Towcestrians 5 Tunbridge Wells 41

GLORIOUS MUD Frank Reynolds gets to grips with the Midlanders PHOTO: Bruce Elliott

TUNBRIDGE WELLS travelled to Towcestrians near Northampton for the first time but home advantage counted for nothing as the score proved almost a mirror image of Wells’ 41-7 victory at St Marks earlier in the season.

Constant rain and snow flurries made a wet pitch even heavier and the power of the Wells pack was to prove decisive with new signing Josh Pankhurst in dominant form in the front row.

A strong rolling maul that covered 20 metres pushed Towcestrians back after eight minutes and inside-centre Shaydn Osgood scored under the posts, Frank Reynolds converting.

Wells stretched their lead five minutes later. A huge Osgood tackle dislodged the ball and Blaise Salle then made a break for it.

Skipper Chaz Spence kicked the ball through for the chasing Matt Spicer to dot down out wide, though this time Reynolds missed the extras.

At the restart the captain was on the receiving end of a heavy late tackle as he kicked and had to leave the field for the duration.

Towcestrians had a defensive scrum 30 metres out but a huge Wells push stole the ball.

Nick Doherty expertly drew the final man and passed to Max Douch to score on 23 minutes. Again the conversion went astray.

Doherty then stole a home line-out before setting off on a 40-metre run, beating three defenders for a spectacular individual try, Reynolds converting, and the try bonus point was in the bag after 36 minutes.

On the stroke of half-time another powerful scrum saw a pushover try for Doherty, and the visitors went in at half-time 29-0 ahead.

Doherty’s hat-trick came on 49 minutes with another pushover try, converted by Reynolds.

From the ensuing kick-off, an apparent late tackle on Reynolds infuriated the visiting side.

The referee yellow-carded both the Towcestrians’ No 8 for the tackle and Osgood for his involvement in the subsequent scuffling.

This seemed to unsettle Wells and they conceded a procession of penalties, allowing the home side to dominate territory and possession for 20 minutes.

On 70 minutes Spicer was also yellow-carded for a deliberate knock-on but the home side still could not cross the line.

Wells got back on track at the scrum and the Doherty brothers combined with Nick putting in older brother Mike for Wells’ seventh try with three minutes left.

Nine minutes of injury time was to prove frustrating for Wells as the home side finally scored a try from a forward drive and then Osgood received a second yellow card for a tackle offence.

Yet a superb team performance sees Wells remain in sixth position in the London and South-East Premier Division.

Next they host Sutton & Epsom at St Marks on Saturday (January 27, kick-off 2pm).