Saturday 28th September 2019. London 3SE. By:Alan Schofield
RAMPANT FOLKESTONE KNOCK GILLINGHAM ANCHS. COMPLETELY OFF THE PERCH
Interestingly the top three places in league table, prior to this encounter, were occupied by two promoted teams and one relegated team and it was the promoted high flying and high scoring Anchs who were top, but it was a short spell of illustriousness as they were completely knocked of the perch by rampant Folkestone team running in 11 tries in a field day of open, running rugby.
Coach, Darren Molloy, introduced a new combination with Lewis Howland coming into the team at scrum half and Callum Palmieri going to the No 10, fly half position. Tom Snare came back into the front row, with Dave Ballard going to the second row.
The match started with no hint of what was to come. Anchs showed pace and movement and fully up to everything that Folkestone offered. Jack Brooks and Jon Morton forced them back with good kicks, but immediately they retaliated with a fast and dangerous move on the right wing swinging the ball back infield, when Folkestone were penalised in front the posts, to concede the first score. 0 – 3.
When Folkestone swung the ball quickly down the three-quarters a clear space was created but the last pass went to ground with the try line beckoning, but when Anchs did the same thing the passes weren’t as crisp and fast and Seyhan Fell, ever alert, intercepted and ran clear to score and convert under the posts. 7 – 3. Anchs came back strongly from the restart and scored three minutes later after a series of attacks that were superbly defended by the Folkestone team until a penalty, a quick tap and a dash to the line undid them. 7 – 8.
The Stones struck back minutes later - Tom Snare broke loose and ran clear for 40 metres with Anchs desperately trying to catch him, but Jack Brooks had caught him up – took the final pass and touched down and converted into seven points by Seyhan Fell. 14 – 8. This was woeful defending by Anchs who had, up this point, looked at least equal to The Stones. But there was a setback for The Stones when Jack Brooks was taken off with a dislocated shoulder (later relocated in hospital by our brilliant NHS with Jack being able to return for the after-match celebrations). Freddy Faiers came onto the wing and Adam Tolman moved inside.
But now the whole game changed. Folkestone were fully warmed up and flowing. Mat Roots and Tom Snare held the scrums firmly, Colby Hayward and Liam Trinder were solid catchers in the line-out with some accurate throwing-in from Connor Leather, whilst Alex Price and Scott Stewart secured the possession well. Another breakaway by Tom Snare and Adam Tolman combined to take the ball the full length of the field before a try was denied, from a fudged line out by Anchs a scrum 5 metres out was won by Folkestone, held in the back row – and suddenly Scott Stewart popped up with the ball and went over on the blind side unopposed – with Seyhan Fell superbly converting into the wind from the touch line area. 21 – 8.
Anchs were split right open again by Adam Tolman, kicking 50 metres into open space, the recovery was only partial as Scott Stewart nicked the ball, took it right and found Folkestone’s fastest runner in Freddy Faiers – diving over for the bonus point try completed by yet another amazing conversion by Seyhan Fell. 28 – 8.
But on the stroke of half time Anchs were sharp in taking two very quick tap penalties when Folkestone ran off-side twice, the second catching them out of defenders and having to concede a try, giving Anchs hope with 28 – 15 showing on the score board, made worse for The Stones as Colby Hayward’s off-side was deemed to be worth a Yellow Card.
Fifteen minutes later the same score board showed a 54 – 15 score after the most incredible periods of rugby, probably ever seen at Burlington Fields as Anchs were ripped apart. Three minutes into the second half Freddy Faiers ran over after Lewis Howland totally confused the defence from the back of a scrum - almost immediately followed when Adam Tolman, Palmieri and Jon Morton split the opposition wide open with Tom Snare on hand to complete a 70 metre movement. Austin Hogben came on for Mat Root, who had not only held the scrum firm, but made his own ball carrying tell. An interception by Thomo Murray took Anchs back into their 5-metre zone, a long clearance kick was fielded by Adam Tolman who almost made it to the line before Tom Snare snaffled the ball and touched it down. From the kick off Liam Trinder, Jon Morton, Connor Leather and Seyhan Fell ran Anchs ragged before the final pass to Freddy Faiers who went over for the eight try and his hat-trick. Of these four tries in 15 minutes, Seyhan Fell converted three and hit the post with the other!
Folkestone were running free, Alex Price fed Adam Tolman, a quick run, a quick pass and Callum Palmieri was clear through and with his speed unstoppable, as the score went into the 60’s with another conversion 61 – 15.
Scott Stewart gave his place to Rob Godden who combined with Colby Hayward to make a formidable line-out and running combination and with Alex Price and Liam Trinder they are a back five surely as good as any in the league. A slight confusion in defence by The Stones, whilst looking for attack, gave Anchs a gap and they were able to nip through to score their third try – that gave them hope of a bonus point. 61-22. But this was not to be as Folkestone took over the game for the final minutes with Adam Tolman running in the eleventh try with the Anchs defence beaten and dejected. 71-22.
A superb performance of Folkestone’s typical open running rugby in front of a large crowd on a superb pitch was an inspirational to the team, the coaches and the supporters.
Notes: - The white lines this day were expertly painted by Joe Feeney, but there was one noticeable wobble on the dead ball line– this was done as Joe heard the result of the Ireland v Japan match in the World Cup.
Having been suspended for some sesquipedalian match reports future griffonages will be in the more accomplished metacarpi of another reporter – hurray!
Team: Adam Tolman; Thomo Murray, Jack Brooks, Jon Morton, Seyhan Fell Capt.); Callum Palmieri, Lewis Howland; Tom Snare, Connor Leather, Mat Roots; Colby Hayward, David Ballard; Alex Price, Liam Trinder, Scott Stewart.
Subs: Austin Hogben, Rob Gooden, Freddie Faiers,
Scorers: Seyhan Fell 5, 2, 2, 2, 2, 2, 2, 2, 2; Jack Brooks 5; Scott Stewart 5; Faiers 5, 5, 5; Tom Snare 5, 5; Callum Palmieri 5; Adam Tolman 5, 5.