Tunbridge Wells 22 Tring 31

HAPPY FEET Nick Doherty befuddles the Tring defence PHOTO: Bruce Elliott

IT HAS been a tough mid-season for Tunbridge Wells, their last three fixtures being against Barnes in third place, Guernsey at the top and now second-placed Tring.

Yet despite having narrowly failed to register a home win against any of the top four, they are in a good position to consolidate sixth place in the London and South-East Premier Division.

Wells’ backs combined to give Mike Doherty the chance to win a 40-metre race for the line after eight minutes, but the extras went astray.

But two minutes later Tring’s fly-half Tom Newton demonstrated his dummy and passed inside to hooker John Morgan for a try, with Newton converting.

Both sides continued to play expansive rugby. Wells built patiently on the Tring line with 10 phases of play before the ball was moved to Frank Reynolds, who cut inside for the try which he converted on the quarter-hour.

Tring second-rower Nicholas Radley received a yellow card for an incident in the build-up but Wells could not take advantage.

It was Tring who scored next as the ball was moved out to centre Gary Andrews to score. Newton converted to tie the scores at 12-12 after a hectic first quarter.

Wells produced the try of the match on 26 minutes as fly-half Reynolds put an inch perfect kick to the left wing, where Max Douch plucked the ball from the air to score Wells’ third, though Reynolds could not convert.

Just a minute before half-time Tring levelled the scores as left wing Jake Olley got around the corner to make it 17-17 at the break.

Wells’ prop Brendan Crosilla left the field feeling unwell at the start of the second half and replacement Carl Straeche received a yellow with Tring close to the home line.

With Straeche off they rolled the maul from the penalty and hooker Johnny Morgan got the touchdown, converted by Newton to give them the lead on 48 minutes.

Tring struck again on 57 minutes as they got around the back of the Wells defence at pace through full-back Ben Criddle, the erratic Newton landed the conversion for 31-17.

In the last quarter Wells did get back in the game. Ryan Taylor-Dennehy and Mike Hathaway made ground and the ball found Nick Doherty who made no mistake with the hosts’ try bonus, although Reynolds could not convert.

Tunbridge Wells’ next match is a visit to Towcestrians, near Northampton on Saturday (January 20, kick-off 2pm).