Ashford 12 – Thanet 51
On a warm and sunny day at Kinney’s Field Ashford concluded what has been a 3rd consecutive tough season and in doing so were relegated for the 2nd consecutive season to Kent 1. Thanet having cemented 3rd spot in the league arrived to put some gloss on what has been a good season for them and they showed Ashford what a solid game plan and good fitness look like.
The away side started brightly and raced into a 12 point lead after barely 6 minutes of play, this was a lead they would never relinquish. Ashford came back immediately utilising their powerful pack with a solid scrum and good driving line out, this pressure opened up space in the Thanet defence and allowed Jack Weaver to scythe through for a well-earned try which was converted by Steve Tanner, score line 7 – 12 and 10 minutes played. This was unfortunately a blip and Thanet powered back, they attacked the blind side well and their talented number 10 was pulling the strings by kicking well and creating plenty of indecision in the home defence. They were to score a penalty and then 2 more tries to leave the half time score at 7 – 27.
Ashford still felt very much in the game and a couple of changes were made at half time with Ben Gray coming in at 10 who put pace and width on the ball immediately as he stretched the away teams defence setting Steve Tanner away on more than one occasion in the 2nd half. Unfortunately these breaks were to amount to no added points and after Thanet struck immediately after half time and continued this theme as they went on to score 3 more tries. Jack Weaver struck once again, to take his personal try tally to 11 for the season which is an excellent effort in his first season of men’s rugby. This left the final score at a very humbling 12 – 51.
Thanet were worthy winners and showed clearly what a simple but very effective game plan can bring to a team and it was clear that Thanet were well drilled and worked hard on this all season, for Ashford they will have to work hard to ensure that a return to Kent 1 doesn’t become a lengthy stay.