By Si Petts
This game saw these sides both doing fairly well in their league with the Gill’s two slots higher & Stones having a game in hand. The visitors lost the toss, Folkestone chose the ground and received the kick, the sun position was behind during this half and the catch and following play was as we have practised, Tony Bass taking the ball into the charging pack with plenty of support.
The first half of this match was a story of missed opportunities, the Stones having the lion’s share of the territory but failing to capitalise on it. Time and time again the home side would battle through phases to arrive at the visitors try line to be held off, two penalties 5mtrs out were keep out by a determined Gillingham defence.
The stalemate was broken following a scrum in the stones half saw the ball fed out to the Gillingham right wing and ran in for an unconverted try. Stones scrum had a mixed bag of fortune during this game; it did its job and worked well but had a feeling that something wasn’t quite right? The front row started with White, CDB, Packham and controlled things well, the shove went on early a few times and it is probably down to some unfamiliarity with a few of the pack and some much needed soft ground training time.
Stones only other opportunity to make up some points came with a long range penalty kick that narrowly missed its target, Half time saw the 0-5 score line remain.
At half Time Folkestone knew this game was still very much alive and winnable, the focus was on controlling the rucks and setting up more effective pods, these had been rushed at times during the first half and try’s had gone begging.
The pressure was again applied by Folkestone, and in the first few attacks by, Harrison, Spicer, Bass & Petts the gill’s Defence was solid. What looked like a perfectly good try by Alex Box
was judged to have been held up!!!!
It was beginning to feel as though we would never get through the line. Eventually a ball distributed by Spicer was smashed over the line by Petts, the Gillingham defender claimed “ Held Up “ but the ref was having none of it, Try Folkestone. The score was converted by Burrows.
The 3’s had two under eighteen players with them again this week, Dave Duce & Mark Gilbert, both played extremely well and are playing with more & more confidence each week. Dave Duce playing out of position at centre did all but score the try in a run through the middle and via four defending Gill’s players, he was held up shy of the line but still managed to ship the ball the Tony Bass who went over to score.
Gillingham found themselves at fourteen men after a late challenge on a stones player and the men in green did everything they could to capitalise on it, Injuries to our own players, Harrison & Packham had meant some juggling of positions, Burrows into 9 and Tim Page
on at 15.
Stones had their own player sent off for a second warning of hands in the ruck, just as the Gill’s player arrived back; they were awarded a penalty which they kicked successfully.
The final point of note was the last score of the game, and it’s worthy of its own paragraph, Liam Purdy received the ball in some scrappy play near the stones 22, he ran infield dodging several Gillingham players and then selected to kick on the run !!! A number of us grimaced and looked skyward only to see him collect his own kick, take the ball round two defenders and score under the oppositions post! We always had faith.
This could have easily been a game that was lost, Some extremely good dynamics in this side, a mix of wise campaigners and high energy youth, enough sound advice without turning into a kangaroo court at every breakdown, It served us well and has keep us contending for a high finish in this league.
Final score 24-8
Man of the match; Tony Bass, played out of position and covered every inch of the park.
Team; White, Packham, CDB, Box, Gilbert, Jackson, Tumber, Petts Capt, Harrison, Spicer, Duce, Bass, Ceri App Bryn, Purdey, Burrows, Adam Petley, Tim Page