‘Phew – we nicked that one!!’ But we saw grins- even on the face of coach Darren Molloy,
By Alex Ruddock
With a revivified team and two good results behind them, Folkestone were looking to make it three in a row in both the league and in fixtures against OW’s.
OLD WILLIAMSONIANS 1stXV 19 FOLKESTONE 1stXV 23.
Saturday 17th November 2018. LONDON 3SE. Report from ALAN SCHOFIELD.
With a revivified team and two good results behind them, Folkestone were looking to make it three in a row in both the league and in fixtures against OW’s. This they did with yet another all-round outstanding performance albeit having to make a few changes, and adapt to a different type of rugger.
OW’s were a team of sizeable men, the pack of forwards probably weighing in at 100 kilos more than the lighter weight Folkestone eight … and this was to tell the story of much of the match. The fixture was played in the bleak hinterland of Rochester with a biting easterly wind blowing across the field – some 200 yards from the warmth of the Club and changing rooms. This was going to be a tough day!
In these conditions the spirits can be warmed by an entertaining match of fast and open running. But instead of this they were disheartened by a game with 26 penalties and three yellow cards. A disjointed match of set pieces and the hefty opposition pack of forwards. The wise members chose to watch the television!
How were Folkestone to overcome their problems? The front row was completely new following selection difficulties, but Harry Paton, Jack Shorter and Bob Porter stepped into the fray. The first scrum saw them, predictably, going backwards but the ball was retained. Seyhan Fell kicked an early penalty after an earlier OW’s infringement had put play into their own 22 metre zone. 0-3. But then two more penalties came against The Stones progressed OW’s into the 5-metre area – a line-out and the ensuing maul saw the OW’s forwards overwhelm the spunky Folkestone defenders like a bulldozer on full power attacking a mountain of sand. The referee decided to award a penalty try against Folkestone with a pile of players heaped up over the try line. 7 – 3.
Penalties, in the first twenty minutes were coming at the rate of one every two minutes. And in addition to the scrum problems, Folkestone were losing the early line-outs. Spectators were glum, the coaching team looked stern, and even the normally happy Physio – Ashlea Fry looked miserable!
Seyhan Fell missed a penalty kick at goal and Folkestone were beginning to adapt to the game. OW’s seemed to be predictable in their tactics, whilst Folkestone took the opposite approach by trying to move the ball quickly and randomly. The tackling of the big men was impressive although hauling them down was not as effective as taking the legs away. John Eustace was impassable in the backs, and Liam Trinder, Jordan Godden and Jeremy Cowell in the back row were formidable both in defence and attack as the set pieces broke up. The Stones were blocking, tackling and frustrating every move that the OW’s could put together, therefore they resorted to kicking – but Adam Tolman and Seyhan Fell were unfailing in their fielding.
A home scrum won, and with ball fed down the line OW’s set up an attack, with an overlap, that looked especially dangerous but John Eustace blocked it, Jack Barton turned the ball over passed to John Eustace who ran clear with Adam Tolman up in support, and a clean pass found him – to outpace the retreating defenders in a 50-metre sprint to score under the posts. Easily converted by Seyhan Fell and 7 – 10 was the score. But not for long!
Immediately from the restart OW’s attacked to the right, swung it to the left, brought it back to the middle where the heavy brigade were waiting – barrelling through the Folkestone defence to score and convert. 14 – 10.
OW’s were combining and running well – and winning this match. Bob Porter was given a harsh yellow card for being fairly harmlessly offside, and OW’s opened up. John Eustace went into front row, weakening the back line, but Adam Tolman is thinking and plotting all the time – a long pass in a fast OW’s three-quarter movement was, with some juggling, intercepted by him and no-one could catch him in the chase to the line with Seyhan Fell adding the extra points. 14 – 17 was the surprising Folkestone lead at half-time.
Mason Colchester-Brown and Dan Hillier came on to relieve the hard-working Jack Shorter and Bob Porter, as OW’s resumed their efforts to regain the lead. But the pattern of the game was set – OW’s forwards against the quicker and unpredictable Folkestone backs, and a referee whose whistle was becoming hot to handle.
Rob Godden and Jack Barton began to secure the line-outs, which helped the cause but the Folkestone forwards, again, had no answer to an almighty heave from a 5-metre scrum which saw OW’s take the lead to 19 – 17 after one hour of play.
The referee then went on a spree of penalty awards, but these were for mostly minor technical infringements by Folkestone, perhaps nit picking the book of laws – but also, perhaps, helping Folkestone as it stopped and disrupted play, and the ever dangerous looking forwards pack of the opposition couldn’t get into to top gear.
Folkestone tackled and ran at the opposition, barely giving them room to manoeuvre – everyone got together to frustrate the moves that the OW’s really wanted to demonstrate. Adam Tolman received the last penalty in a seven-long series against The Stones – this time for a failed interception attempt and he received a yellow card with nine minutes to go.
But then tide turned and it was the OW’s turn to experience the whistle, and they suffered for it not knowing that Folkestone have a goal kicker supreme in Seyhan Fell. A penalty just inside the OW’s half was kicked hard and low and straight between the posts and with the blinking of eyes and wiping of brows, Folkestone were in the lead 19 – 20.
A counter attack by the OW’s was thwarted by the formidable Jon Morton who put them right back by a 60-metre punt and in frustration OW’s went off-side in the recovery giving Seyhan Fell a comparatively short shot a goal from only 40 metres! Another one went sailing through the posts on an upward trajectory. 19 – 23 …the Referee then called time and the match was won!!
And on the long trudge back through the gloom of the evening, the ice-cold wind penetrating every orifice – the Folkestone team, dirty and tired, said ‘Phew – we nicked that one!!’ But we saw grins - even on the face of coach Darren Molloy, but not Woody – who hasn’t smiled since he was winded in 1968.
Team: Harry Paton, Jack Shorter, Bob Porter, Jack Barton, Rob Godden; Jeremie Cowell, Jordan Godden, Liam Trinder; Callum Palmieri; Jon Morton, Thomo Murray, John Eustace, Kyle Deakin, Seyhan Fell (Capt.); Adam Tolman.
Subs: Mason Colchester-Long, Daniel Hillier, Mark Ip-Lloyd.
Scoring: Seyhan Fell 3, 2, 2, 3, 3; Adam Tolman 5, 5.
One wondered whether the strict code of rugger concerning celibacy and abstinence on the Friday before the game had been followed!