Tunbridge Wells 39 Shelford 19
TUNBRIDGE WELLS enjoyed an excellent start to their first campaign in the London & South-East Premier after their promotion last season.
It was not the best of starts as visiting Shelford turned up late after heading for Tonbridge Juddians’ ground by mistake.
The hosts wasted no time in making their presence felt. They were down to 14 men after just four minutes when hooker Luke Hawkins was yellow-carded for a high tackle.
But they made amends just two minutes later, as quick and precise handling in the backs released centre Dylan Barkas, who went over powerfully.
Ryan Taylor-Dennehy, back in the team after a spell in China, burst through the middle to score, leaving several players in his wake.
And on 38 minutes fly-half Frank Reynolds got in on the act, supporting his centres Barkas and Shadyn Osgood to score and convert his own try.
Shelford scored their second try on the stroke of half-time, so Wells went in at the interval 24-12 up.
Turnovers under pressure dogged the home side, who saw a second yellow card for Charlie Dagwell.
Immense tackling from Shadyn Osgood and Taylor-Dennehy managed to save two tries at the corner flag but the Wells defence was tiring.
Centre Grant Anderson scored under the posts for Shelford to reduce the deficit to 24-19 and the visitors were a try away from snatching victory.
Wells had to wait until the closing minutes before opening their second-half account with a long-range penalty from Reynolds.
Shelford threw caution to the wind and after another crunching tackle by Osgood, Hayden Pengelly released left wing Matt Spicer to score again for Wells in the 83rd minute.
Wells face a stiff challenge on Saturday (September 9) when they visit Barnes, who were relegated from National Two South last season.
TOUCH OF CLASS
Dylan Barkas sprints down the wing for the final try