A game that ought to have brought a smile to the face of John Kidson!!
The afternoon started on a melancholy note as the Club members, the players and the spectators gave their heartfelt tribute to John Kidson in restrained applause.
FOLKESTONE 1st XV 65 EASTBOURNE 1st XV 10
Saturday 1st April 2017 London 3SE Report from alan Schofield.
The afternoon started on a melancholy note as the Club members, the players and the spectators gave their heartfelt tribute to John Kidson in restrained applause as each person reflected on John’s immense contribution to the Club, his incredible exuberance, his enthusiasm and his generosity. He will be remembered far and wide - in countries on the other side of the world, in Europe and many parts of our own country for his speeches, his humour, and his organising contribution to events – large and small. He was a colossal character and a giant of a man and his loss will be deeply felt for decades to come.
Eastbourne had more to lose than Folkestone on this penultimate match of the season. A win could lift them out of the certain relegation zone, but a loss could put them down in the lower division. Whereas Folkestone are sitting pretty in the top 4 and that is where they would probably finish – always ruing their defeats by Sheppey and Gillingham much earlier in the season.
Folkestone recurrent problems this season have been the inability to field a consistent team. Many are the times that up to nine changes to the team have been forced upon the coach, Leigh Fitchie – and it is to his great credit that he has maintained a high standard of rugby through most of the season - which reflects not only on the team’s position in the league, but the team spirit, friendship and enjoyment that the players take from the being a member of the Club.
This manifested itself today in an eleven try clobbering of what looked, at times, an efficient and competitive Eastbourne XV. New faces for this week included Jona Manu, Thomas Snare and Mat Roots – the last two, when introduced into the scrum, probably gave Folkestone the heaviest pack of forwards they have produced. And it was the forwards that gave the platform for a whole team display of fast running open rugby that delighted the large crowd on this last home game of the season.
Within two minutes James Mead had been stopped twice, just short of the line but then Seyhan Fell scored 12 points in the next five minutes. Two tries were scored when he joined his fast running three-quarters to make an extra man – too many for the opposition. Seyhan converted the first and missed the second. 12 – 0.
But then ‘Bourne shook away the effects of their long journey and for a period of 15 minutes it was difficult to see how such a good and constructive team could be so lowly placed in the division. But they had first to get through the wall that the Folkestone XV put up. Ben Stringer, Jake Ellis, James Archer and Jona Manu put in try saving tackles as The Stones defended within the 10 metre zone. Two penalties were conceded, and three line-outs lost, but there was no way through – until eventually ‘Bourne took the third penalty with a place kick and earned 3 points. 12-3.
Play restarted with Folkestone unable to get fully going, as yet, another penalty forced them back - almost immediately followed by the seventh penalty, this time Josh Holt earning a yellow card for off-side. This was a strange reversal of the usual for through the most of this season Folkestone’s penalty count has been low, and in their favour.
Adam Tolman had Eastbourne desperately running back as he placed a long kick downfield with the ball just beating Seyhan Fell grasp to go dead but Seyhan was in action two minutes later after the ball was spun out from a scrum by Kyle Deakin and fast down the line through Adam Tolman, Jon Morton and Jona Manu who saw Seyhan Fell on his right at full speed and running over to score his hat-trick try. Unfortunately for him, he tweaked a ham string in scoring and had to be substituted by Scott Stewart. But James Mead is Seyhan’s equal at place kicking and he added the two extra points. 19 – 3 - a score that Eastbourne defended until half time, even after 11 minutes of stoppage time (that exceeded the unofficial timekeeper’s watch by 7 minutes) before time was eventually called.
For the second half Mat Roots replaced Bob Porter in the front row and Kieran Smith came on for Ben Stringer. The second half is one that Eastbourne will wish to forget! Jake Ellis had made his presence felt with two remarkable runs straight down the middle with three men hanging onto him, but minutes into the second half he moved the ball out of the scrum area to Kyle Deakin, in turn to Adam Tolman who led a merry dance through the opposition to score the bonus point try, converted by James Mead. 26-3. Straight from the kick off, The Stones won another scrum and Adam Tolman started another rapid move – with Kyle Deakin, ‘Scotty’ Stewart and Jon Morton - that Eastbourne couldn’t defend and another try to Adam Tolman. 31 – 3.
Then, in an outstanding series of inter-passing - Chris Petley, John Eustace, Jona Manu, James Mead and Mat Roots, cut through the whole of the ‘Bourne team with Chris Petley making the final metres before handing it to Jon Morton to touch down. 36-3.
Some relief for Eastbourne came when, with the advantage of three successive penalties, they managed a quick break through to score under the posts. 36 – 10. But it was short lived as Adam Tolman collected a kick in his own half and started a bewildering move in which at least eight Folkestone players swung the ball form wing to wing running Eastbourne ragged with Jon Morton giving the final pass to James Mead. 41-10. Then Jona Manu got into the act with a strong, fast running individual try on the left wing that gave the Stones their 8th try within an hour of play. 46 – 10.
Two converted tries followed as Eastbourne couldn’t cope with the fast running game that The Stones have trained for and have tried to play all through the season – there was hardly a name on the team sheet that did not contribute to these tries as the crowd cheered and applauded. John Kidson would have glowed with pride. First James Mead finished off with a converted try, after a long period of possession. 53-10. Then Chris Petley, that dynamo of a back row forward, deservedly got his name on the try list, duly converted by James Mead. 60-10.
Before the final whistle Mat Roots, Kyle Deakin, Cameron Dallas and Kieran Smith created another powerful onslaught through a beaten Eastbourne XV – allowing Adam Tolman to score his hat-trick of tries and put up Folkestone highest score of the season. 65 – 10. And at this, the referee, strangely, did not add any stoppage time. The only note of perplexity in this game was the 4 - 19 imbalance of penalties against Folkestone which was by far the largest number the team have ceded for some seasons.
Other results meant that Folkestone secured their final position in the table in fourth place, but Eastbourne have to create a bonus point win over Park House next week in order to stay in this Division – but Eastbourne do not look like a side destined for relegation, but on this day they came up against a Folkestone team at their very best – and when they are like this they are irrepressible.
Team: Seyhan Fell; James Mead, Jon Morton (Capt.), Jona Manu, Josh Holt, Adam Tolman, Kyle Deakin; James Archer, Thomas Snare, Bob Porter; Ben Stringer, Cameron Dallas; Jake Ellis, Chris Petley, John Eustace.
Subs: Mat Roots, Kieran Smith, Scott Stewart.
Scorers: Seyhan Fell 5, 2, 5, 5; James Mead 2, 2, 5, 5, 2 2; Adam Tolman 5, 5, 5; Jon Morton 5; Jona Manu 5; Chris Petley 5.