Tonbridge Juddians 41: Worthing 14
The opening stages saw both sides willing to run despite the heavy pitch. Finlay Coxon-Smith, formerly of Worthing, made a fine chase-back and tackle to stop the visitors scoring early.
Then Toby May intercepted a pass well inside his own half and and found wing Hugo Watson alongside to take his off-load and score TJs’ first try in the corner, which was not converted.
For the next 25 minutes the game evened out. Worthing had a tendency to concede penalties and Will Robinson duly slotted one to increase the lead.
Worthing’s lock forward Jack Lee received a yellow card and from the scrum at another penalty centre Rob White showed good pace on his outside break to score, Robinson converting.
So the hosts led 15-0 at half-time but from a lineout early in the second half Worthing’s prop Henry Birch crashed over for Worthing and Matt McLean converted from the touchline.
TJs responded by turning the ball over at the ruck and lock forward Rory McHugh strode away on the counter-attack to touch down for a try, Robinson adding the extras.
Speedy wing Tom Chapman made progress for TJs and the ball was successfully recycled out to the left where Hugo Watson went over for his second try, which went unconverted.
TJs were now in fine flowing form and fly-half Robinson produced some fancy footwork to dart through and score close to the posts, then converted his own try.
Two minutes later, Chapman broke through a tackle and, well supported by Robinson and flanker Mark Davey, scrum-half Charlie Edwards scored TJs’ sixth try, Robinson converting.
The game was in the bag for TJs after that flurry of tries but visitors had the final say, centre Kieran Leeming exploiting an overlap to cross for a try which McLean converted.
The news that Henley had been beaten at Redruth meant that TJs were restored to top spot, just one point ahead of the Hawks.
Henley now entertain Tonbridge in a crunch match on Saturday (February 1, kick-off 2.30pm).