Tunbridge Wells 32 Dorking 11
TUNBRIDGE WELLS pulled off a competitive win in testing conditions against Dorking, who were a place below them in seventh in London & South-East Premier Division.
They gained revenge for the disappointing defeat on Bonfire night and, in the process, moved to just two points shy of Westcliff in fifth place.
Wells wanted to put on a show as they bid farewell to skipper Chas Spence, who is going to Australia to further his rugby education. Full-back Ryan Taylor-Dennehy assumed the captaincy.
An icy wind was to prove troublesome for both teams, and soon Wells failed to deal with a box-kick which led to a penalty in front of their sticks.
But Taylor-Dennehy and fly-half Frank Reynolds kicked well given the conditions, while Wells’ defence was in excellent working order.
On 18 minutes a series of phases on the Dorking 22 saw centre Mike Doherty exploit a mismatch against a visiting prop to cross over on the left side, Reynolds converting. He added a penalty on the half-hour for a tackle offence.
In the second period prop Ben Williams charged down a box-kick and hacked through from the 22 to touch down and make the score 15-3.
The former Maidstone captain is becoming a hugely popular figure among the home support at St Marks.
Dorking responded with a penalty on 50 minutes but Reynolds came back with a kick of his own on the hour-mark.
But then came the visitors’ best passage of play with some big carries upfield. An impressive catch and drive from a five-metre lineout saw them score a try on 63 minutes.
Home nerves were just starting to jangle but the pack made good yardage before Taylor-Dennehy grubbered the ball behind the Dorking defence and in-form winger Matt Spicer was first to the ball for the try.
Reynolds made a fine touchline conversion to extend the lead to 25-11 with five minutes remaining.
Now Wells were chasing a bonus point try and on 80 minutes a big hit by Shaydn Osgood created turnover ball for Nick Doherty to break through for the fourth try, converted by Reynolds.
Wells now host Kent rivals Sidcup, one of four teams who are trying to avoid the final relegation spot, on Saturday (March 24, kick-off 3pm).