Published: 08:59, 22 November 2021
| Updated: 09:04, 22 November 2021
By David Challis
Tonbridge Juddians took the positives despite failing to end their run of defeats at the weekend.
After some tough weeks on the road theirs was a much-improved performance against Darlington Mowden Park, giving them hope they can turn the tide and move up the table in the matches to come.
The visitors started the stronger, and three Warren Seals penalties gave them an early 9-0 lead.
Tonbridge clicked into gear and some strong forward play won penalties for the home side, gaining them field position into the 22.
A series of driving mauls resulted in further penalties against Darlington, which, in turn, led to a yellow card for the away side.
TJs quickly capitalised down the blindside of the resulting maul and Matt Foulds scored a try on his return from Spanish international duty.
Judds continued to attack strongly. More penalties followed and another yellow card was issued to the away team. Spotting the vacant space in the backfield, Tom White chipped over the top to the corner to see debutant Adam Hakimain race in to collect and score. White added the conversion.
Seals scored three more penalties before the break as Darlington retook the lead. The killer blow, though, would come just before the half-time as the away side worked some space down the right. TJs called for a forward pass as the Darlington scrum-half waltzed in, but it was to no avail and the hosts were 25-12 down.
For the most part, TJs had the better of the second half but were unable to fully capitalise on the chances they were afforded.
Eventually they took one of their opportunities as Darlington's winger cynically infringed on their own goalline. The referee adjudged the offside penalty to be preventing a try-scoring opportunity and the offender was sent to the bin, alongside a penalty try being awarded.
This was the moment to strike but the away side camped down in TJs' half for the next 10 minutes, taking all momentum away from the home side.
Tonbridge defended admirably in this period but a great finish from the Darlington No.8 stretched the lead to 30-19.
Chasing a losing try bonus point, however, Harvey Young came to the fore with a number of scintillating breaks and replacement Tom Nicol eventually crossed the whitewash as Juddians finished the game strongly.
Tonbridge host Plymouth Albion this weekend.