By Colin Whiteley
Charlton Park RFC 42 – 17 Thanet Wanderers RUFC
There was just one change to Wanderers’ pack with Regan Doody back as hooker. Charlie Panteli returned at outside-half after injury with Marius Thompson moving to fullback for Harrison Quittenden who was not available. The three Doody brothers were today in the first XV squad for the first time with Callum and Leon on the bench.
Both teams have struggled to select a settled side this season as injuries and non availabilities have given their selectors weekly headaches. At kick off, Park were in bottom place in Counties One Kent League with Thanet just one place above. Playing conditions were good, despite the prevailing weather conditions.
A good start was important and it was Wanderers who began the brighter with a series of attacks keeping Park penned in their own half. Ominously, good field position was not turned into points and a penalty attempt in a kickable position bounced back off a post. When Wanderers were penalised for offside, the opening siege was lifted and after sixteen minutes of play, the hosts touched down from their first real attack. There was no conversion but confidence visibly coursed through the host side’s veins.
Panteli was forced off with a leg injury and was replaced by Callum Doody. Wanderers responded in the best possible way when a great turnover at a ruck from Andy Letts sent Marius Thompson away. His chip ahead caused a mistake in Park’s defence and Lewis Downer was at hand to pounce for the touch down. Tom Walton’s conversion gave Wanderers the lead by 7-5 after twenty minutes. Park were quick to regain the momentum that had been growing before Wanderers’ try and, with two quick tries and a conversion, went ahead 17-7.
A sharp interception from Henry Mirams led to Callum Doody touching down in the right-hand corner for Thanet’s second try. There was no conversion but the lead was cut to five points with thirty minutes played. Wanderers survived a Park onslaught for ten minutes in the approach to half time but in time added on, the hosts crossed for the bonus point try that could not be converted, leaving the score at 22-12.
The second half opened with a lengthy exchange of kicks before Thompson put the ball out on the halfway line. Wanderers were then penalised for not rolling, leading to a line out 15 metres out and a try under the posts for Park. The conversion was missed.
Mike Whitehead and Luic Vronink now took a break with Chris Hood and Leon Doody replacing them at loose-head and on the wing. An error in defence led to another try for Park and opened up a 32-12 lead after ten second half minutes. From the restart, Gully Goodall, Wanderers’ excellent tighthead, looked to be clear and haring towards the line, only to be recalled for a penalty to the Park.
A final try for the hosts after 17 minutes of the half was converted for Park to lead 39-12. Wanderers kept their line intact for the remaining quarter of the match and scored a third try in the closing minutes of the game when Leon Doody was the scorer of an unconverted try after good work from Joint Captain, Nick Herbert. Park landed a penalty with the final kick of the game which ended with the score 42-17 in their favour.
Well done to them for their morale raising win.
Wanderers Coaches and players will hope to put this poor performance out of their minds as they prepare to take on high-flying Crowborough in the penultimate game of 2023. (Kick Off 2 PM).
The game is at home and will be preceded by a three course Christmas lunch with an 11.30 AM meet for a 12 noon sit down for just £20 a head. Contact Kelly: [email protected] or 07368 969558