Close contest but Wanderers are worthy winners of  Kent Plate

Kurt Pearson with Chris Gregory in support

By Colin Whiteley

Thanet Wanderers RUFC 2s 27-26 Beccehamian RFC 2s

Wanderers kicked off into a very stiff breeze and went about their task with a purpose. Just a couple of minutes in, Beccehamian strayed offside and, from wide right, Charlie Panteli converted the difficult opportunity.

Wanderers had the better of the early exchanges and with 13 minutes played Panteli’s penalty set a line-out around 18 metres out. Ed Plori led a spirited drive by the pack that went close before back row Ben Cannon powered his way over. Panteli’s conversion was again good from near touch and Wanderers led 10-0.

An attempted penalty clearance by the Beccs was returned with interest by Leon Doody but winger Ellis Taylor was now shown yellow. Minutes later Cannon followed him into the referee’s notebook and Wanderers were down to thirteen players.  The opposition forwards seized the initiative and the inevitable try followed with a good conversion to make the score 10-7. Taylor returned and Wanderers went close whilst playing with an advantage and, following a breakdown,  Panteli took another three points from near the touchline to make the score 13-7.

Cannon returned and Plori again led the break only to be floored by a tap tackle when he had the line in view. The loose ball was picked up by the Beccs and some strong defence initially kept Wanderers’ line intact before the ball was spread wide and Beccs were within a point at 13-12. In the closing minutes of the half, Plori was the third Wanderer to be shown yellow in the opening half.

Ed Plori with Leaon Doody

At the start of the second half, Thanet ‘s second row pair of Chris Gregory and Matt Jacobs took a break to be replaced by Alfie Reeves and Brandon Dhesi and Will Mahoney came on for Ellis Taylor on the wing. Plori soon returned after his ten minutes in the bin. Panteli was aiming for points at every opportunity and his penalty attempt from in his own half just slid by the post. Wanderers pressure now drew penalties from the Beccs and established Wanderers near to their opponents’ line.

Cannon was soon battling to force his way over and finally the defence buckled and he claimed his second try and Panteli’s boot was on target to ease Thanet into an eight point lead. It wasn’t long before Wanderers number six recorded his hat trick of tries.

It was good to see young Alfie Reeves involved in the build-up when he made metres before chipping ahead for Cannon to score that third try. Panteli extended the lead to 27-12.

Joint Captains Joe Carlier and Tom Stevens with their trophies

James Whowell joined the fray in the front row but Brandon Dhesi became the fourth Wanderer to be shown yellow with Wanderers down to fourteen men for the closing minutes. A converted try to Beccs three minutes later made the score 27-19 but great defence from the Wanderers kept their line intact until the final play of the match when Beccs again crossed for a converted try with the final score 27-26 to the Wanderers.

Hat trick hero Ben Cannon was Wanderers’ man of the match with fine performances too from fellow back rowers Ed Plori and Jake Mcgee with hooker Kurt Pearson another active force in loose play. Charlie Panteli’s kicking was crucial with a harvest of twelve points in testing conditions but everyone played an important role in the winning of the plate.

Thank you to referee  Jonathon Wraight and his touch judges who were the on field team of ‘Miked Up’ Officials.

On field Captain Joe Carlier and Team Captain Tom Stevens collected the trophies from the Kent RFU Officials, thank you to them too, and the team could finally  join their first XV and club supporters to start the celebrations.