An Outstanding Victory with Eleven Tries Scored by an inspired Folkestone team.
By Alex Ruddock
It was a pleasure for The Stones to play on home soil for the first time since the 9th February, and against a team who had always given them a close game – but had never succeeded in beating them.
FOLKESTONE 1stXV 71 OLD WILLIAMSONIANS 1stXV 7
Saturday 9th March 2019. LONDON 3SE. Report by ALAN SCHOFIELD.
An Outstanding Victory with Eleven Tries Scored by an inspired Folkestone team
It was a pleasure for The Stones to play on home soil for the first time since the 9th February, and against a team who had always given them a close game – but had never succeeded in beating them. And today was no different from the established pattern, but no-one could anticipate the final score after the very close encounter at Rochester earlier in the season.
Folkestone had to be content with a losing bonus point in last week’s match against far away Pulborough, that lost them their bronze medal place in the table, but they resumed their progress with a superb display of open, running rugby roared on by a good crowd of home supporters. By any standards this was an outstanding victory with eleven tries increasing their season’s tally to 480 points – the second highest in the league.
The opening stages was really a resumption of the tough earlier match, when breakthroughs through tight defences were hard to come by. Almost 15 minutes of centre field attrition failed to register anything on the scoreboard. Unfortunately, Connor Leather hobbled off the field with an ankle injury, which brought on Pedro Girino-Casares as replacement hooker. Jon Morton saw a space and put in a long cross-field kick, finding touch on the 5-metre line. Colby Hayward stole the line-out, Mat Roots took it up and powered his way through to register the first score, unconverted by Seyhan Fell. 5 – 0.
After another 10 minutes the game looked very even with strong tackling by both teams as every attacking move was thwarted, but then the dike burst open upon Old Wills with a flood of tries within six minutes as Folkestone threw off the shackles and cut loose. A three-quarter move was started from a scrum when Adam Tolman simply side-stepped a tackle and ran through to score – Seyhan Fell converting. 12-0. Two minutes later from the same field position, Jordan Godden took a pass, cut inside and wrong-footed all the near opponents, ran 30 metres with a full pack in chase, but was strong enough to force his way over, with Seyhan Fell again converting. 19-0. Folkestone continued the rampage as another fast move by the backs created a hole for Jon Morton to sprint through and score the bonus point fourth try – before 30 minutes had elapsed. 24-0.
Old Wills were in total confusion, Callum Palmieri was passing left and right and kicked superbly. A penalty kick put The Stones back into their 5-metre zone where a maul developed, Palmieri breaking out and making ground before passing to Jon Morton who made 35 metres of fast sprint before releasing it to Adam Tolman – who ran the remaining 50 metres untouched by human hand! Another conversion by Seyhan Fell saw the score into the thirties – 31-0. But just before half time Old Wills were given a consolation try when a quick tap penalty fooled The Stones and the scrum half scored under the posts from close quarters. 31-7.
Coach Darren Molloy and skipper Seyhan Fell wanted more in their half-time panegyrics. The training ground moves were working well, the handling was superb, the tackling was decisive and demoralising for the opposition, who themselves had had their share of ball possession but were prevented from exploiting this by enthusiastic and decisive low tackling.
More misery for Old Wills wasn’t long in coming as Kyle Deakin split the defence and Thomo Murray just failed to grasp the final pass. Mat Roots and John Eustace were causing problems with their weight and powerful thrusts, but it was the speed and skill of Callum Palmieri that took a ball from a five metre line-out towards the centre-field, running right – and then switched left with Jordan Godden coming up at speed to crash over, with Seyhan Fell making his fourth conversion look easy. 38-7.
David Ballard came on to relieve the very competent Rob Godden before another setback for the floundering opposition when Jon Morton propelled a high kick into space when the elongated ellipsoid projected itself obtusely into the arms of Seyhan Fell who was able run through and score the seventh try – converting this himself. 45-7.
Only two minutes later Old Wills were undone again in the face of an attack in front of their posts they deliberately knocked on a pass from Callum Palmieri to Jordan Godden, who would have scored an easy try. The referee awarded a penalty try and the domination was complete. 52-7.
So much so were The Stones on top now, even the damage limitation for Old Wills was ruined. Folkestone were running free and on the few occasions that Old Wills had the ball the runners were felled by having their legs taken away from contact with the ground. Callum Palmieri was a master at this, but John Eustace and Liam Trinder were equally as enthusiastic.
Kieran Smith was given a run out to replace Jordan Godden whose energy, running and tackling for an hour was irrepressible and the reshuffle allowed a brief moment for Old Wills to set up an attack – only to find The Stones defending was just as formidable as their attacking. Fighting back to mid-field, Scott Stewart broke clear with the try line 50 metres away – too far, unfortunately, for his stockiness to maintain the speed required, but when Liam Trinder did the same a minute later – he made the first 30 metres, but Seyhan Fell was at his side to complete the run in for the ninth try. The conversion was missed but the score moved on to 57- 7.
Mat Roots made a break, passed to Adam Tolman who could have scored but unselfishly passed to the right where the ball was lost in a confusion, but Callum Palmieri made amends when he shrewdly kicked through a wall of defenders, ran round them all and seized the ball – running on to score and then convert his own brilliant, individual try from far out on the right wing. 64-7.
Kieran Smith and Mat Roots had opportunities, but they couldn’t sort themselves out as Old Wills were let off another try being scored against them but there was no mistake when Callum Palmieri took a quick tap penalty, broke infield against a dispirited opposition and handed the ball to Kieran Smith who completed the rout in the final move of the game, with Callum Palmieri taking the Folkestone score to 71-7 points – the highest points total scored by any team in the league this season.
Although six of the Folkestone team made their names on the scoresheet the back-up they had from the rest of the team was immense. Pedro Girini-Casares is versatile and finding his feet in the English game and is in the thick of everything, as is the stalwart Bob Porter. Colby Hayward and Rob Godden provide solidarity in the line-outs and the loose play, whilst the back row of Jordan Godden, Liam Trinder and Scott Stewart must be near to the best in the division. John Eustace and Kyle Deakin provide a wall in defence and problems for the opposition in attack, whilst Thomo Murray, although not on the scoresheet was always seen in cover and support.
This performance was the culmination of dedication, training and skill so much so that coach Darren Malloy was seen to be smiling in the Clubhouse after the game! And well he might.
Team: Adam Tolman; Thomo Murray, Kyle Deakin, John Eustace, Seyhan Fell (Capt.); Jon Morton, Callum Palmieri; Bob Porter, Connor Leather, Mat Roots; Rob Godden, Colby Hayward; Liam Trinder, Jordan Godden, Scott Stewart.
Subs: David Ballard, Kieran Smith, Pedro Girini-Casares.
Scorers: Mat Roots 5; Adam Tolman 5, 5; Seyhan Fell 2, 2, 2, 2, 5, 2, 5; Jordan Godden 5, 5; Jon Morton 5; Penalty Try 5, 2; Callum Palmieri 5, 2, 2; Kieran Smith 5.