The Stones have had a terrible first half to the season with injuries, illnesses and missing players.
Remarkably, eight Folkestone games out of the last thirteen against Bromley, have finished with only a single score between the teams.
FOLKESTONE 1stXV 10 BROMLEY 1stXV 11
Saturday 6th January 2018 London 3SE report from Alan Schofield.
History shows that in the last eleven matches Folkestone have had the edge 6 –5 in wins before this tussle and remarkably, eight games out of the last thirteen have finished with only a single score between the teams. This narrowest of wins for Bromley levelled the tally, but it could, and perhaps, should have been a home win.
The Stones have had a terrible first half to the season with injuries, illnesses and missing players – having now to depend heavily upon support from the second and third XV’s. They started with a front row, whose combined age tops 110 years – who, to their enormous credit did their bit, winning their scrums and gaining ground.
So, take a bow Bob Porter, Adam Bloomfield and Alex Green!
It was a cold day at Burlington Field, with a threat of rain on an already soft pitch– a north easterly wind was helping Bromley in the first half as they dominated territory in the early stages and popped a penalty over from 22 metres after Folkestone had run off-side. 0-3. But from the restart the situation was reversed as Bromley came under pressure having to defend some good, ground gaining pick and runs from the heterogeneous set of forwards that turned out for Folkestone.
Looking at the two packs, it was apparent that Bromley had weight and height to their advantage, and it was suggested that The Stones were going to struggle in that department. Not so. In a prolonged advance Billy Monk and Adam Bloomfield forced Bromley back and a scrum taken deep into the Bromley 22 metre area forced them back again – and further back as Scott Stewart picked up from the back row and bulldozed his way forward with John Eustace (in from the No 13 position) taking a short pass and diving over with two men on his back. Crucially, the relatively easy conversion was missed. 5 – 3. Unfortunately, Sam Beech with a ligament problem had to be taken off the field and he was replaced by Jeremie Cowell
Folkestone also nullified the height problem in the line outs and the combination of accurate throwing by Adam Bloomfield to Liam Trinder was effective. But Bromley looked lively in attack swinging the ball from wing to wing as Folkestone had two lucky escapes after overlaps had been created with touchdowns looking inevitable, a knock on and a forward pass left the scoreboard intact.
Bromley used the elements to good advantage as they forced Folkestone back into hard defence and it was credit to the home front ten that kept their line clear. Colby Hayward and David Jarvis covering well but Kyle Deakin and Callum Palmieri putting in crucial tackles until Bromley were rewarded for their efforts with a front-of-post penalty to take them back into the lead 5 – 6.
Bromley edged the first half, but the wind was a factor in their favour but there was nothing that coach Darren Molloy could criticise in his half time chat.
Immediately from the restart The Stones were right back into the fray forcing Bromley back to their 5-metre line from a superb penalty kick from Kyle Deakin after a high tackle. A scrum that ensued saw the Folkestone eight bodily heave the larger Bromley forwards gradually backwards with Callum Palmieri shouting encouragement. The ball passed over the line, ‘Scotty’ Stewart diving on it for a well-deserved try. Again, the normally routine conversion was missed and the score showed only 10 – 6.
Substitutions and interchanges took place with Tom Snare and Kieran Smith replacing Alex Green and Scott Stewart. But the try riled the visitors as they counter-attacked with a vengeance. And within 10 minutes they succeeded after a period in possession of ball and territory, an overlap was created and a try scored far out on the right wing. Too far to convert. 10 – 11. There then followed a most remarkable session of defence by Folkestone when in two separate attacks within minutes the whole of the Folkestone team repulsed first eight pick and charges in the 5-metre zone and then another seven of the same. Each time relief coming from a Bromley handling mistake. Bob Porter had given his all in this, and was given a rest, with Alex Green returning.
This was essentially a forward’s battle. The Folkestone wingers Josh Holt and Jason Baker had little part in the game except for some sound cover tackling – and John Eustace spent more time supporting his forwards than in his selected position in the centre – but it was all very effective as the team struck back. Two downwind penalty points possibilities were surprisingly rejected, but Folkestone were playing without a specialist goal kicker.
And as the rain and the wind intensified, so did the efforts, but both teams were tiring as the underfoot conditions deteriorated – and the game became a stalemate and every attack was rebuffed and the defences remained secure until the final whistle.
This was a game that Bromley had a little more possession and territory but were denied by superb teamwork. Folkestone will rue the missed conversions and penalties that could have so easily taken them to victory instead of just the losing bonus point. But as it is - other results in the league put Folkestone back into the preantepenulimate and nether regions of the league table.
Team: James Mead; Josh Holt, John Eustace (Capt.); Sam Beech, Jason Baker; Kyle Deakin, Callum Palmieri; Alex Green, Adam Bloomfield, Bob Porter; Billy Monk, David Jarvis, Liam Trinder, Colby Hayward, Scott Stewart.
Subs: Tom Snare, Kieran Smith, Jeremie Cowell.
Scorers: John Eustace 5; Scott Stewart 5.