Tottonians RFC 18-22 Westcombe Park RFC
By Mark Ley
Combe leave it late in close encounter
Totts were clinging on to a single point lead as the clock was ticking
down. But a fine penalty touchfinder by Matt Harrison deep into the
homeside's 22 set up the field position from which Combe grabbed the
winning try through a lineout drive and close range rumble from prop
Jamie Forsyth. The final whistle came with some relief to the Combe fans
who had made the trip down to the South coast.
Both sides entered the match on the back of hefty defeats the previous
week and Tottonians started the faster, getting a try after only 3
minutes. The home team won fast ball from a midfield scrum and passed
smoothly to get the score out left with the conversion missed. Totts
were left to rue this miss as well as a sequence of failed penalty
attempts in the second half which could have secured them the win in a
Combe hit back straight from the re-start when Tottonians messed up
their exit strategy giving away a softish penalty for offside. Harrison
slotted the kick in fairly calm conditions. Westcombe were having the
slightly better of territory and possession but suffered a setback going
down to 10 men, seeing yellow for a no arms tackle. That Totts failed to
score in this period was due to a solid defensive effort from Combe
forwards and backs.
Combe were next to score on 25 minutes, going into the lead when first
hooker Ryan Hackett made some hard yards on the left and, with the
referee playing advantage for Totts being caught offside, fullback Harry
Sansbury provided the overlap to score on the right. Harrison kicked
accurately to extend the lead to 10-5 in the visitors favour.
Both sides failed to add to their accounts as attacks broke down with
handling errors, the home side being the slightly more culpable.
Halftime Tottonians 5-10 Westcombe Park RFC
If Tottonians were first to hit the ground running in the 1st half it
was Combe's turn in the second. Combe's forwards made good ground out
right putting Totts on the back foot. This allowed space for hard
running winger Sammy Sema to burst through and score the try which
Harrison converted. At 17-5 Combe could scent the first whiff of victory
but it is to Tottonians credit that they snuffed this out despite
missing a couple of kickable penalties around the 50 minute mark.
Combe were finding it difficult to release their backs and were being
penalised at the breakdown. Finally Totts punished the visitors for this
with a successful penalty on 57 minutes and then narrowed the gap 8
minutes later when after several powerful thrusts they crossed the line
for a converted try to bring them to within 2 points of Combe.
The home side took heart from this and went into the lead for the first
time since the 2nd minute when Combe were pinged for boring in at a
scrum. Despite earlier misses the Tottonians kicker held his nerve to
kick the 3 points.
It was looking like a third loss in a row for the Goddington Dene side
until the Harrison kick and Forsyth rumble saved the day. No match next
weekend and Medway are the visitors on 17th November.
Finally all at Combe wish all the best to the Totts player who went down
a nasty leg injury just before the final whistle.
Westcombe Park RFC : Fernandez, Hackett, Simmons, Calohard, Delderfield,
Pass, Pohlen, O'Sullivan, Smith, Harrison, Sema, Atiola, Deschamps,
Replacements: Forsyth, Dennett, Saffrey
Match Report: John Vallely