Match Report: TWRFC 1XV 36 – Marlborough 1XV 21
Match report by Tim McCabe
The sun was shining and over 200 spectators were at St Marks eager to witness the first game of the season. Marlborough are new to the league and had an impressive previous two seasons with successive promotions. It was going to be a tough test.
The whistle blew and the game got underway with Wells defending the try zone, nearest to the clubhouse.
From kick off, Wells were immediately put under pressure by a young fit looking Marlborough side, the forwards were rampaging from an early lineout in the Wells 22. The ball was shipped out and the big boys attacked, punching the line. Eventually, a looping high kick went over into the try area and the mobile fullback Niall Pollinger, dotted down for the first five points in the corner. Score 0-7 with the conversion from their kicking scrum half, Will Grant.
Wells were playing at some early high tempo and quickly replied within six minutes, with a play right, then left, for a well worked try with 10 minutes gone. Ben Isbell the scorer, George Montgomery (Monty) with the conversion. Score honours were even at 7 apiece.
From the restart Wells seemed to be able to keep possession and found themselves in a challenging strong position. After 7 minutes, Wells crashed over from a scrum push over and with a simple Monty punt, the home side were now 14-7. Dave Thornton, Wells’s burly No 8 the scorer.
Wells started to work harder and fortunately defended well against a Marlborough line out, close to their 22. The throw misfired and Wells stole possession. Play moved back to the opposing half. Wells started to dominate.
The last highlight of the half, which buoyed the crowd, with 5 minutes to go, involved Ben Whale, the ‘Wells’ talismanic 7. He received the ball in broken play and then decided to proceed in a giant ‘human-fly-swatting’ rampage, literally brushing off four (yes 4!) of the oppositions tackle attempts. Quite extraordinary!
The first half ended, with the game thankfully paused for a re-hydrate and tactical chat. Wells walked off to the changing room, whilst the Marlborough team stayed out, to no doubt quiz their fate, as they looked under constant threat. Half time score 14-7.
The second half resumed with Tunbridge Wells attacking the clubhouse end. The sun was still beating down.
Wells kicked off, the ball was fumbled and the scrum went to the home team in a challenging position. However nothing materialised and the next 10 minutes saw several changes in possession.
The next passage of play had a collection of penalties being awarded to Wells. One near to the posts, so Monty slotted the 3. Score 17-7
Wells then moved up a gear and sustained pressure, finally breaking through with some hard-hitting attacks and dotted the ball over the line for another five points. Nick Doherty the scorer, but conversion missed. Score 22-7
10 minutes later the Marlborough hooker, Aniseko, smoked the defence and makes the score 22-14. Again the full 7 aided and abetted by Grant.
The opposition were certainly not making up the numbers, however the Wells backs were a clear threat all day, with their dancing feet, at silk cutting speed. Wells were in total control until a box kick was charged down by the opposition, who ran with the ball straight over the white wash. The try scored by Pollinger to get his brace, again converted by Grant. The score now perilously close at 22-21, the crowed are asking will it be a Marlborough come back?
Wells got the bit between their teeth, sensing the game needed to be in their control.
Thankfully towards the last 15 minutes of the match, a penalty was awarded. The opposition 11 was adjudged a high tackle. So saw yellow. From that mark, the ball was spun out quickly and Wells dotted down with Ali Main, the benefactor. The ‘Monty’ conversion is added, we are now 29-21.
With 8 minutes to go, the Marlborough fate was sealed. From deep in his own half, the new Wells Hooker, Jay Smith, broke and sprinted down the pitch from over 60 meters. Quite an incredible effort and a great start for him and the club. He scored the final try, and Monty ended the match with his boot. Nailing the conversion.
The final score resides at 36-21.
A promising start to the season and a very positive match showing the home fans how hard and dedicated the team and the Staff have worked over the summer. Wells really look impressive. Lets hope they can carry off their new form onto Havant next week!