by Chris Wood
The Folkestone vs. Dover local derby never fails to entertain and this match was to be no exception. Perfect weather and a sizeable crowd greeted the lads as they ran out onto the top pitch.
From the kick off Folkestone took the game to their opponents with the forwards bearing down on the Dover side, hungry for all of the loose ball opportunities. They worked magnificently as a coordinated team, rucking, mauling and clearing out, in a fine display of multi-phase rugby. Under this severe pressure and pinned in their own 22, in the 18th minute Dover could not stop Liam, at full tilt, from crashing over. 5 Nil to Folkestone.
The next six minutes saw much of the same, with Dover, again under the cosh, and Cameron Sanders gathering a high and somewhat wild attempt at a clearance kick, and then running through the Dover pack to score between the posts. Doug Wood duly converted 12-Nil. On the 25th minute James Porter took an excellent pass from Ben Proctor and used his speed to evade the grasp of both the winger and the centre and touch down left of the post, for a further converted try. 19-Nil. Harry Clark, at full back, tackled brilliantly and so did Cam Seagrove, Dylan Himbury & Jack Lord, who showed that he had not lost any of his flair playing his first match since January. A blistering run by Oscar Peters was snuffed out as he was dragged down just short of the line. The boys were now very much enjoying this game. The Folkestone pack were driving back the opposition, gaining possession of the ball, regardless of the put in. The Dover line-out ball was regularly stolen and given to the back line.
On the 28th minute Doug Wood took a swift pass off the scrum half Jack Edwards to jink through three players and score a further converted try. 26 –Nil. In the last minute of the first half the Dover backs launched a good attack on the Folkestone try line resulting in the winger scoring out wide, converted. 26 points to 7.
A game of two halves, this most certainly was. Following several substitutions on both sides, a very motivated Dover team emerged. They began with the determination with which Folkestone had commenced the first half. In the 38th minute the Dover centre went over, playing advantage, following a dropped ball. 26-14. Dover were now rampant, inspired by the rapidly narrowing gap to the score line and the addition of a couple of fast and powerful substitutes. Folkestone’s tackling lost its edge and the Dover team scored a further three unanswered tries, two converted. The score with three minutes on the clock stood at Dover 33 points to Folkestone’s 26.
The final play of the game saw Sid Gurung gather a loose ball, and pass to Travis Jones who skilfully flicked on to James Porter. Finding a narrow gap, James fully aware that that he had to a touch down near the posts, risking all, he fought his way to the right post, to score. Up stepped James Evans to slot the conversion to the applause of the Folkestone support. Final score 33 points to both teams. A gripping game played by all in fine spirit.