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Gravesend RFC 11-0 Tonbridge Juddians
After losing away at Dover in the first week of the new Kent Cup competition, Gs had to up their game to stand any chance of progressing. A winning margin of 11 points seemed highly unlikely after the opening exchanges.
Tonbridge were camped in the Gs twenty-two from the start. Gs first touch of the ball only came after soaking up five minutes of intense pressure. By then Tonbridge could have been five points to the good had it not been for some great last ditch cover tackling out wide on the right, before Gs managed to get bodies under the ball to prevent the score.
Gradually, inch by hard fought inch, Gs clawed their way into the game and got into the Tonbridge half for the first time with twelve minutes gone, applying great pressure at the rucks. Tonbridge were penalised for not binding in the scrum and Lewis Harding narrowly missed with the penalty attempt.
It was Gs turn now to be camped in the Juddians’ half and to turn the screw. Jim Bull was dominating the line outs, a scrum was won against the head and the pick and go at the rucks was putting TJs under real pressure.
Pulsating stuff now, with Piers Walter and Matt Hewitt driving the Tonbridge scrum half and back row backwards at a rate of knots to win the turnover. It was all Gs now, good line out ball five metres out on the right led to the Gravesend try – good rucking, brilliant support and quick hands put Tom Josling away for the try wide on the left, 5-0 to Gravesend.
Lewis Harding got the second half underway with a superb kick off which Tonbridge failed to cope with, but Gs couldn’t maul the ball quickly enough. The game quickly got back to the high tempo of the first half.
Relentless rucking from Gs saw TJs on the back foot time and again. This was led by Piers Walter and Matt Hewitt combining well to cause mayhem in the visitor’s ranks.
A surging break from Nick Banfield, followed by TJ hands in the ruck gave Matt Hewitt a kick at goal; superbly struck to make it 8-0.
The stirring stuff continued, with every counter attack being returned by Gs with interest with everyone playing their part. Tonbridge were pinged for not binding at the scrum (for the umpteenth time) and Matt Hewitt struck another superb penalty to make it 11-0.
Things boiled over after a contentious tackle from the Tonbridge centre with a player on each side being sent to the sin bin.
With almost the last pay of the game Jim Bull quite literally reached lofty heights at the line out. His initial jump and lift was slightly mis-timed, but instead of returning to earth he simply hovered, then rose again to snatch the Tonbridge ball. He’s really getting this lifting lark.
A brilliant performance from the whole Gs team. Gritty defence, relentless ruck pressure and inventive back’s skills brought off a thoroughly well deserved victory. Next cup game will be Maidstone in the final group match.