Dover U14s 17-47 Thanet Wanderers U14s.
The Coaches plans for who would play where and which subs would be used in the game were ruined by the fact that Dover only had 11 boys turn up! Thanet lent them two players in the first half and agreed to play 13-a-side, with no flankers in the scrums. For the first half, Thanet lent them Joe and Josh O’D and played Ben, Zach and Jack as subs.
The starting line up (made up on the fly!) was: 1 Charlie, 2 Sam B, 3 Tom, 4 Dennis, 5 Josh J, 8 Beau, 9 Farzam, 10 Harrison, 11 Josh P, 12 Patrick, 13 Oz, 14 Sam M, 15 Flynn.
Thanet started well, and quickly won a scrum against the head around half way, Harrison chipped the ball forward and Josh P pounced on the ball and ran it into the corner for a try. The kicking angle was tight and H missed the conversion (score 5-0).
Dover came back at Thanet hard and they scrambled a try of their own, but missed the conversion (score 5-5).
Thanet won another scrum in their own half and Beau picked up the ball and went down the blindside from the number 8 position. He powered through the Dover defence, before off-loading to Josh Jury, who went over between the posts. Harrison nailed the conversion to make the score 12-5.
Dover again came back at Thanet and pinned them down five metres from the Thanet try line after Charlie and Flynn had collided going for the same tackle. Dover went over to score and both Charlie and Flynn had to come off. Charlie was bleeding from the mouth and Flynn felt a bit wobbly and dazed. The Head Coach brought on Zach for Flynn (Flynn was playing full back anyway!) and Ben for Charlie. Ben went into the second row and Dennis moved to prop. Dover scored their conversion to make the score 12-12. The Coaches then agreed that neither injured player was fit to return to the match and so they remained on the sideline for the rest of the game.
Thanet started to exert a bit of dominance after the enforced changes as they boys stepped up their intensity. Before half time, Josh Perry received the ball twice just outside the Thanet 22 metre line and twice went around the entire Dover defence to touch down between the posts. Harrison nailed both conversions to make the half time score a more comfortable 26-12 to Thanet.
At half time, Dover reported that they had lost one of their players due to a twisted ankle and so for the second half, Thanet lent them Zach, Ben and Tom. Thanet were now playing a makeshift front row of Dennis, Sam B and Josh Jury (Josh said he wanted to play in the front row and that he had trained as a hooker previously, but never actually played there), so Sam B was moved to prop and JJ to hooker. The 2nd row now consisted of Sam M and Joe, with Beau at number 8 and Farzam at 9, with Harrison at 10, Jack at 11, Oz at 12, Patrick at13 and Josh O’D at 14 and Perry at 15. A bit of a make-shift team to say the least!
Dover took advantage of so many of Thanet’s players playing out of position and scored first in the second half, but missed their conversion, making the score 26-17.
Thanet then secured another scrum in their own half and Beau decided it was time for a pick and go. His decision was correct and he ploughed straight through the Dover defence to score a solo try. Harrison again nailed the conversion to make the score 33-17.
The fight seemed to go out of Dover at this point and some of the Thanet boys started to relax a bit. Sam B picked up from the base of a ruck and drove forward. He released a pass out of the back door in contact to Harrison, who ran straight through the middle of Dover’s defence and scored between the posts (I have had a word with Sam about back door passes, but it was hard to counter his response of “it worked and we scored!!”). Harrison converted his own try to bring the score to 40-17.
Josh Perry finished the morning with another solo run around the Dover defence and a score between the posts. Harrison was quite tired by this time, so he let Beau have a go at the conversion, which he managed to score (but not convincingly, despite being in front of the posts!), making the final score 47-17 to Thanet.
Jason Deacon & Andy Bridle.