6 Dec Thanet Away
3 games played. Total Score 11-8 to Lions
Final Score 6:1, 3:3 and 4:2
Player of the Week – Sid Payne
Deal and Betteshanger Lions U12/13 Rugby team were visitors at Thanet on Sunday for the final game of three fixtures this season against the blue and yellow Wanderers. After defeat in early October at Thanet, followed by victory at home in late October, this match was to be the deciding game in what have been closely pitched battles of strength and determination. A number of recent injuries meant that the Lions were without some key players, but our strong numbers meant we still had 19 players vying for the 13 places on the field. Thanet also had a good sized squad so it was decided to play 3 short games which would allow all the players to have a fair amount of time on the field and also allow the coaches to test some of the players out of their normal positions.
The first game started with a flurry of trys. Sunny Bell stormed over the try line within two minutes of the start. Thanet came back with an equally impressive run from the backs, but Charlie Smith was able to score almost immediately from a penalty given for a high tackle and Sid Payne scored the Lions third try from another penalty given against Thanet for playing off side. The second half was just as exciting when Ben Heaver stole the ball from a Thanet line out and caught out the Thanet blind side defence as he dived across the line from 10 yards out. After this the game became intense with some hard tackling from both teams causing tempers to flare and requiring the referee to calm the players. Undeterred by the friction and frustrations mainly felt in the pack and centres Jo Lewis decided to go for his now customary sprint along the left wing from the halfway line, dodging four tackles to plant the ball centre field across the line. Not to be left off the scoreboard Monty Mitford finished the game at 6:1 to the Lions with his individual try, head down and driving forward across the try line from 10 yards out. Although they were thwarted from scoring Marcus Bryant and Luke Balhaam were pivotal in the Lions victory with countless ball carries forward, penetrating the Thanet defensive line.
The second game started with the Lions fielding some fresh players and continuing to dominate Thanet. Oli White scored from the opening kick and shortly after Gonzalo Ballester ran in two tries, firstly a 20m run through two tackles down the left wing and secondly a shorter run after a bullet pass from Oli White. Half time came and went though and with it either the Lions fire went out or the Thanet coach had delivered a team talk that turned the Wanderers in Warriors. Despite some good play in the breakdown from Angus Dempster the second half saw three tries to Thanet all created identically with strong runs through a week Lions defence. The game ended 3:3 with the Lions in shock at the turn around.
Fired up once more for the third game with a final team change led by Oliver Martin the Lions went out to win. Sid Payne scored from a ball collected from the ruck but Thanet came back with another two trys. Josh Taylor was successful hooking Thanet ball in the scrums and the second half saw some painful knocks as the Lions took some tough charges from Thanet. Gonzalo Ballester took the ball across the line for the third time after running through one tackle and finding space to stretch his legs without opposition. The final try went to Thanet despite the valiant efforts of Olly Allen trying to drive the Thanet attack into touch before momentum took them both across the try line.
Thanet won the final game 4:2 which meant that both teams won one game and drew one game. The final result was a fair reflection on both teams. Deal and Betteshanger fought hard throughout the morning. They had periods of glory when it seemed they could do nothing wrong but then moments of despair when Thanet sliced through the defence time and time again.
New players Chris and Alex Reoch joined the team for their second game and played in the second row where their size and power was key to the success of the Lions pack.
For his unwavering efforts, determination and example Sid Payne was awarded Player of the Match.