Thanet Wanderers 45 v Folkestone 35

Sunday 10th March 2019 // Under 13s.

The wind may have blown hard but it did not prevent these two sides from playing out an exciting game of rugby at St Peters on Sunday.

Wanderers had a large squad available and all were given the opportunity during the game to test themselves against a much improved Folkestone side.

The game was split into three separate thirds of twenty minutes each and refereeing duties were shared.

Thanet kicked off and from the start, pressed really well and won the ball back with some strong play. Jack BREWER, Philip ADUDA and Fred O’HALLORAN all put in very big ground gaining tackles as did Vinnie PERKINS, Toby HUNT and Henry CARRUTHERS who all contributed huge efforts to gain ground and win the ball back when lost to the opposition.
Thanet had pushed Folkestone back, but to their credit Folkestone showed great defence and with a couple of very strong runners in their team they tested Thanet. Wanderers were showing good passing skills with Harry KIRKPATRICK, Oscar BRADLEY and Linus HONEY all demonstrating good hand speed.

After five minutes some great strength from Gil SMITH, followed by neat passing through the hands of Theo ROWE and Zach RALPH, presented PERKINS with an opportunity and he powered away to give Thanet the lead. Folkestone immediately hit back with a great run from a long way out that levelled the scores..
Wanderers worked hard and quickly learned from their mistakes and Harvey STOCKER showed a great example of this with a huge tackle that stopped a certain try.

Thanet had a great passage of play with CARRUTHERS and HUNT showing great speed and SMITH received the ball with lots to do but showed determination to get to the line and put Wanderers in front. Folkestone were not to be outdone and again hit back with a try of their own to level the scores again.

This opposition score spurred Wanderers on and great team play fed the ball to ADUDA and he showed his tremendous power to get his first try for the team. Thanet were now in the ascendancy and with Oscar ANDREWS tackling well and making great gains the team powered forward and created an opening that RALPH took to put Thanet 20-10 up at the first break.

Some team changes were made for the second period and Wanderers came out ready with the wind still causing havoc .During the second session there was some disruption due to the club car park being closed off because the winds were now so strong that branches were being blown off the trees and damaging cars! Some of the coaches and parents had to move their cars.

Folkestone started this part of the game better and put themselves back into the match with the first try of the session making the score 20-15. Luca AREZINA, Finley HICKMOTT and Myles WISE all made strong starts for Thanet in this period with good tackling and team play. Max ANDERSON, back in the team after receiving a bash on the head in last week’s game, was as ever masterful and really took the play to Folkestone.

Wanderers then took control of this period. Good team passing that included Kai CLARRICOATS, Owen EVENS and Henry MASON freed CARRUTHERS for his first trade mark powerful try of the game.
Owen READ, who was having a run out on the wing, produced some excellent runs and tackling from this position.
Charlie PANTELI was dictating play with some great forward runs and passing and this led to CARRUTHERS getting his second try of the match. Thanet finished the period strongly with HUNT making a massive run and demonstrating his turn of pace to put Wanderers 35-15 up at the break.

With so many players available, changes were made again by Thanet and this resulted in some boys playing in unfamiliar positions for some of the last period. Folkestone again started the better team and scored, but Thanet hit back not long after through brilliant play and flair from ROWE.
Wanderers continued to push hard and after a period where they were attacking for what seemed to be an age where they didn’t quite get the ball wide enough, they did manage to score again with a well deserved try for O’HALLORAN.

Folkestone finished the stronger side and scored another three tries to reduce the score between the teams. At the final whistle Wanderers came away with the win 45-35. It had been an end to end game with both sides having good moments and taking away some positives from the match.

The Thanet team had some very good passages of play, but still have some areas to work on and develop. Vinnie PERKINS demonstrated a great work ethic, tackled well and scored a nice try. Theo ROWE was a constant threat, led the charge and also scored a try. Philip ADUDA on his full debut was very strong and is getting better by the week. Many other lads had strong solid games but the man of the match for the second week in a row was Fred O’HALLORAN. Not only did Fred score a try and tackle ferociously, he was also always a ready team mate and demonstrated exceptional levels of effort and desire, well done Fred.

Head coach Craig Smith said afterwards “The conditions today were testing with the wind being so strong which meant the boys had to shorten their passing and with virtually all our large squad being there it was difficult to gain consistency in the play when we made so many changes, but by and large we adapted well and finished with another win and further experience was gained by the squad.”

Wanderers move on to an away game at Ashford and Guildford next week and expect a tough fixture but look forward to the team testing themselves again and with a chance to prove how good they have become this season.

Matthew Hickmott.