Islanders’ fights back in try-fest

Islanders' fights back in try-fest
Tunbridge Wells rugby

The home side got off to a flier when the ball found its way to tight-head prop Carl Straeche on the right wing and he powered over for his first try in the senior side after three minutes, but Frank Reynolds missing the conversion.

Wells had an attacking line-out 15 metres out and from the ensuing maul Mike Doherty forced his way wide on the left, but the conversion was missed.

The home side would not let Guernsey into the game. Full-back Ryan Taylor-Dennehy ran deep into the opposition half and slipped the ball to Angus Horne, who dived over for another unconverted try on 17 minutes.

Guernsey’s large pack finally got their team on the scoreboard from the maul, though this time it was Owen Thomas’s turn to miss the conversion on a tough day for kickers.

Replacement Matt Spicer responded by engineering an exquisite pop-up pass to Eddie Croft, the scrum-half crossing out wide on the left for the bonus point try after 27 minutes but he did not convert.

The visiting pack were starting to demonstrate a clear edge and a powerful pick-and-go saw them score again, with Thomas converting the first kick of the day at the sixth attempt.

Mike Doherty was cleared out illegally by visiting prop Jacob Pinkney, who received a yellow card.

When a penalty was awarded to Wells, there was a bout of ‘handbags’ that led to two more players heading to the sin-bin, Wells’ Stuart Nicholls and Guernsey’s flanker Dom Rice.

After Reynolds kicked for the corner from another penalty, the Wells backs joined the maul and lifted Tui Tauaika over the line for an unconverted try, giving the hosts a 25-12 lead at half-time.

Eight minutes into the second half Horne set off on a pacy run down the left and crossed in the corner for his second try, which was not converted.

But it was now that Guernsey turned the tide. After a series of drives No 8 Doug Horrocks burrowed over under the posts, Thomas converting.

Nick Doherty was sent to the sin bin and from the ensuing lineout a driving maul surged over, Thomas adding the extras to reduce the deficit to four points.

A high-tackle penalty then saw Guernsey pick-and-drive at the posts before cleverly switching the play back to the blind side for left wing Mike Agyei-King to cross. Thomas’ fine touchline conversion give the visitors a three-point lead on 72 minutes.

Injury to Tauaika saw Wells down to 14 players but they held on for a richly deserved bonus point as Guernsey ran down the clock.

Wells entertain league leaders Rochford Hundred on Saturday (January 25, kick-off 2pm).


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