'tis the time of year to dish out the cards..and the man in the middle duly obliged.
After a crushing 47-7 enjoyed by the visitors in the reverse fixture on the opening day of the season,the visitors could have been forgiven if they took this game lightly.What they received was a battle from the first whistle to the last from a Gannets side determined to add to last weeks impressive performance.
The only downside to a contest that was enjoyed in good humour by both sets of supporters (yes,there were some) was a referee that was bent on making sure he was noticed.The bright pink shirt should have been enough to be honest but 4 yellow cards,2 for either side certainly did the trick.We had 14 v15,13 v 14 and then 15 v 14 to finish off with.More of that later.
With the opening kick going into touch, the Gannets had an early opportunity for their pack to assert their dominance in the set scrum.A mixture of youth,experience and Richard Mayhew,largely had the edge for the game.Even an unfamiliar Gannets backline with Dan 'more dummies than Madame Tussauds' Bromley at 10 sort of pulling the strings,had success making inroads into an Edenbridge backline that had 80's WWE wrestling legend The Junkyard Dog playing at inside centre.
On 15 minutes the Gees won a penalty just outside the 22 and Perri Gallacher duly stepped up and gave the home side a 3-0 lead which they would take into halftime.
Aside from the on pitch action,much of the sideline talk from the visiting supporters was about Ben Bakers timber.'Look at the size of their scrum half' , 'he looks like a second row' and 'is that the ginger jihadi' being amongst the best although I might have added one of those for artistic license.
So a buoyant Gannets side started the second half but it took 5 minutes for their chips to get pissed on,racehorse style with the carding of Gary Curran for lord knows what.An overly abrasive beard? A comedy Oirish accent? A badly tarmacked driveway? Anyway,off he went and the 'bridge immediately went on the attack.Their initial thrust over the line was held up but they made no mistake second time around by cleverly exploiting the space in the Gees backline to score under the sticks.
Next into the book were Woodbine Sr and the Edenbridge flanker who after an innocuous tussle on the deck soon found themselves pacing the sideline with Paddy when surely a talking to and a shaking of hands would have sufficed.
With the Gannets defence holding firm,Edenbridge gratefully took the opportunity to slot two penalties before a late resurgence from the hosts saw them threaten to score on several occasions only to be thwarted by a combination of hard defensive play and handling errors.
So with the scoring done for the day it was up to the ref to have the last meaningful contribution to the match by carding the Edenbridge for a 'late hit' on Dan Beazer.With him already committed to the tackle as Dan fumbled the ball,there really wasn't anything else he could have done but make the hit.No one from Gravesend complained and there was disbelief as the yellow was waved.
The final whistle blew on a game that was hard fought,hard hitting but never tetchy or niggly and certainly didn't deserve 4 cards.Plenty of positives can be taken from this performance against a side that will most certainly be in contention to win the division this year,not least a sterling defensive performance with standout displays coming from the two smallest players on the pitch in Dan Bromley and Joe Cross,the former bravely/foolishly using his head to stop the Edenbridge 8 in his tracks.I can tell you that thankfully his hair is ok and will make a full recovery.
Unless next year.....