CS Rugby 20-17 Tunbridge Wells
By Graham Withers
Tunbridge Wells were left with a sizeable injury list after their defeat to CS Rugby, including captain Lee Campion.
Having made a significant impact since signing from local rivals Tonbridge Juddians – who halted Wells’ 40-game unbeaten run last weekend – the new skipper has quickly become established to help place Wells in contention among the division’s leading pack.
But Campion’s dislocated shoulder, which he suffered early on during the away match against CS at Chiswick, proved a major blow for the visitors as they suffered another defeat.
The host squad looked young and fit, and it was clear from the outset they were intent on a quick and expansive game, placing Wells on the back foot for the first 10 minutes with no respite.
CS deservedly went ahead on 15 minutes through Tom Hodgson’s long-range penalty. They were soon back on the attack with Toby Guyett scoring under the posts and a conversion from Hodgson making it 10-0 after 18 minutes.
However, Wells eventually responded with Chaz Spence becoming much more prominent at scrum-half, and he launched an attack from inside his own half.
The ball was moved to Ollie Lewis-Donaldson, and the centre is in great form at present. He beat two men before putting Charlie Dagwell away and the replacement wing showed great pace and power to score in the corner.
With a fine conversion by Frank Reynolds Wells were finally in the game at 10-7. Then in the final play of the half, CS were penalised and Reynolds made no mistake to bring the scores level.
Yet it was the hosts who took the lead again after the break. On 56 minutes, despite a fine try-saving tackle earlier in the move by Kyle McGarvie, good hands put speedy replacement winger Mike Griffiths away for an unconverted try, making it 15-10.
Mike Hathaway’s tackle turnover earned wells a penalty that Reynolds used to drive Wells into the CS half. Matt Cook secured the line-out and the forwards drove it on through Chris Goodyer and Nick Blacklock.
With the home side’s defence sucked in, Spence switched the direction of play and Lewis-Donaldson scythed through the defence for the try. With Reynolds converting, Wells went ahead by two for the first time on 61 minutes.
CS responded with 10 minutes to go when Griffiths crossed again for another unconverted try to set up a grandstand finale, with the scores set at 20-17.
A late Wells chance was denied when an attacking passing move was broken down by a defender’s outstretched arm which appeared to knock the ball forward for a seeming penalty. However, the referee adjudged it to be no more than a knock-on and the game was over.
Graham Withers, Tunbridge Wells’ Chairman, said: “We picked up several injuries including Lee Campion and Matt Cook, who suffered concussion in a game against a very good team.
“CS Rugby came at us strongly and it was a tough day at the office, finding ourselves 10-0 down. We upped our game for the second half, but we had a decision that went against us late on, which cost us the game.
He added: “We’ll hopefully have a few people recovered from previous injuries for our game against Cobham at home this weekend, so it will be an opportunity for them.”