Tunbridge Wells 34 CS 1863 12
THERE was an extra warm-up routine for the home side as they wielded brooms to clear the lines from the morning’s snow. But Wells still suffered a cold start to this London One South game.
Wells were delighted to welcome back their skipper Lee Campion, who returned after having a shoulder operation to fix an injury he suffered against the same opposition in October.
The hosts were on the board with a Frank Reynolds penalty after just three minutes for a stray boot in the ruck.
Two minutes later Campion showed his customary injection of pace for a 25-metre incursion into the CS half.
But CS showed more accuracy in the pass for the wide game and scored a well-worked try on 10 minutes when fly-half Tom Hodgson put a delightful diagonal kick into the arms of right wing Will Sharp for a converted try.
It took until the 25th minute for Wells to finally adapt to the conditions and play with a narrower, more forward-orientated style.
Mike Hathaway held up CS’s No 8 Will Scott and forced a turnover to give -Wells position in the 22. An ensuing penalty was nudged by Reynolds (right) to the -corner and from the -lineout Wells rolled the maul for Hathaway to score, Reynolds converting.
Wells continued to use this pressure tactic and on 35 minutes another turn-over and penalty saw -Player-Coach Matt Cook driven over the line.
The home side went in at the interval 17-7 in the lead, and within two minutes of the restart Wells had gone -further ahead.
Chas Spence demonstrated delightful dribbling skills to make 40 metres before wing Adam Webb secured the ball.
It was moved infield to hooker Jake Thompson, who scored under the posts, Reynolds again adding the extras.
Open-side flanker Hathaway suffered a recurrence of a shoulder injury and was replaced, but Wells stuck to a more forwards-dominated game plan and a slower pace. Reynolds kicked a penalty on 49 minutes as CS stayed offside.
CS continued to play their wider game and were rewarded with another try from right wing Sharp to make it 27-12 on 58 minutes.
But the visitors were made to pay for an error passing across their 22. The ball passed through several sets of forwards’ hands before prop Turi Uini crashed over by the posts with Reynolds converting the bonus try.
It was a good performance against a side who had put a dent in Wells’ promotion hopes early in the campaign.
With Havant in second place going down to Tottonians despite managing to pick up two bonus points, Wells moved to within five points of the play-off position with seven games to go.