Tunbridge Wells 97 Gosport 5
TUNBRIDGE WELLS were well aware that nothing short of a bonus point win would suffice against a Gosport side adrift at the foot of the London One South table.
Having returned to winning ways at Brighton last week, hopes were high that Wells would boost their points difference and this proved to be the case.
However, when the Gosport lineout was stolen Wells attacked the visitors’ line and influential centre Charlie Harding crossed the line for the opening try, converted by Frank Reynolds.
On six minutes Wells doubled their lead. The first of many strong Jake Mills runs put the home team on the front foot with hooker Jake Thompson and prop Nick Blacklock taking the ball on.
When it was released to the backs it was the other centre, Hayden Pope, who touched down wide out on the left. A majestic touchline conversion by Reynolds made it 14-0.
New wing Jake Jones had shown sparks of the pace he has exhibited in training on his debut at Brighton but he had not, as yet, had the opportunity to run with the ball in open space.
This was about to change emphatically. Mike Hathaway stole another Gosport lineout inside the Wells half and the ball was moved along the line to Jones 50 metres out on the left wing. He stepped outside his opposite number and zoomed away from the covering defence to score under the posts, making the conversion a formality.
From there, the points tally mounted and by half-time Wells found themselves in a -commanding position after tries from Jones and Nick Doherty to took them to 57-0.
There was no let-up in the tempo for Wells in the second half, as Chaz Spence was among the scorers taking the team’s tally to 78. Reynolds showed great skill when the ball toppled off the tee when he was about to attempt the wide-out conversion, as he quickly readjusted and struck a sweet drop-goal kick instead.
While Gosport responded with five points of their own, the boys from St Marks increased their tally, and fell just short of the hundred mark.
Coach Matt Cook welcomed the result, saying: “With Gosport being at the foot of the table, I don’t think they are at the standard of this league and have a long year ahead of them.
“We played well, though, with Frank Reynolds playing better than he has previously, and Chaz Spence scoring three tries for us.”
He added: “We just hope we can carry that forward into our next game, against Dover, who are also near the bottom of the table.”