, who kept probing and gave everything towards his team’s effort.
The Crows will approach their run in to the league’s close of four home matches confidently. Wanderers have three matches remaining, starting next Saturday with a re-arranged match at fifth-placed Heathfield and Waldron (Kick Off 2.30). A limited number of spaces are available on the team bus please contact team manager Michelle Mclean if you would like to travel to support the Wanderers.