Seven tries from Wanderers send them through to second round of Papa John Trophy

Sam Taylor is quick into the tackle

By Colin Whiteley

Cranbrook RFC 17-49 Thanet Wanderers RUFC

There were four changes to the Wanderers starting XV compared to last Saturday’s team with Jack Brewer in at tight-head prop for Gully Goodall who was not available.

Tom Walton returned, at scrum-half, after illness, with Callum Doody switching to inside centre and Harrison Quittenden was in for Louis Marshall on the left wing. Veterans, Danny Clement, Andy Letts and Ed Plori missed the opportunity to contest the final of the Spitfire Gold Shield with their teammates from Thanet Vets in order to play important roles in this fixture.

Wanderers Vets defeated Tunbridge Wells Vets in their Final by 33-7. Cranbrook had defeated Wanderers on their ground at the end of February whilst Thanet had also won at home and were convincing winners of this ‘decider.’

Dennis Davies and Tom Walton at a breakdown

Conditions were ideal for running rugby and the early urgency was with the Wanderers. Dominance in the scrum was also with them and a good attack from a scrum thirty metres out ended with young tight-head Jack Brewer touching down for his first, first team try. Charlie Panteli converted and Thanet had made a good start.

Team Captain, Sam Taylor, was setting a great example and after 25 minutes he scored the second try after a wonderful individual break. Panteli was again on target and Thanet were ahead 14-0. There was good support for the Thanet team and those supporters were treated to some attractive running and driving rugby from their team. With ten minutes to half time, Taylor again broke free and ran down the in-goal area to finish off under the posts and make Panteli’s conversion an easy one. Leon Doody had been an early replacement for Lewis Downer and his big tackle halted a dangerous Cranbrook break so that the score remained at 21-0 to Wanderers at half time.

Wanderers again started a half well and after three second half minutes a well-executed little ‘dink’ through from Panteli was seized on by Max Rogers who was all determination as he scored under the posts for Panteli to add the extras and make it 28-0.

Brett Scott soars high at a lineout

Cranbrook hit back quickly and scored a nicely constructed try that went unconverted. Clement took a well-earned break and was replaced by the third Doody brother, Hooker Regan, whose work on his line-out throws is showing benefits for his team.

As the hour mark neared, Warren Riddell-Bloomfield finished off strongly a much celebrated try after Walton’s searing break had opened up the home defence.  Panteli’s conversion was good and Thanet led 35-5.  Cranbrook took advantage of some confusion in the Thanet defence to touch down their second try for 35-10.

Wanderers two young props, Brewer and Luke Browning now found themselves in the clear but were thwarted by a young Cranbrook defender who got back to tackle Luke as he gathered speed and set off for the distant line.

Cranbrook again came back and some sharp handling brought them a converted try to make the score 35-17. Wanderers snuffed out any possibility of a home comeback with two excellent tries from their outside centre, Max Rogers. The first came from a line out where Wanderers made as if to drive over before quickly switching the ball wide for Rogers to cut a good line before touching down. Five minutes later Rogers claimed his hat-trick with a lovely balanced run and a couple of dummies sold before he touched down near the posts. Panteli converted both for a 49-17 win for the Wanderers.

Head Coach Elliot Blackmore and Defence Coach Kieran Hopper have faced many setbacks during the past league season and it was great to see many of their strategies coming together in the recent performances.

Hat trick Scorer Max Rogers

Panteli was one of the many young Wanderers who produced defining performances. His 100% conversion record and all-round performance was excellent throughout the match. In the second row, Dennis Davies has grown with each match he has played in the company of the experienced Andy Letts whose work rate was again immense. Brett Scott’s experience was evident as he was at his defensive best today and Henry Mirams was an assured final line of defence for the Thanet squad who all can be happy with their performances.

The second round of the Papa John trophy will be played next Saturday at St Peters with Wanderers at home to Ashford. Kick off will be at 2.30pm. Please do support the Wanderers and help them to progress further in the competition.