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Tonbridge Juddians 19 Rams 22: National League 1 match report


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By David Challis

Tonbridge Juddians missed out on a first win of 2022 after a last-minute 22-19 National League 1 defeat to Rams.

Rams started the stronger amid the wind and rain, but Judds' Tom White began to orchestrate proceedings off the back of some strong forward play. He kicked to the corners expertly and got Tonbridge on the scoreboard after 15 minutes.

Tonbridge's Tom White takes aim from the tee against Rams
Tonbridge's Tom White takes aim from the tee against Rams

The visitors used their superior lineout and scrum to build pressure and penalties as the half progressed, though, and they opened their account with one of the most impressive spells of the game, going through more than 10 phases before touching down in the corner.

The conversion was successful and the away side led 7-3.

TJs quickly responded with a penalty as Rams failed to move out of the 10m. White converted to put Juddians back in touch.

Juddians' Charlie Edwards kicked superbly from scrum-half all day and it was a combination of his boot with pressure from Ryan Taylor-Dennehy and Tom Nicol that led to TJs’ try.

The ball was hoisted and Rams failed to deal with it. Taylor-Dennehy kicked through and Nicol followed up to touch down under the sticks. The conversion was successful and the hosts led 13-7.

However TJs failed to deal with the kick-off and Rams won a penalty to reduce the gap to three points.

After the interval Tonbridge came out the stronger. White kicked another penalty, then found a beautiful 50/22 from the restart. However, it would be Rams who won possession back after TJs failed to deal with a high ball. They reacted quickest and some slick hands saw the away side dot down in the corner.

With the conversion missed TJs began to turn the screw. Another penalty extended the gap and going into the final 15 minutes they were in control.

Tom Nicol touches down for Tonbridge against Rams to the delight of a team-mate
Tom Nicol touches down for Tonbridge against Rams to the delight of a team-mate

It was then the power of Rams' scrum began to tell. Multiple penalties forced TJs onto their five-metre line. Some brilliant defending allowed the home side to clear once but a mistake soon after invited more pressure.

Rams would not let a second opportunity go astray and under penalty advantage they went for a crossfield kick. Excellent skills in the corner lead to a try and a brilliant conversion spelled the end for the home side.

Bottom-of-the-table Tonbridge visit fourth-placed Sale on Saturday.

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