Old Walcountians slip back into the relegation mire

Hard day: Old Walcountians forward Kieran Clarke struggles to find a way through a strong Tonbridgians defence                      All pictures: Alun Stockton

Hard day: Old Walcountians forward Kieran Clarke struggles to find a way through a strong Tonbridgians defence All pictures: Alun Stockton

First published in Other Rugby by

Old Walcountians slid back into the Surrey One relegation zone after they were comprehensively beaten 34-7 by a slick Tonbridgians XV on Saturday.

On paper, Walcountians had a strong side with mercurial half-backs Tom and Will Diamond, centre Matt Witcomb and combative flanker Joe Henderson all available from the standout U21 side.

But, from the outset, Walcountians found that Tonbridgians were one of the most capable sides they had faced all season.

The home side’s backs showed pace, skill and the ability to spin out of tackles, which repeatedly put Walcountians’ defence under pressure and their forwards, although not big, were well-drilled and drove Walcountians off the ball in the set scrums and the loose on several occasions.

Walcountians were behind after nine minutes when the Tonbridgians back row supported a three-quarter move and went over for a try.

Walcountians played with a lot of spirit and this kept them in the game for the first half.

Half-backs Tom and Will Diamond were always a threat and opened up the Tonbridgians defence on several occasions, while the back row of Steve Bayles, Joe Henderson and Simon Fowler competed aggressively at every ruck and ground out much needed territory for Walcountians.

Matt Witcomb had a fine game too and his thunderous boot gained much needed territory.

Walcountians took the lead in the 33rd minute when full-back Ollie Beales stepped inside a tackle and accelerated for the line to touch down for a try - Witcomb converted.

However, this lead was extinguished two minutes into stoppage time when Tonbridgians’ inside-centre scored a try and, with the conversion, Walcountians were five points adrift.

The second half saw Tonbridgians pull clear of Walcountians, starting in the second minute when their number eight scored a try after peeling off from a rolling maul.

Sutton Guardian:

Through: Fly-half Tom Diamond breaks the Tonbridgians line as Walcountians struggle for a foothold in the game

A penalty in the 14th minute and a further try in the 25th minute extended their lead to 22 points.

Walcountians threw on wingers Ryan McGibbon and James Tutton, and prop Matt Ratana in the closing stages, and Ratana made an immediate impact by stabilising the scrum and with some powerful surges in the loose.

They had a number of opportunities to score, but poor handling proved costly.

The home side sealed victory three minutes into stoppage time when their left winger finished of a three-quarter move.

Walcountians have three games left to save their Surrey One status - the first is on March 22 when they take on Old Paulines at St Nicholas Road (kick-off is at 3pm).

Old Walcountians: Beales, Drinkwater, Stone, Witcomb, Naylor, Diamond (T), Diamond (W), Cowlin (P), Richardson, Cowlin (S), Bell, Clarke, Bayles, Henderson, Fowler.

Subs: McGibbon, Ratana, Tutton (used), Davies (not used).

Sutton Guardian:

Oddity: A rare highlight for Walcountians as full-back Ollie Beales dives over to score

Sutton Guardian:

Bang: Callum Stone and Tom Diamond repel another Tonbridgians attack during a long afternoon of tackling for Walcountians

 

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