FOLKESTONE 1stXV 30 PULBOUROUGH 1stXV 13
Saturday 26th October 2019 London 3SE Report By: Gerry Attrick
FOLKESTONE STAY TOP WITH A BONUS POINT WIN IN APPALLING CONDITIONS
In conditions far from being conducive to Folkestone’s open style of running rugby the team ground out a solid win against good opposition in spite of 21 penalties and 31 scrums and lineouts in a game where the score was a reflection of the territory and possession that the home XV held through most of the match.
Pulborough, having been beaten by Folkestone two weeks previously, had to make the ridiculous journey from deep into West Sussex to complete this reverse fixture which, for non-professional Clubs, is an expense that is difficult to afford. But it seemed it was all worthwhile as The Stones missed a centre-field tackle in the second minute of the game and ‘Boro ran through for converted try under the posts 0 – 7.
Pulborough racked up four penalties against themselves in the first 15 minutes coupled with a warning from the referee. Seyhan Fell slotted the second and the fourth to bring Folkestone to within a point. 6-7. The fifth infringement, for a high tackle then earned a yellow card before ‘Boro went behind in the game – Callum Palmieri placed the penalty kick nicely into the 5 metre zone, the forwards combined behind Liam Trinder and the power of the front row took Mat Roots over with Tom Snare and Connor Leather in close support. 11 – 7.
Play, although continuously halted with handling errors and infringements, had been – and continued to be – nearly all in the ‘Boro half of the field which was to the credit of the home side playing against the strong wind. But it was equally difficult for The Stones to make decisive ground against a well organised and solid defence.
But it was Folkestone who were strained to the limit when ‘Boro created an overlap on the left wing and an open field gave their fast wingman an eighty-metre run only being brought down by a tackle, following an exceptional cross-field sprint, by Freddy Faiers. But ‘Boro obtained some reward when Callum Palmieri ran off-side, was yellow-carded and the penalty kick was neatly slotted from the 22-metre line. 11 – 10.
As the sides turned round after half-time the rain intensified but it did not prevent James Mead and Freddy Faiers stretching the ‘Boro defence, but that same defence was left standing when Adam Tolman intercepted a pass and sprinted from the halfway line to score under the posts -the conversion attempt was unsuccessful. 16-10.
Connor Leather was dynamic in this game and seemed to revel in the conditions, but a scrum penalty conceded by Folkestone was duly converted by ‘Boro bringing the scores quite close at 16 – 13. James Archer and Jon Morton replaced Mat Roots and James Mead. Another infringement by ‘Boro was penalised and Callum Palmieri put the ball into touch very close to the try line. Liam Trinder brought the ball under control and Lewis Howland fed John Eustace and Rob Godden with a run - and a passing sequence was only halted by a knock-on with the ball now very slippery and difficult to handle.
Folkestone began to gain ascendancy after a mid-field battle for possession. A scrum on the 22 metre line set Dave Ballard and Tom Snare going forward but ‘Boro turned it over, passed the ball back for the clearance kick from the in-goal area – but Callum Palmieri, sharp as ever, not only charged down the kick from the toe end, but then had the sharpness to be able to put his hand on the wobbling ball on the ground– and the try was awarded. Seyhan Fell added another two points and Folkestone were now stretching ahead. 23 – 13.
James Mead came back on field to briefly rest Adam Tolman and Kieran Smith replaced the very effective Dave Ballard whose strength in tackling and in setting up attacking situations was well noted by knowledgeable crowd. The efforts of Alex Price and Jeremie Cowell, always in the thick of the action, also are a tremendous asset to this team. John Morton was escorted off with a blood injury, and Adam Tolman had to resume his position.
The final quarter of the match was mostly in Folkestone’s favour as Pulborough, although not short of ideas, but they were short on execution – giving The Stones more and more advantage. The breakthrough came with Alex Price breaking from a scrum and releasing Adam Tolman who was able to outsmart and outpace a now enervated opposition. Seyhan Fell completed the score that gave Folkestone the full 5 points that kept them at the top of the table. 30 – 13.
Folkestone showed on this day that not only did they have the running and passing skills, but they were also able to use muscle, sweat and grind against opponents that no team in the league will find easy to beat.
Team: Adam Tolman; Freddie Faiers, Seyhan Fell (Capt,), John Eustace, James Mead; Callum Palmieri, Lewis Howland, Tom Snare, Connor Leather, Mat Roots; Dave Ballard, Rob Godden; Alex Price, Jeremie Cowell, Liam Trinder.
Subs: James Archer, Kieran Smith, Jon Morton.
Scoring: Fell 3, 3, 2, 2; Roots 5; Tolman 5, 5; Palmieri 5.