Tonbridge Juddians 25 Worthing 21
HUGO WATSON grabbed a hat-trick of tries against Worthing Raiders as Tonbridge Juddians rediscovered the winning formula.
The visit of the Sussex rivals came as a relief after TJs had faced the top three sides in National Two South in successive weeks, a challenge which had halted their five-game winning streak.
Worthing started brightly and TJs were opened up twice in quick succession as the visitors raced into a 14-0 lead.
But they were rather wasteful with their chances and should have scored at least two more tries before TJs found a foothold through their pack.
Rory McHugh stole a lineout inside TJs’ half and slick play put Finlay Coxon-Smith through the gap to feed opposite wing Watson. He scampered home, with Nathan Holmes converting.
Worthing’s defence kept out a scrum penalty and TJs settled for a kick to make it 10-14. That allowed Worthing back into TJ territory and they crossed with ease for their third try, taking a 21-10 lead in at half-time.
After the break Worthing seemed to go into their shell as they tried to pin TJs back with kicking.
TJs’ scrum looked to the short side for openings and Charlie Edwards put McHugh away down the left, who fed Watson for his second score. Holmes converted to reduce the deficit to 17-21.
The next score would be crucial and it came from TJs as both sides continued to lack any real accuracy and fluidity with the ball.
Another break down the left found Watson again and he duly completed his hat-trick as TJs edged in front 22-21.
Worthing seemed to have run out of ideas and TJs were tireless as they finished strongly, a Holmes penalty giving them a little breathing space in the closing stages.
The win took TJs up to eighth in the table above Worthing. They have a weekend off before the visit of Broadstreet on March 3 (kick-off 2.30pm).