Folkestone snatch a draw in the dying moments against a resurgent Hastings & Bexhill.
As last week – and many limes last season, Folkestone conceded an early try and the lead when they were unable to defend a swift passing movement to the left wing and an easy touch down between the posts.
FOLKESTONE 1st XV 14 HASTINGS & BEXHILL 1st XV 14
Saturday 16th September 2017. London 3SE. Report by Alan Schofield.
It was a welcome back to Hastings & Bexhill to the Division after the last fixtures were played against them in the season 2009/2010 – when Folkestone amassed 46 points in each of the fixtures.
Not nearly so this day as an injury hit Folkestone team regrouped with significant changes both in the forwards and in the back line to fight back and eventually earn a draw in a hard fought and mostly entertaining game to watch – and happily without any more injuries. The five necessary changes from last week brought in Guy Carney
, Doug Wood
, Tom Snare, ‘Scotty’ Stewart and Jeremy Cowell.
As last week – and many limes last season, Folkestone conceded an early try and the lead when they were unable to defend a swift passing movement to the left wing and an easy touch down between the posts. 0 – 7
after only 5 minutes of play.
It soon was apparent that Hasting are a side, like Folkestone, in that they like to move the ball around the field and this goes to making a good rugby match for the three-quarters. A series of attacking moves by the Folkestone backs eventually had Jon Morton
putting Josh Holt
away down the left wing and Hastings were defending their own line in force, but from the melee Sam Beech
went through a pack of players to stretch out and touch down close to the corner flag. 5 – 7.
Folkestone were unusually at a small disadvantage in the scrums as the bigger Hasting pack was able to hold to push and even force the home pack backwards slightly – and in the line out, with both of Folkestone’s line out specialists missing, again Hastings were able to create advantages. But the visitors did not dwell around the set pieces, using the ball quickly left and right with some excellent rugby. But, because The Stones tackling was quick and secure – the ground gained was put to a minimum. But when the Folkestone backs had the ball they were able to make more ground – with Jon Morton
the key to many of the moves, and Seyhan Fell
always alert to running up from full back to make the extra man in attack.
From the left wing, Josh Holt
had a couple of 30 metre runs, before being pulled down and Jack Brooks
, in turn, stopped Hastings in similar runs. So fast, open rugby over the full width and length of the field was the theme for the first half and it was a credit to both defences that the score was not higher. But The Stones had the chance to increase the lead when a good passing move with John Eustace
, Scott Stewart
and Jake Ellis
prominent, had Hastings defending their try line – and conceding penalties. In ebullient mood, twice, Folkestone decided on the scrum to try to get the pushover try rather than the easy three points and the lead. But Hastings all too easily held the scrums and had The Stones going backwards. Although the pressure continued Folkestone were unable to make the breakthrough they probably deserved – before half time.
replaced Alex Box
for the start of the second half. Hasting’s tackling and defence was proving to just as good as Folkestone in resisting determined and repeated attempts – whilst always looking to run the ball through their backs. However – all through this game Hastings were prone to concede penalties mostly in loose play after tackles. And although possession was roughly equal, it was noticeable that The Stones made more progress territorially with the ball in hand- whereas Hasting ran hard and threw the ball about well, but without gaining ground – a testament to some excellent covering and tackling by the home team.
gave Folkestone the lead 8 minutes into the second half. John Eustace
put Hastings under pressure from a scrum – combining with Jack Brooks
and Josh Holt
to bring the ball 20 metres short of the line but a double penalty put Hastings back on their 5 metres line and this time Jon Morton
gave the ball to Seyhan Fell
to take an easy three points. 8 – 7.
The danger that Hastings posed with their fast backs was always apparent and, after numerous dangerous attacks had been nullified they were able to break through by cutting back inside and finding clear ground to score and convert to gain the lead 8 – 14.
replaced Scott Stewart
as the game began to take on a different form. For three quarters of the match the teams played good exciting, fast moving rugby, but now the game began to change. Firstly Hastings began to wilt in the scrums as The Stones front eight started to gain ground, and then mistakes began to increase exponentially by both sides. Hopes were raised and dashed when John Eustace
, Jack Brooks
and Jon Morton
put Seyhan Fell
away on the wing, unopposed, and with 30 metres to run in – only for the referee to judge the pass was forward.
After play continued within and about the Hastings 22 metre zone they conceded their twelfth penalty which Seyhan Fell
converted with 13 minutes to go. 11 – 14.
This was followed 6 minutes later by another penalty as Hastings had two men well offside in front of their posts. Seyhan Fell
obliged and drew the scores level at 14 – 14.
was having an all-round good game in defence and attack and his powerful break through to gain 40 metres brought some excitement, and then Thomas Snare
scared the opposition with a 15 metre power charge. In the last 5 minutes Mike Gardner replaced Jeremie Cowell
and was immediately needed, Hastings mounted a dangerous looking assault on the Folkestone line – where one mistake would have brought defeat – but their tackling, as it had been through most of the game, was sound and secure as the final whistle was blown by the referee, Mr. Jordan Davies who is to be complemented on a very good game with clear cut decisions and good control – appreciated by the crowd and players alike.
at scrum half was always competent and Steve Doughty
and Thomas Snare
put in many of the tackles that frustrated their opponents. Jake Ellis
is beginning to find his old form and Sam Beech
, after a long break, is looking like his old self again – as is John Eustace
who was nuisance to his opposite numbers throughout the game. But the man-of-the match for me was Jon Morton
whose tackling, running, kicking and leadership were inspirational.
Team: Seyhan Fell
; Josh Holt
, Jon Morton
Capt.), Jack Brooks
, Thomo Murray
; Guy Carney
, Doug Wood
; Thomas Snare
, Alex Box
, Steve Doughty
, Jake Ellis
, Scott Stewart
, Jeremie Cowell
, Sam Beech
, John Eustace
Subs : Bob Porter
, Kieran Smith
, Michael Gardner
Scorers: Sam Beech
5; Seyhan Fell
3, 3, 3.