Rugby: Defeat leaves Tunbridge Wells’ play-off ambitions in jeopardy

    Tunbridge Wells 12 Brighton 17

    HAIR RAISING Jake Thompson goes on a break PHOTO: Bruce Elliott

    AFTER this defeat at home to Brighton, and with Havant getting past CS 1863 by a point, the gap between them in second place and Tunbridge Wells in third widens to six points.

    So the advantage swings back towards the Hampshire side in the quest for a play-off place in London One South.

    In the first minute, the visitors went down to 14 as No 7 Joe Hoare was given a yellow card for a head-high tackle.

    This did not seem to hamper their game and inside five minutes Brighton’s left wing Zac Alldred-Downey sped 80 metres for the first touchdown.

    The hosts themselves went down a man on the quarter-hour after a yellow card for another head high tackle.

    Three minutes later, Wells were 12-0 down when they conceded a penalty try under pressure at a 10-metre scrum.

    Then the blustery wind further added to Wells’ woes as a missed ball in the air saw Brighton’s lead stretch to 17-0.

    In the second half Wells needed to get back into the game quickly and were playing with the wind this time. They duly set up camp on the Brighton 22.

    This brought dividends quickly as Brighton fly-half Lewis Evans kicked the ball straight at a Wells player at waist height.

    Several pairs of hands later and centre Fionn McLaughlin got the try under the posts but Frank Reynolds could not convert it.

    The town side just could not find the cohesion or the patience to build winning platforms as Brighton defended ferociously.

    It took the Wells until the 64th minute for a thumping tackle from centre Dylan Barkas to dislodge the ball, and skipper Lee Campion powered over close to the posts for a try converted by Hayden Pope.

    Wells could still get back in the game with 18 minutes remaining but Brighton worked furiously to slow the ball.

    It appeared that on the day the visitors wanted the win more than the injury-ravaged hosts.

    The Wells now travel to bottom side Gosport & Fareham on Saturday.