Finnish international inspires Warlingham win
Warlingham's international back-rower, Mikal Ahola, starred as Warlingham beat Tunbridge Wells 20-15 on Saturday.
Ahola, who featured in Finland's win over Greece last week, returned to club duty and put in a sterling performance at the back of the Warlingham scrum, which struggled in the set piece all afternoon against a determined Tunbridge Wells pack.
But 15 points from Joe McEvoy and a try from Zac King gave Warlingham victory and left head coach Ben Stobart happy.
"We won that game by very stout defending and mental strength," he said.
"Any away win in this league will be hard fought and we're happy to take the points."
The hosts immediately looked dangerous with a clever blind side move which went close to a score but Warlingham's much improved defence kept them out.
Fly half James Agate distributed well and the Warlingham back line, especially Brad Saffery and Luke Davies punched holes in the Wells' defence.
However, much against the run of play, a stray ball was scooped up by the home side centre who ran in untouched to score the first try.
Warlingham toughened up and the ubiquitous captain King completed a multi-phase attack with a try under the posts, which full back Joe McEvoy converted.
Wells pulled back three points when the Warlingham scrum was penalised when under severe pressure.
McEvoy then missed a penalty but immediately made amends right on the half-time whistle when he scythed through the Wells' midfield to score Warlingham's second try which he converted.
Debutante winger, Jon Wallace showed well and made yards in the counter attack and scrum half Stephen Murtagh was lively around the scrums.
After the turn-round, Wells had the better of the play and used the pitch slope intelligently pinning Warlingham in their own half.
McEvoy slotted a second penalty but a wayward kick out of defence by the visitors fell straight to the Wells fullback who drove hard into the Warlingham 22 to force a line out.
Wells seemed to have scored in the corner but the referee, Matt Chapman, adjudged a crossing infringement and the try was disallowed.
Warlingham's defence was tested time and time again but Belgian international lock Yassine Boufaied, assisted by flanker Jon Osborne, snuffed out the attacks.
A floating pass from Agate to Alex Skinner saw the winger screaming down the flank but, again, good defence from Wells prevented a score.
At the other end, McEvoy saved Warlingham's bacon with a corner flag tackle when it looked as if Wells would score.
A hamstring injury to Warlingham's influential captain King disrupted the visitors' momentum and Wells quickly capitalised with a try in the corner, converted in the tramlines.
With only two points separating the sides, McEvoy unsuccessfully tried a long penalty attempt and Wells were still in the chase.
They desperately attacked and were held up on two occasions over the Warlingham try line but were unable to ground the ball.
McEvoy sealed the win with a final penalty and Warlingham's winning bandwagon moves on.
Next week, Warlingham hoist league leaders Deal & Bettishanger at their Hamsey Green home.
Warlingham: Ailes, Abou-Zeid, Agate, Ahola, Boufaied, Davies, J Delderfield,A Skinner, Green,Ioannou, King, McEvoy, Morrison, Murtagh, Osborne, Saffery, Scutt, Wallace.