Tonbridge Juddians 21
RUGBY: THURROCK’S visitors just shaded this highly entertaining encounter on a wet and miserable day. Thurrock put behind them a horrible run of results and moved the ball around – despite the conditions. They opened the scoring. Frankie Neale chipped ahead and turned the Tonbridge defence, winning the race for the touchdown.
He scored out wide and then picked himself up and added a great conversion. Thurrock continued in the same positive vein. But when an intended grubber through kick bounced off a defender’s knee and fell to the visitors, there looked to be a chance of a breakaway try.
But blatant shirt pulling on Neale stopped him making a try saving tackle. And he then he was yellow carded for a comment made to the referee. The try stood, but the conversion fizzed wide. A couple of penalties put Thurrock on the back foot.
And the visitors took the lead with their second try, again the conversion going wide.
Markus Burcham then added a penalty in Neale’s 10 minute absence to level the scores.
And when Neale came back to the fray he kicked two more penalties and deservedly extended the lead.
But minutes before the break another forward rolling maul gave T’s rivals a third try, again unconverted, so the gap was just one point.
Conditions became worse in the second half of the match. And chances became very limited.Neale added his third penalty to make the score 19-15.
But then Hawkes kicked a penalty – his first success of the game – and with 11 minutes to go was gifted another close to the posts.
Thurrock trailed by two points, and Neale had a chance to win the game.
But his long range penalty hit the underside of the crossbar. It was a disappointment for the home side, not help by a hamstring injury to the impressive Brad Rettigan. But the inclusion of new signing James Kellard caught the eye of the Thurrock faithful.
Thurrock: Neale, Farrell, Pruce, Stanley, Porter, Burcham, Cook, Rate , Durrance, Bevans-Royston, Cooper-Hicks, Flavin, Timson, Kellard, Retigan. Rep; Yeomans, Rudgeley, Loka On Saturday Thurrock have a welcome break. The next league game is at Bishop Stortford on December 8 with the kick off scheduled for 2pm.