Rugby: Outstanding Tonbridge Juddians beat runaway leaders Rams

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WHERE THERE’S A WILL: Will Robinson attacks the Rams defensive line in an influential performance PHOTO: Adam Hookway

TONBRIDGE JUDDIANS produced another exhilarating performance to defeat the runaway National Two South leaders Rams, ending their 17-game winning streak.

TJs started well and were soon on the front foot. Rams looked to counter with a forward-orientated game but Will Robinson slotted an early penalty to give Tonbridge the lead.

Good phase play gave TJs an attacking position and Robinson kicked high and right to find Murray Galbraith-Lowe, who caught and drove over for an unconverted try.

The Reading side responded well, a series of penalties taking them into TJs’ 22. The home side were under great pressure and Charlie Edwards was yellow-carded.

Rams took advantage to cross for their first try, which was converted from the right touchline with the wind at the kicker’s back.

The Rams pack was now in full cry and with TJs again on the back foot defending their goalline, the visitors crashed over for a second try, which was not converted.

TJs were still linking well and with Edwards restored, centre Duncan Tout burst through tackles in midfield and almost reached the line.

In the ensuing ruck Rams conceded a penalty which Robinson duly converted to reduce the deficit to one point at half-time, 12-11.

At the start of the second half the game opened up a little and swung back and forth without any end product, but then TJ’s Finlay Coxon-Smith received the ball inside his own half and set off down the right flank.

He offloaded in the tackle to Tout, who did the same to find Toby May in support and he strolled over for TJs’ second try, Robinson converting.

TJs were back in front and playing attractive running rugby. Robinson was dictating the play and the hosts were soon deep in Rams’ territory.

With 15 minutes to go TJs produced what prove to be the winning score as they went close to the goalline, employing short pick-and-drive play.

They were keeping the ball close and making steady progress when the ball was slipped out to Tout, who had the strength and momentum to step inside and burst through the tacklers to score; Robinson added the extras.

The dying minutes of the match saw Rams opening up and throwing everything at TJs in their attempt to retrieve a result.

TJs defence was solid and sometimes desperate, but they stood firm until the last play of the game when Rams crossed for a converted try and a bonus point.

This was a fine, spirited win against a very strong team who had only lost one game previously and will surely be promoted to National One next season.

Tonbridge remain in third place as they travel to Guernsey, who are propping up the league, on Saturday [February 16, kick-off 2pm].

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