Match report V Sidcup 2nds
Won 8-62 (H-T 3-17).
The pilgrims travelled to Sidcup at the weekend to continue their charge towards the league title. Another must win game saw the home side start well and were 3-0 up within the first three minutes from a penalty in front of the posts. Pilgrims came straight back with some good attacking play, but just could not get things going! A mixture of good and bad. Pilgrims won a scrum, against the head, a great drive by New Father, Alex Evans, to get the ball to Captain Dan Gill, who showed a great dummy pass, to cross the try line to score, only for Olly Ashley-Jones to crash the ball against the upright, 3-5 with thirteen minutes gone.
Sidcup fought back, and some poor defending allowed them to make good ground and to score what they thought was a try in the far corner, but a brilliant bit of defending stopped a certain try. Adam Malik came on for Will McColl. Olly was making some probing kicks, and getting good bounces, causing the home side problems, Vaughn Meredith stole the ball, again, and dodged through for a try, this time converted by Olly, 3-12 Pilgrims were still not in top gear, but they were wearing down the home side.
Then a moment that Presely Farrance will not want to remember on his debut. He was held down at the back of a ruck, and on getting free he lashed out at the culprit, with an open hand, and received a straight red card, with less than 30 minutes on the clock. A great pity, as he was having a really good game, someone to watch for in the future, once he has served his ban. Canterbury, would have to play 50 minutes with 14 players! In the remaining time left before half-time Adam Malik scored his first try for the Pilgrims, but Olly missed the conversion, 3-17. The half-time team talk was going to be important.
A great second half team performance then ensued. A great run by Vaughn Meredith saw his get the ball to Tom Halliday for the first of his four tries, this one under the posts so Olly had an easy conversion, 2-24, and this got Pilgrims the bonus point they needed. More pressure from the visitors, Meredith playing well, Will ‘Bacon’ McColl making ground whenever he got the ball, they just could not get hold of him, it took three players at least to stop him, so gaps opened up. Luke Webber went on another of his rampaging runs and slipped the ball to Vaughn Meredith for his second try, duly converted 3-31. Sidcup scored an unconverted try, 8-31.
Brandon Dunkerley went on a surging run, passed to Ross Howard who gave it to Halliday, try number two, after an excellent run, unconverted, 8-36. It was then Olly’s turn to go on a great run, but he was tackled by their star played, who must have stopped at least 6 tries with superb tackling, on the twenty-two. Halliday got his hat-trick after a superb piece of work from second half star, Ollie Finn, converted by Olly Ashley-Jones, 8-43.
Luke Webber, the supporters ‘man of the match’, then scored a try, converted by Olly, 8-50. Jake Dengate was running the extra mile to support lone runners on many occasions, this proved vital at times, he, Sam Rogers, Jack Weaver and Jake Upward were all have good games, a true team performance with a player down! But it was not over, the away side piled on the pressure, Tom Halliday got his fourth, Olly converted, 8-57. Alex Evans went on another bulldozing run and gave the ball to Ross Howard to score out wide, this time not converted, 8-62, and the Pilgrims stay at the top of the league, one point ahead of Sevenoaks, with five to play.
This weekend they travel to 8th placed Westcombe Park before they play Dover 1st XV on Friday 24th under lights at the Marine Travel ground, at 7:30 in the evening.
Scorers:- Olly Ashley-Jones 12pts, Tom Halliday 20 pts, Vaughn Meredith 10 pts, Dan Gill, Adam Malik, Luke Webber and Ross Howard 5pts.