Alls Wells That Ends Wells.
Deal and Betteshanger played hosts to newly promoted Tunbridge Wells who were runners up in LSE 3 last season.
Due to traffic delays the visitors arrived later than they would of liked so pre-match preparations were perhaps a more hurried affair.
Wells started with what appeared to be an advantage in the scrum but on several occasions were turned over in open play via a combination of aggressive rucking from the Lions and incorrect body positions into the contact area.
The Lions we exerting good pressure and turned this into points with penalties on 13 and 24 minutes from Josh Sheehan to take a 6-0 lead. Tunbridge Wells fly half Ollie Allman had sent Wells first chance of points wide of the posts before an excellent rolling maul looked likely to bring points only for the ball to be lost giving the Lions the chance to clear. Tunbridge Wells full back Ryan Taylor-Dennehy was counter-attacking well and the visitors soon had another attacking position from a line out. The visitors number 5 secured good line-out ball before another good forward drive took the visitors to within yards of the line. Quick ball from scrum half Josh Brockman then put their No 6 Ben Ashworth over in the corner for an unconverted score.6-5 to the Lions
The Lions were still in the ascendancy though and on 35 minutes the backs took advantage of slack play at the kick off to feed our ever elusive wing Luke Armstrong who crashed over for an unconverted try. 11-5 to the Lions. The Lions Winger was proving to be a handful to Tunbridge Wells all game especially as the visitors Wells had now lost wing Eddie Croft and his replacement Tom Claridge to injury. This saw their bloodied flanker Sam Catling called into action as a makeshift wing where he performed nobly.
With a wind behind them in the second period, the travelling support hoped Wells would hold off the Lions to the interval but this wasn’t to be as poor discipline saw two more penalties conceded, both kicked by Sheehan for a half-time score of 17-5.
Wells had clearly received some straight-talking at the interval and came back into the game as the second period started . It took a great breakdown steal from Catling to thwart a Lions attack and with a Taylor-Dennehy break, the team from St Marks finally started to exert some control.
The Lions stopped one attack by killing the ball and from the ensuing line-out they were reduced to 14 men when Sam Hanley was shown a yellow card following a further infringement at a ruck. Twice Wells were thwarted on the line before Ashworth repaid the compliment by feeding Brockman who crashed over on 66 minutes. The Try wasn’t converted. Taylor-Dennehy then kicked a penalty minutes later after a good Ben Madgwick break. 17-13.
The Lions appeared to be rattled but it was against the run of play when they secured a scrum penalty that Sheehan slotted with 8 minutes to play. 20-13
Taylor-Dennehy quickly cancelled this out before Deal finally missed a kick. With injury time approaching Wells launched one last attack. Wells scrum half Brockman and fly half Allman drove forward before their inside centre Nick Doherty was held up a metre short. The ball was recycled but went to ground and the game was lost.
This was a good battle for the Lions and could of so easily been a different outcome but a well organised and disciplined Lions team did just enough to hold on. The Lions host Aylesford Bulls this Saturday. Kick Off 3.00 pm