Tunbridge Wells 21 Barnes 22
TUNBRIDGE WELLS almost managed their fourth win in a row against a very strong Barnes team.
The Londoners side sit in fourth spot in the London & South-East Premier Division with Simon Whatling’s side, who had never beaten them, one place back in fifth.
After 12 minutes Christian Earle received an offload from hooker Luke Hawkins and took off on a 40-metre diagonal charge to the posts, Frank Reynolds converting.
But Barnes controlled possession and the pressure led to two tries for the visitors in quick succession.
Accurate recycling for Barnes in the 26th and 29th minutes saw second row Jamie Collins go over on the left for an unconverted try and then fly-half Gareth Williams-Davies follow suit on the right for a try which was converted.
Barnes were 15-7 ahead at half-time and scored again four minutes after the interval. They opted to scrum close to the line and marched over as No 8 and skipper Alex Hind got the score, Williams-Davies converting.
Blaise Salle was sent to the sin bin for taking a Barnes player in the air but this setback only served to inspire Wells to summon up some of the form of the last three weeks.
Skipper and scrum-half Chas Spence took the game by the scruff of the neck. On 55 minutes he broke from a ruck, chipped over the top and won the race for the try, converted by Reynolds.
Ten minutes later Spence broke once more, put in a grubber kick and again won the race with Reynolds converting. That left the home side a point behind on 21-22 with 15 minutes left.
Spence went for his hat-trick, only being beaten to the ball by inches, and two penalties to the corner did not lead to any decisive strike so Wells had to make do with a losing bonus point.
Tunbridge Wells now have a well-earned rest before they travel to take on the league leaders Guernsey on January 6.