A very good, clinical game from Folkestone 2ndXV this weekend.
By Alex Ruddock
It was never going to be easy for Folkestone going away to a muddy, wet Leigh who having had a similar season to Folkestone this year
Leigh 1stXV 15 Folkestone 2ndXV 19.
Saturday 9th February 2019. Shepherd Neame Late Red 3. Report by Will O’Donnell.
A very good, clinical game from Folkestone 2ndXV this weekend. It was never going to be easy for Folkestone going away to a muddy, wet Leigh who having had a similar season to Folkestone this year and were eager to secure a home win. There was a good crowd who came out to support them and it showed in the intensity with which they played.
Nonetheless, Folkestone started the game very strongly after an early mistake by Leigh losing the ball forward in a tackle it was cleanly picked up and with multiple attacking lines splitting the defence apart Will O’Donnell finished it off with a 1 on 1 with the Winger to crash over the line. Daniel Hillier stepped up to take the kick but on this occasion was unsuccessful. 0-5.
Folkestone were using their speed and agility to their advantage, on multiple occasions Daniel Hillier would kick the ball behind the Leigh team and the back line would swarm on Leigh defenders instantly to forcing multiple errors keeping us in their 22 for a long period of the first half. The lead for Folkestone was extended further when the ball was kicked deep into the right corner of Leighs 22 and the defending player was isolated and gave away a penalty after not releasing the ball, Freddie Faiers seized the opportunity of a quick penalty and scored a great try while Leigh, and about half of Folkestone, were sleeping. Daniel Hillier stepped up to the tee once again and this time extended the lead to 0-12.
Leigh weren’t going to be pushed over so easily, with countless pick and goes the defence of Folkestone was weakening, they then shot it out into the back line for the Leigh centre to crash through the tackle and score a try bringing them to 5 – 12, the conversion being missed.
Being a very close game Leigh managed to keep possession well and worked it through the pack doing crash ball after crash ball, on a couple of occasions they broke over the line only to be held up strongly by Folkestone. The Home side were obviously getting frustrated at the held-up decision but they put that straight back into the game where they developed into a driving maul which finished with them achieving another try. This was unsuccessfully converted and so the scoreline at half-time was 10-12.
Folkestone went off at half-time confident that we could do more and could keep the Leigh pack at bay. Countless tackles were made, most notably by the likes of Jack Shorter and Ciaran Hughes on both flanks.
Folkestone started the 2nd half slower than the first, but the excitement was still to come when a great run by Josh White cut a sharp inline catching 3 of the defending team completely off-guard as he powered through their tackles and made his way under the posts for Folkestone’s 3rd try, this was an easy conversion for Daniel Hillier putting the visitors on 10-19.
It became obvious that both teams were starting to slow, there were constant phases of physical rugby where forwards were running in pods from the Leigh squad being met and tackled well by the young Folkestone pack. Countless handling errors from both teams led to a large scrum count in the entire game and the condition of the ground from the week of heavy showers made it even more difficult and fatiguing.
The home side used this slow, trundling attack to their advantage though, pushing Folkestone back time and again in the scrum and rucks. They were edging closer and closer to the Folkestone 5 metre line with every ball, taking it far into the right hand corner of Folkestone’s 22 they then quickly noticed a large overlap as Folkestone’s defence had been sucked in and spread the ball quickly to the opposite wing to score their 3rd try, this was unsuccessfully converted. Score line 15 – 19.
Folkestone huddled together after this try to regroup and get their focus back. Many players were tired but they kept on working at the same rate they always did to close out the game. The game slowed in the last 10 minutes as Folkestone worked clinically to hold onto possession and force defensive errors allowing them to run down the clock. The final whistle couldn’t come quick enough as what seemed like the longest minute of rugby was finally ended when Will O’Donnell cleared the ball out the back of the ruck, deciding to kick it to the furthest touchline rather than the closest one. Final Score: 15 – 19.
Team: 1. Billy Monk 2. Jake Watson; 3. Peter White 4. Glen Amos 5. Jake Beale; 6. Jack Shorter, 7. Ciaran Hughes; 8. James Stewart; 9. Will O’Donnell (c), 10. Daniel Hillier; 11. Paul Croucher, 12. Nat Parmenter, 13. Louis Watson, 14. Josh White; 15. Freddie Faiers.
Subs: 16. Ross Clark.
Scorers: Will O’Donnell 5; Freddie Faiers 5; Daniel Hillier 2, 2; Josh White 5.