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Gravesend 11-31 CS Rugby 1863
Following their victory over Staines the previous week, the team and their supporters were hopeful of a repeat performance at Rectory Field last Saturday.
Any hopes that Gs had of gaining a win that would move them into a safer league position were alive until the break, but were quickly dashed by an unanswered trio of goals that keeps them close to the drop zone.
CS Rugby arrived at Gravesend on the back of a four match losing sequence, and as they had never won at Rectory Field, were expecting a close encounter.
True to form there was little between the sides as they battled out the first half, Gs on top in the pack, while the CS three-quarters were always dangerous with the ball in hand.
It was just six minutes in to the game, Gravesend were forced to defend on their left, and with a three man overlap on the right, the visitors quickly spread the ball wide for Wells to give Mitchell a scoring pass for a try in the corner.
Hadden missed the conversion but CS were 0-5 in front.
While this was going on, Curley took an injury, badly dislocated elbow, and ended up at Darenth Valley hospital, this puts him out of availability for the trip to Guernsey this coming Saturday.
Nathan Sawyer came on as replacement for his senior debut at National 3 level.
Gs were soon back on the offensive and the next ten minutes was played inside the visitors twenty-two.
Several set pieces later and as they drove over the line, for what looked like a levelling try, it was judged to have been held up.
At the next scrum a penalty, for slipping the bind in the front row, allowed Meddings to pull the scores to 3-5.
Always a danger the well drilled CS backs, ably led from the middle by Hadden, were only kept out by the resolute defending by Gs, with Riley in the thick of this.
Just into the third quarter and Gs broke out from their ten metre line. Gray, McMurtrie, Bishop and Moorey, inter-passing as they made ground before Moorey finish off with a touch-down.
Meddings’ kick edged pass the uprights as Gs took the lead 8-5.
Riley left the field injured to be replaced by Powdrell, and looks to be another doubtful for next week.
A four minute flurry saw Gs defence stretched again and this time it was front row forward Evans that was in the line to finish a move that had gone from one wing to the other, CS were back in front 8-10.
With the last play of the first half in progress, CS’s Clarke was penalised for killing the ball. Meddings duly obliged from the tee for a half time score of 11-10.
The second half saw a more motivated CS Rugby XV on the park as they showed more urgency in their play.
Gs meanwhile reverted to the style of play that we last saw when they were away to Tring. There were so many handling errors that it was impossible to keep count of them.
There was a good share of possession going Gs way, but service from the breakdown was slow, giving the visitors time to smother any attacks early.
Some of the home forwards were showing a degree of fitness that left them walking from one phase to the next, and when the ball was in play, often out of position and in the way of any backs movements.
Much of the home XV’s attacking moves were, straight down the middle, into the strong back-row defence of the visitors. Such was the repetitive nature of these moves that they were killed on every occasion.
Meanwhile the visitors’ backs were showing good variation in their play, which, deservingly led to three tries, Hadden, Corrado and Peel with Hadden adding the conversion to all three.
The final score-line of 11-31 could perhaps have been a little closer, but CS gave the impression that they wanted victory more than Gs, and had the flair to get it.
Team: McMurtrie, Curley, Bishop, Moorey, Meddings, Gray, Clement, Cutting, Moorey, Forsyth, Newman, Irvine, Stevens, Riley, Klus. Rep: Lines, Powdrell, Sawyer.