Tunbridge Wells 27 Gravesend 10
TUNBRIDGE WELLS stayed hot on the heels of second-placed Havant and kept their play-off hopes alive with some spectacular tries and a valuable late bonus point.
By the mid-point in the first half both sides were unable to make the breakthrough, which was perhaps not surprising as they had played out a close game in north Kent where Wells just got home 13-17 before Christmas.
The visitors were the first side on the scoresheet with a penalty for offside but it did not take long for Wells to get on the board as they threatened the try line.
The Gs were judged to have ‘deliberately’ knocked on. The referee awarded a penalty try and Frank Reynolds kicked the simple conversion.
During injury time in the first half, the young fly-half Reynolds, who has been selected for Kent Under-20s, received turnover ball on his 22 and ran the length of the pitch on the touch line to score a spectacular try.
However, he could not convert it and the half-time score stood at 12-3 to the Wells.
The first half had seen a fairly balanced share of the ball for both sides but Gravesend had not found the penetration to put the points on the board.
Wells now had to go for the win and two more tries for their bonus point in pursuit of Havant in London One South, thereby securing a play-off spot for second place.
The second period started perfectly as No 8 Nick Doherty caught the kick-off, made a neat step inside and passed to winger Tom George.
He took contact on the line but with great skill got the ball down for the try, making it 17-3 in the first minute of the second half.
Doherty then went into the referee’s notebook 10 minutes into the half, receiving a yellow card for a high tackle.
Being a man down did not stop Wells going further ahead in the 56th minute as they opted to take a penalty kick at goal after an infringement for ‘in at the side’.
Wells finally picked up the bonus try with three minutes to go when Charlie Harding showed his strength and speed to break down the left touch line.
He transferred the ball to Rob Hendley, who had come on as a substitute for his first game of the season, and he spun in the tackle and offloaded to skipper Chas Spence, who made no mistake.
There was still time for Nick Blacklock to be sent to the bin with a yellow card for a deliberate knock-on. Whilst Wells were down to 14 again, the visitors took advantage to score their first try under the posts.
Tunbridge Wells remain eight points behind Havant after they too managed a bonus point win at Maidstone.
This Saturday sees the visit of CS 1863, who won a close game against Wells in Chiswick in October.