Rugby: Tunbridge Wells learn their lesson to beat SC Stags

Rugby: Tunbridge Wells learn their lesson to beat SC Stags
ALL TOGETHER NOW: Ben Isbell tries to force his way through PHOTO: Bruce Elliott

TUNBRIDGE WELLS showed greater fortitude to close out this tight contest in Chiswick after the disappointment of throwing away a 17-point lead in injury time the previous week.

Their prospects did not look good when, following a stalemate in the first 25 minutes, Nick Doherty was sin-binned after a team warning.

The London side took advantage of the extra man and scored between the posts three minutes later after the ball was fumbled at the back, then added the conversion. They scored another converted try soon afterwards off a lineout.

When Doherty returned Wells were soon on the attack with wave after wave of pick-and-drives, and Mike Hathaway finally powered over the line with Frank Reynolds converting to reduce the deficit to 14-7 at half-time.

Wells came out for the second half with the strong wind at their backs and came out of the blocks quickly.

A quick lineout between Brendan Crossilla and Josh Pankhurst saw the ball go through fast hands. George Montgomery took a straight line which split the Stags defence and he was driven over the line by his pack. Reynolds again successfully converted to level the scores.

Soon the physical defence took its toll on Stags, with their influential second row taking a knock to the head and having to leave the field.

He was soon followed by the scrum-half and a back-row forward, which allowed Wells to take a hold of the game.

They scored further tries through Taylor-Dennehy, Mike Doherty and a second for Hathaway, all three looking threatening all game.

With five minutes to go, however, Stags broke through the solid defensive wall and scored out wide, clawing the deficit back to 19-24.

But Wells had learned their lesson from the week before and when they kicked off, Charlie Rigby turned the ball over and the forwards took control once again.

From 10 phases of play and excellent possession, the ball was spun wide for Mike Doherty to score between the posts and Reynolds converted to round off an excellent team performance.

Wells now require just five points to ensure their place in the London and South-East Premier Division next season.

They are in 11th place, and after a weekend off they entertain 12th-placed Chingford on Saturday March 23 [kick-off 3pm].

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