Rugby: Dawson bursts through to keep TJs flying high

Lee Colyer

TONBRIDGE JUDDIANS ended the year in winning style for their last home game of 2016, against Sutton & Epsom.

TJs were top of the table in National Three London & South-East, and they opened the scoring with a Liam Prescott penalty before Tom Nicoll crashed over for their first try.

Both sides were well matched up front with Juddians enjoying scrum time but misfiring in the lineout. The away team, 11th in the league, had their moments, but the TJs defence held firm and conceded just a solitary penalty when the visitors might have expected more.

The hosts’ second try came from a five-metre scrum as they marched S&E back over the line for No 8 Zain van Rensburg to touch down. Mike O’Sullivan added a third from a catch and drive at a rare successful lineout throw. Half-time was reached with TJs comfortable at 18-3.

The second period started with Sutton on the front foot and TJs struggling to keep ball. The away team finally found a way round Juddians’ defence on the left and surged in for a try in the corner. Another penalty closed the gap to 18-11, leaving the game finely balanced.

However, some strong interplay from TJs saw George Lawson break free from several tackles to score. Prescott converted and Juddians had their valuable bonus point win.

Coach Pete Dankert said: “I was impressed with our defence and determination in the tackle. Line speed counted and we only lost concentration once, and S&E took their chances.

“The bonus point always matters and we now have two tough games on the road at Hertford and Combe. Two wins and we will have a very Merry Christmas. It would be good to end the year like England have.”

Juddians Under-13s are seeking new members for the squad so that they can field an additional side on a regular basis. Contact the club on 01732 358548 for more details.

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