Rugby: Tunbridge Wells hang on after early red card to beat Dorking

Rugby: Tunbridge Wells hang on after early red card to beat Dorking
SEIZE THE DAY: Academy player Lucas Scully was man of the match on his First XV debut PHOTO: Bruce Elliott

HAVING assured themselves of a third season in the London & South East Premier League, Tunbridge Wells travelled to Surrey to take on a Dorking side who are five places above them but only four points ahead, illustrating how competitive the division is.

Wells made a strong start, a typically robust run from Mike Doherty feeding Dave Allen in support and he powered over for the opening try after three minutes. Frank Reynolds slipped the conversion wide.

A penalty for offside put the hosts on the board but worse was to come as Wells talisman Nick Doherty was red-carded for dangerous play and Dorking took the lead with another kick.

It was Reynolds ‘ turn to slot a penalty and make it 8-6, after which Wells had to resist a 15-minute period of Dorking domination.

As half-time approached Dorking were still camped on the Wells line and had an attacking scrum. Wells’ seven-man pack held firm and earned a penalty.

Allen secured scrappy ball from the ensuing line-out and it was moved to Mike Doherty, who broke a couple of tackles before accelerating away on a 60-metre run to score. Reynolds converted for a 15-6 lead at half-time.

On 45 minutes Wells stretched their lead when Mike Doherty again found space and fed Ryan Taylor-Dennehy 30 metres out. He dummied the full-back to score an unconverted try.

Despite being a man down, Wells were looking comfortable but they were even more severely tested when Josh Hawkins received a yellow card for a late tackle on 56 minutes.

With 15 against 13 Dorking did manage to cross for an unconverted try on 61 minutes when centre Ryan Jeffrey forced his way over to reduce the deficit to 20-11.

With seven minutes left, Reynolds was tackled high by Rory Mitchell, who was yellow-carded, and the fly-half successfully kicked the penalty.

Home flanker Josh Grant scored a late try that was converted by Killian Wilson but there was to be no nerve-jangling ending as time ran out.

Wells move up to eighth place ahead of their final home game against Kent rivals Sidcup on Saturday [April 6, kick-off 3pm].

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