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Gravesend 43-7 Staines
Staines Swans, who also dropped down from National 3 last season, were never a match for the strong Gravesend forwards, but kept the home side at bay until the fifteenth minute.
Overall the performance lacked any sparkle apart for the two tries scored by Tony the “poacher” Nolan, in the last three minutes of the first forty.
Despite their dominance up front, Gs could not lift the pace of the game or keep on the right side of the referee as they gave away numerous penalties when in good attacking positions.
To their credit, the Swans tackled resolutely throughout the first half that held the scores down to 5-0 until the first of Nolan’s tries which came on thirty-eight minutes.
Good ball from Gary Gray, who had an overall good afternoon, and inter-passing between Zanirato and Nolan saw the later take what looked like a lost cause before touching-down in the corner.
Zanirato added the extras to lift the score to 12-0.
As the half neared its close, Gravesend secured the ball from the drop out, moved it quickly along the line and with Bressons kicking through, Nolan won the long chase for the ball to gather and chase round for his second try in three minutes
Zanirato’s conversion rebounded out off the upright.
Seventeen points to the good at the break, Gravesend had to work hard to increase their lead apart from the quick touch down by Marc Klus following tight forward play by the pack, just two minutes in, but again Zanirato was wayward with the conversion but the score moved on to 22-0.
To say the tries from wing three-quarter Temi Okenla, Klus’s second and Tiwa Obbissesan didn’t warrant some form of accolade would be wrong, as they each finished a movement in play that showed the spectators that Gs do, at times, know how to play good rugby.
But they were mere highlights in a game that had lacked entertainment value for most of the second half.
The failure to pass the ball by a few players was frustrating for the onlookers, and to the frustration of those outside them as they seemed to be suffering from tunnel vision.
The hard working front five took the game to the Swans, while their back-row of Maynard, Thomas and Boyd did their best to gain possession at the break-downs but it was Forsyth, Cutting and Klus that stood out on the park for their efforts.
Gary Gray had a good afternoon as he combined with Michele Zanirato at half-back to keep the threes supplied with ample ball, and there was a glimpse of the old flair from the fly-half as he made the gap, but there was a staleness about the game that just couldn’t generate any real enthusiasm from the touch line.
Zanirato’s three conversions helped towards a well deserved victory that has lifted Gravesend back to second place in the division, but rather than sit back on their laurels they need to smarten up their act if they are going to compete with the other clubs at the top of the division.
The clean sheet was marred by the interception of a blind pass from Bressons to the thankful Swan Lewis Pruce who ran in under the bar. Chris Wells added the conversion to this consolation try to close the game out at 43-7
Team: 1 Charlie Cutting, 2 Marc Klus, 3 Jamie Forsyth, 4 Tomas Ford, 5 David Brooks-Smith, 6 Ziggy Stevens, 7 Tom Bird, 8 Chukwuma Osazuwa, 9 Michele Zanirato, 10 Gary Gray, 11 Temi Okenla, 12 Will Meddings, 13 Tiwa Obisesan, 14 Tony Nolan, 15 Matt Bressons 18 Dave Dorton, 17 John (Mark) Adamson, 16 Jackson Bylett.
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