Folkestone can never seem to field the same team twice!
League Leaders, Thanet Wanderers were stronger and rely on their heavy pack to gain ground through set pieces to put Folkestone under pressure.
Thanet Wanderers 1stXV 28 Folkestone 1stXV 7.
Saturday 7th October 2017 London 3 SE Report by Steve Hughes
Folkestone can never seem to field the same team twice and without several First team players saw a reshuffle of the side. Captain Jon Morton moved to full back, John Eustace returned to his old position in the centre, Michael Gardner taking over at number eight and Ollie Forbes into the second row.
As they did last week against Old Dunstonians, Folkestone started off with a bang and within two minutes a scissors move saw Jack Brooks slice through the Thanet defence to score under the posts which Guy Carney converted. 0 - 7.
This stung the top-of-the-table home side and when Folkestone allowed the ball to bounce from the kick off, a flurry of play saw Thanet awarded an easy penalty which they converted. 3 - 7. Kieran Smith then replaced 17 year old Mason Colchester-Long at lock.
Folkestone went immediately back on the attack and pressure up the right wing saw Guy Carney and Jon Morton who once again sent Jack Brooks steaming towards the Thanet posts only to be brought down inches short.
Thanet were relying on their pack of chunky forwards to pick-and-drive into the opposition before trying to open up the game but the Folkestone defence was strong and determined. Solid tackling by John Eustace, Mike Gardner and Sam Beech was evident and they were admirably supported by the half back pair of Callum Palmieri and Guy Carney. These two 18 year olds played out of their skins, prepared to tackle anything with no regard for their own personal safety. Jeremie Cowell went off injured and was replaced by Aaron Robbins.
Thanet then succeeded in kicking their way into the visitors red zone and were awarded a penalty which closed the gap to 6 - 7. Folkestone then held on to their lead until just prior to half time when they conceded another penalty to see Thanet take the lead 9 - 7.
Mike Gardner was frequently in the fray taking the ball from the back of the scrum and making valuable ground and creating problems for the home side. His contribution kept Thanet on their toes and his ability to play back row and centre is an added bonus.
In a promising attack in the Thanet half, Folkestone were unfortunate to lose the ball and see the Thanet scrum half sprint 50 metres up the middle of the park. Fortunately, his opposite number Callum Palmieri had enough speed to overtake him and take him to ground. However the Thanet pack were swiftly into position to create a loose maul and ultimately cross for a converted try. 16 - 7.
Folkestone were frequently under the cosh, having to repel the constant pick and drive in the loose and catch and drive from the line outs which was the main attacking ploy by Thanet. They were under pressure too in the Scums and lineouts but fared better in the scrums than expected against a heavier pack. Ollie Forbes was replaced by Scotty Stewart only to re-enter the fray later to replace Sam Beech.
Thanet once again used their tried and trusted method to get into the Folkestone red zone and from a scrum on the five metre line executed a push over try which was unconverted. 21 - 7.
From a line out on their own 10 metre line Folkestone then played Thanet at their own game in a catch and drive from a line out which took them down into the Thanet 22. Another break from the back of the scrum by Mike Gardner saw John Eustace feed Thomo Murray who was fouled on his way to the line. Jon Morton kicked for the corner but Folkestone could not capitalise on the position.
Thanet then broke away from their own half and the ball moved along the line to the wing who scored in the corner and an excellent conversion saw them increase their lead to 28 - 7.
Folkestone repelled further attacks but could not reduce the score but all credit must go to the pack in competing against a heavier unit. They held their own in the scrums and were not going to be intimidated. Unfortunately they came second in the line outs and had trouble with the rolling maul that Thanet were so adept at.
Players of note were Adam Bloomfield, Michael Gardner, John Eustace, Ollie Forbes and Scott Stewart together with the teenage half back pair of Callum Palmieri and Guy Carney.
In the near future it is hoped that Folkestone will be able to put out a settled side and I’m sure that with all the talent they have available, will succeed in climbing the League table.
Team: Jon Morton (Capt.); Josh Holt, Jack Brooks, John Eustace, Thomo Murray; Callum Palmieri, Guy Carney; Thomas Snare, Adam Bloomfield, Bob Porter; Ollie Forbes, Mason Colchester-Long; Sam Beech, Jeremie Cowell, Michael Gardner.
Subs: Scott Stewart, Kieran Smith, Aaron Robbins.
Scorers: Jack Brooks 5; Callum Palmieri 2.