Folkestone got back to winning ways by completing a double over Old Williamsonians.
The borborygmus was more active than usual with the Folkestone supporters as the team faced the first of five crucial matches that remain this season.
OLD WILLIAMSONIANS 1stXV 7 FOLKESTONE 1stXV 19
Saturday 10th March 2018 London 3 South East Report from Alan Schofield.
The borborygmus was more active than usual with the Folkestone supporters as the team faced the first of five crucial matches that remain this season. Before the game, to some extent, the question of whether they will be relegated or not, lays in the results from other Clubs in the zone – but four wins might, just, be enough to avoid the drop. Ironically, after today’s results the league table shows that a win has only seen The Stones slip further behind on points.
Yet again, wholesale team changes were going on, even on the morning of the game – and as they had been on every day in the preceding week. Were one to write a coda to this season it would focus on the inability to pick and maintain a regular group of players in regular positions. Five fresh players were brought in for this match against fifth place Old Wills.
The whole game was played to the tune of the referee’s whistle, and this was active after less than a minute as Jordan Godden passed to John Eustace who released Adam Tolman going right and evading three tackles before an inside pass to ‘Martin Murray saw a try, easily converted by Seyhan Fell. 0-7.
Adam Tolman was again soon in evidence when he punted a 50 metre clearance kick downwind, and then, within minutes, he collected the ball 60 metres out, beat three attempts at tackles and ran all the way to touch down under the posts, again an easy conversion for Seyhan Fell and the score was 0 - 14 after less than eight minutes.
The Stones looked a different team to the last time out - sharp and lively – with a lot movement coming from the back row. Scrum half Jordan Godden made ground and Callum Palmieri (now playing at fly half) has a good and fast pass. Forwards became backs as Dave Jarvis and Ollie Forbes had good runs – Forbes made 30 metres in one of these and was pulled down only two metres short of a third try after Jordan Godden, Liam Trinder and Will Turner had progressed play downfield.
John Eustace was replaced by Jack Brooks as Old Wills seemed to be rattled by Folkestone’s unrelenting activity – a punch was thrown, Adam Bloomfield saw the culprit and retaliated – and was yellow carded - taking the first of three yellow cards awarded against Folkestone. Connor Leather came on as the replacement forward and ‘Thomo’ Murray was rested.
The interruptions in play by the referee’ whistle came in quick succession with a mentor on one touchline and an assessor on the another, as he strove to impress. Folkestone conceded four penalties in two minutes as Old Wills made ground but couldn’t get past a resolute and hard tackling defence. Before this match, Folkestone had averaged 8 penalties against them in the 17 matches and had accumulated three yellow cards. How different this game was proving to be!
Half time came with the coach, Darren Molloy, being satisfied with a competent first half effort, but the second half had Old Wills playing downhill and downwind. They very soon found it difficult to overcome a Folkestone team that ran and tackled to a level far above their league position.
Old Wills were determined enough - with breaks down the centre, but there seemed to be no way through for them, Liam Trinder, Jordan Godden and Dave Jarvis were formidable. The forwards held their own in scrums and Sam Beech was reliable in the line-outs, but in resisting one Old Wills attack in the Folkestone 5 metre zone, Martin Murray was yellow carded and a penalty try awarded. 7 – 14.
Scott Stewart replaced a hard-working Sam Beech as The Stones worked their way upfield with strong runs, John Eustace came back on and was immediately involved, with Scott Stewart and a couple of penalties, in taking the ball to the Old Wills line -, but this time they held out. Jack Brooks was yellow carded for a shoulder high tackle and Old Wills managed to break out of the stranglehold on the game that Folkestone had put onto them.
But any hopes they had of recovery were punctured when, after a long kick downfield into the Folkestone 22 metre zone – Adam Tolman collected the ball and ran left dodging two tackles, with Seyhan Fell in support. The cover defence came across but Adam Tolman kicked ahead, with Seyhan Fell, in top gear, chasing it close to the touchline. A good bounce brought the ball infield and it was scooped by Seyhan Fell to run through to score on the wide left wing – too far to convert, but the score was 7 – 19.
Old Wills were not allowed to gain a look at the Folkestone line in the closing minutes as the Folkestone defence again looked to setting up their attacking force, but a fourth, and bonus point try was only prevented by some excellent tackling by a sound home team. Man-of-the match accolades are generally resisted as it is the team that succeeds or fails, but today Adam Tolman had such a profound effect on the game that it would be wrong not to recognise this.
A total of 29 penalties (16 against Folkestone), four yellow cards and a stoppage every 20 seconds was the obstacle to the players of both sides who all showed that they all can play good rugby - a frustration to players, coaches and spectators alike.
Next week (previously a free week in the calendar) due to bad weather, a home game against Sheppey has been imposed on Folkestone with many regular players already committed to other events. Therefore, the continual changes in the team and playing positions goes on – but that is next week’s problem - this week was an inspiration.
Team: Martin Murray, Adam Bloomfield, Bob Porter; David Jarvis, Ollie Forbes; Sam Beech, Liam Trinder, Will Turner; Jordan Godden, Callum Palmieri, Thomo Murray, John Eustace, Jon Morton (Capt.), Seyhan Fell; Adam Tolman.
Subs: Connor Leather, Scott Stewart, Ollie Brooks.
Scorers: Martin Murray 5; Seyhan Fell 2, 2, 5; Adam Tolman 5.