Wanderers’ improved second half performance cannot prevent  comfortable win for Lions

Thanet's pack at a breakdown

By Colin Whiteley

Deal and Betteshanger Lions RFC 25 – 7 Thanet Wanderers RUFC

There were six changes to Thanet’s starting XV compared to those who started last week’s game against Dartfordians. Veterans Danny Clement and Andy Letts were missing due to illness or injury and Marius Thompson was on international duty for Norway in Latvia. Cam Pond came in for Henry Mirams in the centre and it was good to see Antony Theodosiou back on the wing after missing a couple of seasons through injury.  Luke Browning and Reagan Doody were back on front row duty.

Wanderers kicked off and quickly threatened the opposition line only to concede a penalty and lose their attacking position.

The Lions made no mistake when they converted good field position into points through smart handling to take an early 7-0 lead. Warren Riddell-Bloomfield made a big tackle to prevent another try minutes later but the Lions went further ahead with a penalty and after ten minutes led 10-0. Winger Will Mahoney made a great chase and won a penalty at the subsequent breakdown. Cam Pond took a quick tap and go and went close before Wanderers were again penalised allowing the hosts to make a long clearance.

Double tackle for Wanderers from Gully Goodall and Warren Riddell-Bloomfield

Deal extended their lead with with an unconverted try for their winger who was left with an unopposed path to the line. The conversion attempt rebounded from an upright to make the score 15-0. Harrison Quittenden combined well with Theodosiou and it took a couple of home defenders to haul the winger down.

The referee, Ian Barter, decided that Riddell Bloomfield had not used his arms sufficiently in a tackle and he was shown a yellow card. Deal’s speculative chip was nicely weighted and was not dealt well with in the Thanet in goal area,  allowing the Lions to race in and touch down for an unconverted try. The hosts pushed hard for their fourth try but Goodall’s strong tackle was typical of his and the pack’s big defensive shift. Quittenden cleared deep into the home half with a penalty but a double movement with the line-out throw brought Deal another penalty and the clearance meant the first half score stayed at 20-0 to the Lions.

Mahoney took a break at the start of the second half, Tom Stevens and Hoani French joined the contest. Wanderers started the half well and after seven minutes, a strong drive earned a penalty and   the follow up drive ended with Wanderers number seven and joint captain, Sam Taylor claiming his fifth try of the season. Louis Marshall revealed another talent with a nicely struck conversion to see Thanet reduce the deficit to 20-7. The next score was clearly important and seven minutes later Deal’s ten produced a powerful run to cross for the unconverted bonus point try.

Joint captains Taylor and Nick Herbert were great role models as they urged the team to raise their game for the final quarter. Riddell-Bloomfield took a break with Kurt Pearson replacing him. Minutes remained when Wanderers young scrum-half, Leon Doody suffered a head injury and had to leave the field. Quittenden took over as scrum half. A fine penalty from Herbert had set Wanderers well in Deal’s half but moments later there was an urgent call for treatment for French who was down with what appeared to be a broken ankle, in a position on the pitch from where he could not be moved.

Centres, Cam Pond and Louis Marshall hurry to defend.

The referee, who had officiated with plenty of calm common sense throughout, suggested the game be ended a few minutes early and, with captains in agreement, Deal were declared the winners by 25-7.

Next Saturday November  18, rivalries are renewed with Dover, following our near neighbours’  promotion last season. The match will be preceded by a Sponsors’ and Vice-Presidents’ Lunch which is free to all Sponsors and Vice Presidents. Kick off is at 2.30pm. at St Peters.