A tie for Thanet Wanderers Colts

Colts v Medway

Report by Simon Harris

With storm Ciarán slowly disappearing into the distance it was a brave soul who would have predicted any matches this week. Luckily, despite all the rain, the pitch was deemed playable in the morning and a Medway team ventured out and down to meet us at the Rec – the tree outside the Lanthorne seemingly being the only casualty of the high winds.

Medway are one of the strongest teams in the region so Thanet knew that they had a game on their hands, made harder by the fact that Medway brought 28 players and Thanet could only muster three ‘finishers’.

Thanet Colts, however, meant business and this was clearly demonstrated from the kickoff when Finn took the ball and ran directly into his opposite prop number bowling him out of the way with a collision that probably could’ve been heard back in Medway.

Game on. Thanet were playing some excellent offloading rugby and making ground against Medway who were tackling well and seemingly keeping them at bay. A new half back combination was in place with Rasmus at scrum-half and our first Belgian player of the year, Luca, playing his first game at Thanet.  This new combination was moving the ball well and allowed for Freddie playing at inside centre to partner with Vinny at outside centre.

With the forwards bulldozing a path, the ball moved through this back combination to Jem on the wing on the halfway line. With a huge amount to do he sidestepped inside to beat his opposite number and in space here, then skipped past covering defence and, with the fullback seemingly falling off him, he raced unopposed under the posts. The conversion was successfully taken by Luca our new Belgium fly off (7-0).

Medway were trying to keep themselves out of trouble by kick clearing but caught Noah Osgood on top form as he dealt with every ball cleanly and ran back making ground every time. The Thanet pack doing well to support Thanet retaining possession again.

Thanet were now flying and seemingly unstoppable as they pounded the Medway line. The next try came from Vinnie with a characteristic strong run through the middle of the park, 12-0. Thanet were winning the contact area with strong runs from all the forwards allowing quick ball to be maintained and it wasn’t long before usual try scorer Freddie bounded over for the third try duly converted again by Luca (19-0).

Medway seemingly didn’t know what had hit them and from their supporter’s reaction weren’t expecting to be this far behind in the match in the first half. The game could’ve been potentially closed out as another break from the big man Alfie saw Dillon take the ball at pace and, had his chip through bounced nicely for him, was easily in under the posts. Unfortunately, the ball would make a difference between scoring or not for us and in this case the ball bounced just out of reach of Dillon with the line at his beck and call.

Little did the Thanet support know how crucial this miss would turn out to be. Thanet turned around into the second half with the wind behind them and seemingly more tries to be had. We continued in the same vein in control however no tries were forthcoming. To be hypercritical, Thanet’s kicking game was letting them down slightly and the Medway fullback was having a similar success to Noah from the first half in retaining the ball and running it back into the Thanet defence.

Thanet were clearly tiring as Medway with the luxury of many substitutes had fresh legs with which to attack as numbers defending the blindside got shorter and shorter. It was only a matter of time till Medway generated a two on one and scored in the corner.

Thanet, galvanised and determined not to let this go, continued to pummel the Medway line and again attacked through the big forwards. Eventually the ball spread wide but disaster as Medway intercepted the ball in their own 22 and the player ran the length of the pitch to score under the posts.

It seemed impossible that Medway could get anything from this game in the last 10 minutes but now they had the opportunity to draw level if they could score one last try in the last two minutes. Panic had spread in the Thanet team but when Owen had turned the ball over at a ruck everyone thought this would end the game. However, some indecisiveness at the back and strong rucking meant Medway again gained control and managed to force themselves over in the corner. Full credit to the Medway fullback who under pressure kicked the conversion from quite a distance to level the scores.

This was the final play of the game, and it will be disappointing to Thanet that they let such a commanding lead slip away. The coaches need to look at the team’s game management especially in the last quarter.  However, this was a strong Medway side and perhaps with a few more players coming back from injury on the bench or a little bit more fitness we could’ve maintained our dominance.

Man of the match could’ve gone to several players however Noah Osgood had a very strong game at fullback especially under the high ball.

Next week sees our first league game against Dartfordians at home and we need a strong side and numbers to ensure victory.

Colts Squad

1Finn T 2. Fred O 3. Ollie P 4. Alfie R 5. Owen L 6. Charlie P 7. Finn H 8. Dillon S 9. Raz W 10. Luka 11. Zac O 12. Freddie D 13. Vinnie P 14. Jem H 15. Noah O 16. Josh M 17. Joe N 18. Mustafa B 19. Harry H 20. Joseph K