Rugby: Tunbridge Wells secure safety while sending Chingford down

Rugby: Tunbridge Wells secure safety while sending Chingford down
PULLING AWAY: Nick Doherty makes a break, supported by Frank Reynolds PHOTO: Bruce Elliott

TUNBRIDGE WELLS recorded an emphatic win in the penultimate home game of this season to put some distance between themselves and the three teams who are facing relegation in the London & South-East Premier Division.

The result condemned the Essex side to the drop, and results elsewhere also helped to guarantee Wells status in the league after an inconsistent campaign which included a defeat by two points at Chingford.

The visitors had lost seven of their last eight games but five of these had been by just one score and they had also drawn against second-placed Wimbledon, so this was unlikely to be an easy game for a home side.

Chingford were repeatedly penalised throughout the game, and an early infringement allowed Wells to gain a new foothold and open the scoring on eight minutes.

Fly-half Frank Reynolds scythed through the defence inside the 22 and passed to the excellent Mike Hathaway. The flanker touched down under the posts, and Reynolds’ conversion was simple.

The nerves were evident on both sides and were typified by a Wells knock-on and penalty from the restart, but the kick went wide.

Chingford began to exert pressure and were rewarded on 16 minutes. A powerful run from centre Sam Kendall saw the ball spun wide and prop David Banfield showed good pace to score an unconverted try.

Wells bounced back immediately. After turning the ball over, Nick Doherty and Hathaway drove powerfully and Brendan Crosilla plunged over between the posts, Reynolds converting.

Chingford missed another penalty and ill discipline was costing them as they conceded three successive penalties to hand Wells 65 metres.

As the game moved into first-half stoppage time, good hands from Charlie Rigby and George Montgomery put second row Josh Hawkins into space and he galloped over for a try. Reynolds’ conversion hit the post but Wells went in with a 19-5 lead at half-time.

After the break the game became very scrappy and Crosilla received a yellow card on 53 minutes for a dangerous tackle.

On the hour-mark, replacement Nick Doherty provided a trademark break and offload, Reynolds linked superbly with Montgomery and he cruised over for the bonus-point try which Reynolds converted.

With Brentwood losing to Sutton & Epsom, Tunbridge Wells had secured their place in the league with three games to spare.

Now Tunbridge Wells travel to Dorking on Saturday [March 30, kick-off 3pm].

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