Westcombe Park 11 Tunbridge Wells 10
TUNBRIDGE WELLS’ visit to nearby Goddington Dene saw another wet day and heavy pitch, and they could not replicate their domination of Sutton & Epsom the week before.
Combe have recruited recently in a bid to avoid relegation and a large pack took to the field equipped to give the visitors a hard afternoon. Points were hard to come by and after a flurry in the first 20 minutes there was little on offer.
Combe took advantage of early pressure with Jordan Saunders driving over the line for an unconverted try on four minutes.
A dump tackle saw a Combe centre head to the sin bin on eight minutes and Frank Reynolds made no mistake with the ensuing penalty.
The visitors could not take advantage of the extra man as Mike Doherty limped off to be replaced by Richard Webster.
After consistent pressure, however, Shaydn Osgood broke through the Combe cover to go over, with Reynolds converting on 20 minutes.
The only further score of the half came from a 33rd-minute penalty from Combe full-back Will Robinson and Wells went in at half-time 10-8 ahead.
The second period was dominated by the home side with half-backs James Cameron and new signing Ed Durki putting in precise and tactically astute kicks.
Their possession eventually told when Robinson kicked a penalty for offside on 65 minutes to put Combe in the lead for the first time.
With injury time looming came the key moment of the game as Cameron made a rare mistake, kicking low with the ball ricocheting back behind the Combe defence.
Reynolds latched on to it like a greyhound and kicked on to beat the cover and dive for what all thought was a score.
However, the referee disallowed it because he was unsighted and could not confirm that the ball had been grounded.
Wells’ performance was spirited and competitive, and they pocketed a losing bonus point to remain in sixth place in London and South-East Premier Division.
They now enjoy a rare week off before travelling to Hertford on February 17 (kick-off 2.30pm).