Wanderers went on their travels again last Sunday this time stopping off at Gravesend. Thanet had 11 players at the Kent/Saracens DPP and 3 others not available, leaving a matchday squad of 18.
Within the team, there was going to be many of the lads playing in different positions to their normal ones due to so many absentees, but this provided new opportunities for the boys that the coaches hoped they would embrace.
Right from the start, Thanet were on the front foot. Linus Honey, Oscar Bradley, and Ollie Burch all showed they had pace to burn and Gravesend struggled to contain them. Owen Read was tested at full-back and came out with full marks, plucking the ball out of the sky or off the ground on a number of occasions.
Hugo Evans worked tirelessly making tackles and great territorial gains for the team. Early in the game Wanderers won possession back from Gravesend. Thanet showed great passing movement through Fred O’Halloran and Myles Wise and when the ball reached Honey he showed tremendous speed to run in the first try which was expertly converted by Charlie Panteli who started as he meant to go on, having a great kicking day.
Wanderers were dominating the game with Vinnie Perkins showing exceptional tenacity making gains and winning the ball back on a number of occasions. The front row of Dominick Springer, O’Halloran and Henry Mason at hooker, all performed well doing a great job among the forwards. After just nine minutes, Thanet’s scrum-half, Harvey Stocker, showed some quick thinking to spread the ball out to Kai Clarricoats who found Sam Lawless who passed onto Burch who ran clear to score, Panteli again converted the try.
Soon after, great play by Evans, Burch, and Honey released Bradley to score and with Panteli’s conversion Wanderers were 21-0 up.
Thanet continued to pressure Gravesend’s defence and showed brilliant desire to stop them getting through. Right on half time, after constant pressure from Wanderers, Burch was rewarded with his second try and Panteli duly converted making the score 28-0 at the break.
The Coaches spoke to the lads telling them how hugely pleased they were with the team’s defence and their try-scoring, but there were too many little mistakes and they needed to listen more to the referee to minimise the number of penalties they were giving away..
Changes were made for the second half introducing Finley Hickmott at scrum-half, Harry Kirkpatrick and Owen Evans in the second row and Ewan Mclean, who made his official Wanderers debut on the wing.
At the start of the second half Gravesend came out with more about them and the game evened out for a while with both teams cancelling each other out. After some opposition pressure with Thanet showing some great defence, following a ruck, a Gravesend player dived over the try line to get their first score. This was not converted.
Wanderers grew back into the game and Kirkpatrick showed some nice touches. Hickmott made a good break and passed the ball to free Hugo Evans who in front of all the supporting parents powered through to push Thanet’s score up to 33 points. Mclean showed some great skill to sidestep a number of players when given the opportunity and he gave no hint of debut nerves.
Thanet gained a lot of possession and passed well in the second half, but were unable to give a final telling pass and it was Gravesend that made the best of some pressure in the last minute of the game to score an unconverted try.
The final score was Thanet 33- Gravesend 10. This proved a good run out for the lads, some of whom gained valuable game time and played some nice rugby along the way.
Next week Wanderers are away again, this time going to Medway.