Tonbridge Juddians 13 Chinnor 14
SECOND-placed Chinnor arrived with some apprehension knowing that Tonbridge Juddians were undefeated in six matches and were a potential banana skin for anyone with an eye on promotion. And the home side took them to the wire in an enthralling match.
TJs were out the blocks first as Tom Nicoll intercepted a stray Chinnor pass and scampered in from 40 metres out with barely a minute on the clock, though the try was not converted.
Chinnor responded and despite the slippery ball they battered TJs with confident passing. The defence held firm but did concede a penalty kick which was missed.
TJs’ scrum struggled at times and an early problem gave Chinnor a chance to create right and then left to score, then take the lead with the conversion.
Chinnor, who lost their outside-centre to the sin bin, conceded ground and penalties, and Liam Prescott slotted one to make it 8-7 at the break.
The visitors suffered two more yellow cards as they were pinned back in the second half but TJs could not take advantage at first.
Then on 55 minutes TJs’ driving game off the scrum produced the goods. The ball was passed back to the narrow side and flanker Ed Varney found a little space to slide over from 10 metres out.
However, the home side’s grip on the game gradually loosened and Chinnor’s replacement scrum-half found some space around the fringes to scamper in under the posts and take the lead.
The final minutes of the match were frantic as Chinnor missed a penalty kick but Wells were unable to find a way upfield during an extended injury time.
TJs’ losing bonus point lifted them to eighth in National Two South ahead of their visit to table-topping Cinderford in Gloucestershire on Saturday (February 10, kick-off 2.30pm).
Meanwhile The Slade will be hosting the club’s beer festival on Friday, February 9 (5-11pm) and Saturday (11am-11pm).