Barnes lose, but a better performance ...
against a powerful and confident Tonbridge Juggernaut
A confident Tonbridge won the kicking from hand battle and had the substantial extra beef to score three of their four tries. When Barnes did attack their pack was prevented from scoring and Tonbridge could often quickly break out of their 22.
Tonbridge kicked off; recycling their second possession got them a penalty inside 3 minutes that Hawkes missed. From the 22 drop-out Barnes got into the other half; the first 3 line-outs were stolen. The visitors kicked a second ball out on the full to get Tonbridge back into the opposition half. After the line-out 3 kicks led to a line-out for Barnes just outside their 22 at which they were penalised for a man in front of the ball carrier. Another penalty followed and Hawkes missed that on 10 minutes. Tonbridge returned the drop-out to touch in the visitors' 22. Barnes threw the line-out past the last man and the opposition got the ball. Tonbridge recycled tight several times to get a penalty 8 metres out and chose a scrum; another penalty, 5 metres out, followed. This one was put into touch 5 metres out. The ball was brought down to hooker Murray, who was unstoppable near the front on the line-out after 15 minutes. The conversion was wide. Three kicks followed the restart resulting in a Barnes being back in their own half. Two penalties got them back attacking and recycling strongly before the defence forced an error. Tonbridge got the dropped ball and very quickly got it wide and broke out of their half at the other touchline. Barnes’ got back and soon another penalty got them a line-out 17 metres into the other half. Tonbridge defended well and later got out their half to an opposition line-out 8 metres into the visitors’ half. Barnes tried to drive and when this broke up they launched an up-and-under. Tonbridge wing Campion ran close to the forwards and having somehow got clear of would-be tacklers set off on a diagonal run to the far corner beating the last defender after 31 minutes. The conversion was wide.
The visitors forced a turnover soon after the restart and chipped through the line. Three more kicks, the last out on the full gave Barnes a line-out at the opposition 22 which was thrown not-straight. Tonbridge kicked for territory from the scrum then were penalised at a ruck. Barnes kicked for a line-out and from that for a change immediately released to centre and got another penalty. They ran this then chipped over the defence. Tonbridge dealt with this and cleared to touch 27 metres out. They set for a driving maul which soon broke up; Tonbridge forced a turnover and set off on another excellent break out as they had done from Barnes' previous attack. They kicked past the defence which did get back to save and the result was a 22 drop-out by Barnes. Tonbridge returned the long drop-out with a kick; this was followed by a penalty to Barnes which was kicked to touch just inside the opposition 22. This time the visitors' drive made better progress and they recovered when it went down to recycle 4 times, the last time going blind and got to the line but the defence held at the halftime whistle.
The visitors stayed in the opposition half after their second half restart then Tonbridge returned a kick with an up-and-under that they regained. After recycling twice they kicked for the corner which went into touch in goal giving the visitors a scrum back. Tonbridge wheeled this to get their own put-in, from which they advanced strongly recycling 4 times before chipping diagonally to touch for a Barnes' line-out 5 metres out. They stole this then the visitors got a 5-metre put-in after 2 tight recycles. Under pressure Barnes kicked to touch but this was to touch in goal and Tonbridge chose a 5-metre scrum. After a no. 8 pick-up the ball was recycled twice for prop Tibbits to touchdown after 8 minutes. The conversion was wide. Barnes had a couple of chances after the restart but Tonbridge’s defence was good. An intercept and then a penalty took the home team to a line-out 17 metres from Barnes’ line. Fullback Davey came in fast after their drive went down then they recycled 3 times to get a penalty 7 metres out that was put into touch for a 5-metre line-out. An error at that gave the visitors a scrum at which they were under pressure. They got the ball out but it was dropped straight away. There was some relief when they got a free-kick at the following scrum feed and kicked to touch almost to halfway. Errors on both sides preceded a Tonbridge line-out at the opposition 10 metre line from which the home team advanced to get a penalty and kick that for a 5-metre line-out. Barnes’ defence was good and they got a 5-metre scrum from which they cleared to touch at the 22. Later they forced a turnover then a penalty got them into an attacking position in the other half. That was wasted and Tonbridge soon broke out with an up-and-under that they regained. With that they advanced to the opposition 22 where they got a penalty and ran that to get another 7 metres out. This was followed by a line-out 5 metres out from which the pack got to the line with replacement flanker Rankin on the ball at with 4 minutes left on the clock. A very good conversion from Chennells followed. The restart was followed by a scrum to Barnes from which they released wide and from midfield wing Howells danced round a few of the opposition then was off into the 22 where he sold a dummy to the last defender before scoring a consolation try for the visitors. The conversion was wide at the whistle.
Conditions: damp, 100% overcast, some light to variable wind; the pitch wet and softish.