Gravesend secure win over local neighbours with impressive backline performance
Gannets continue run of good performances on first team pitch to run out winners by 64-12
Gannets draw together mixture of young and old for match against their rivals from over the fence in what was expected to be a tight game; additional motivation being provided for both sides by the presence of former Gravesend players Ryan Donoghue and Martin Povey in the blue shirts.
With Ben Baker not taking a playing role today on the basis that his appearance depended on the reliability of train connections from Yorkshire, and Martin Taylor continuing his coaching and reluctant playing role in the side, the side were led onto the field again by Richard Mayhew looking to extend his winning run of matches captained this season. An even start to the game showed that this game might live up to its even billing based on the two sides' respective league positions before Gravesend's forwards secured the upper hand on their opposite numbers to create an opportunity for Jamie Feighery to score his first of three tries for the afternoon. This was almost immediately followed by a try for Dan Beazer following a good kick chase by Joe Haffenden creating pressure for the opposition full back in his own 22. A good break from shortly within the opposition half by Perri saw him add a third try before Jamie scored his second with about 10 minutes to go of the first half. All four tries were converted by Perri to give the home side a 28-0 lead. Injuries to the visitors and their depleted bench saw them forced into early changes and a reshuffle whereas the Gannets lost Toby to an early knee injury to give Sam Holden an early chance to run off his hangover from the night before. Former Gravesend player, and current Old Gravesendian, Martin Povey ensured that the Gannets would not have things all their own way with a try shortly before half time which saw the score 28-7 at the break. Positives from the first half for Gravesend included the speed of service from Josh Sclanders having another good game at 9 and the pressure created by Steve and Joe in the centres to keep pushing the opposition back. As a group the Gravesend scrum were also enjoying a good afternoon, putting a lot of pressure on the Old g's scrum.
The challenge for the second half was therefore the keep that momentum with replacements made as loosehead and scrum half. Home supporters would have been concerned that this might indeed have been lost when the visitors scored their second try shortly after the restart. Fortunately the team regrouped and continued to focus on the territory and aggression that had served them well in the first half, with a greater level of accuracy creating room for the backline to stretch their legs against a tiring opposition. Before the backs had their fun however Jamie finished his hattrick with a powerful run down the blindside and stretch for the line to finish. Five more tries followed for Jon Cokell, Joe Haffenden, Dan Beazer, Joe Cross and Steve Wootton to ensure that all the backs from 10-15 got their names on the scoresheet. One final point of note was the almost try for Sam Holden who somehow managed to stay hidden behind Ringo when he was looking for an offload after another of his trademark breaks with the line open before him.
Next week sees the first return fixture of the season with Edenbridge visiting Gravesend for the final league fixture of the year. Gravesend will need to find it within themselves to at least match today's performance in order to try and get something from a match against one of the league's pacesetters but hopefully can find the motivation and performance to avenge the heavy defeat from the beginning of the season.