Folkestone lost the earlier encounter at Hastings, with a similar team that took the field today.
By Alex Ruddock
The conditions for this match were as bad as has ever been seen – with a freezing wind blowing hard, the temperature showing at 1°C and heavy rain throughout – all made good rugby impossible.
FOLKESTONE 1stXV 26 HASTINGS & BEXHILL 1stXV 7
Saturday 15th December 2018. LONDON 3SE. Report by Alan Schofield.
Folkestone lost this season’s early encounter with Hastings, with a similar team that took the field for this return match. Then, The Stones scored four tries, but conceded five indicating, at that time, a leaky defence. This time, four tries were scored again, but the defence only conceded one try.
The conditions for this match were as bad as has ever been seen – with a freezing wind blowing hard, the temperature showing at 1°C and heavy rain throughout – all made good rugby impossible. But a tremendous credit goes to the players, and referee for making a game of it.
The match was only one minute old when Folkestone took the lead, grabbing the ball from a Hasting mistake, Seyhan Fell ran left, drawing the defence sideways, before a quick pass to Adam Tolman who evaded a tackle attempt and touched down. 5 – 0.
And only three minutes later it was 12 – 0. Folkestone were awarded a penalty 30 metres out and Jordan Godden took a quick tap kick, running straight forward, catching Hastings unawares as he passed to Callum Palmieri who made the final 10 metres with a diving try, Seyhan Fell converting.
Jack Cox, throwing in from line-outs has a good technique and works well with Liam Trinder who is consistently good at feeding Callum Palmieri, at scrum half. This worked well for Folkestone, setting up attack after attack. A try was just missed when Seyhan Fell joined the line in centre field and threw a 25-metre pass to Jon Morton with a clear run through. Unfortunately, the wind blew the ball forwards and Morton, reaching forward, could not hold the wet ball as it skimmed into touch. The Stones immediately regained the ball from a scrum and set up wave after wave of attacks on the Hastings line. Jack Cox and Callum Palmieri went close, but another scrum saw Palmieri flash the ball out into the arms of Kyle Deakin – running fast from behind play, to take the pass and crash over. A well-deserved try, converted by Seyhan Fell after a sustained period of attack. 19 – 0.
Jordan Godden had to have attention for a groin kick injury and Connor Leather was brought on, before Folkestone earned their fourth, and bonus point try after only 30 minutes of play. It was unfortunate for Hastings as they tried to run the ball from inside their own half, but a pass was knocked on – and Jon Morton seized it and was through before Hastings could recover. This try was touched down under the posts, giving Seyhan Fell no problems. 26 – 0.
Half time saw both teams running off the field to the warmth of the changing rooms and on the resumption, it was Hastings turn to have the strengthening wind and rain pushing them forward. They did manage to put some pressure on the home defences, but solid tackling kept the score intact. Bob Porter had a remarkable game – probably the oldest player on the field but as fit as a racing greyhound. He tackled and blocked and rummaged and ran like a colt – and it he who broke the brief stranglehold that Hasting had, by stealing the ball and making 15 metres before being hauled down.
Hastings now looked capable both in defence and attack, forcing Folkestone to relieve pressure with well taken kicks. But a classical forwards and three-quarters move, gave them a well deserved try with an inside pass, a break-through and a try under the posts. 26 – 7.
But after this period of dominance by Hastings, The Stones regained control of the game. Harry Paton and Thomo Murray were brought on and a reshuffled pack was supplemented by John Eustace. This immediately brought results as John Eustace led a forward charge – with all eight men combining to march the opposing eight upfield for 25 metres.
Handling was now becoming extremely difficult as the light went and the match depended on the floodlights, shining brightly through the rain. But penalties, knock-ons, forward passes, misplaced kicks and minor brouhaha’s abounded. John Eustace was yellow-carded, along with his Hasting opposite number for a bit of misbehaviour, but both players went off the field smiling together. The referee, Mr Adam Hollins, was to be congratulated for his authority over the game which, in the last quarter, became very scrappy. Hastings had opportunities to reduce the deficit in the final minutes but the Folkestone defence nowadays is hard to break – so unlike the earlier performance against Hastings in September.
Hellingly have been thrown out of the league after losing everything they played, and conceding walk-overs twice. All points against Hellingly have been discounted. But The Stones have, with their five wins in the last six matches have lifted themselves into seventh place in the table – and threatening to go higher playing rugger as they have done so well recently. The next match is away at Bromley on January 5th at Hayes. K.O. 2 p.m.
Team: Adam Tolman; Seyhan Fell (Capt.), John Eustace, Kyle Deakin, Louis Watson; Jon Morton, Callum Palmieri; Bob Porter, Jack Cox, Shane Hills; Kieran Smith, Mason Colchester-Long; Liam Trinder, Jordan Godden, Scott Stewart.
Subs: Connor Leather, Thomo Murray, Harry Paton.
Scorers: Adam Tolman 5; Callum Palmieri 5; Seyhan Fell 2, 2, 2; Kyle Deakin 5; Jon Morton 5.