Barnes 35 Tunbridge Wells 7
AFTER Tunbridge Wells’ winning start to life in the London & South-East Premier last week, the trip to Barnes proved a hard dose of reality at this level.
The south-west London club have been playing in National League Two South for three seasons and they showed good organisation in the lineout and scrum and dominated possession early on.
Two rolling maul tries, by No 8 and skipper Ciaran Smyth after just four minutes and again by prop Tom McArthur after 17 minutes, put Barnes in the driving seat.
Wells came close down the right when winger Matt Spicer was ankle-tapped close to the line after a 20-metre surge while a Barnes back row was in the sin bin.
However, with the Wells lineout misfiring the half-backs were tending to kick away, often without gaining any advantage.
Just before half-time, several phases saw Barnes full-back Tom O’Toole breach the line at speed and the hosts went in at the interval 21-0 ahead.
The Wells defence in midfield was standing up relatively well with Shadyn Osgood and Fionn McLoughlin getting in some good hits.
But the home pack was in the ascendancy and four successive scrums saw them drive Wells back over their own line for a back row to dive in.
Wells then suffered a yellow card for a team offence, awarded to Chas Dagwell, on the hour as the game fragmented. Barnes put on the drive and then released their backs with centre Matt Cornish going over and O’Toole ensuring a 100 per cent record with conversions.
Unfortunately for Wells, Osgood and Jake Thompson clashed heads whilst trying to keep Cornish out and the latter went off to hospital with a serious cut to his head.
Just as the team was back to full strength with Dagwell back on the pitch, Kyle McGarvie was yellow-carded and Wells were back down to 14.
The visitors rallied, however, as back row Hayden Pengelly spotted a misalignment in the Barnes defence and went in under the posts.
The try was converted by Frank Reynolds to make the final score 35-7.
Wells must work on several aspects of their game before they travel to top-of-the-table Guernsey on Saturday (September 16).