Photo and gallery courtesy of Jan Rogers
Whitstable RFC II XV: 42
Tries: ? Con: ?
Ashford Barbarians: 31
Tries: Boston, Morris (2), Cleave, Chandler Con: A.Morris (3)
The final game of the season closed out to an odd series of events. Struggling to get numbers due to injuries and absentees the Barbarians arrived to a locked Whitstable clubhouse. 30 minutes before kick off the hosts finally gained access and the Baa-Baas looked to quickly change and warm-up. Unfortunately the kit was kicking back and relaxing at the Captain’s lodgings – fortuitously the home side had an away kit (that perfectly fit the slimmer Barbarians) they generously made available.
Running out in a mixture of kits and a cobbled together backline the outlook didn’t look too promising. But concerns were put to rest after 2nd Row Wayne Cleave ripped the ball from an early maul. Linking up with the backs Cleave moved the ball out wide to débutante Centre James Boston. Boston with an injection of pace found an opening and crossed the whitewash to get the Barbarians off the mark. Stand-in Fly-half Andrew ‘Taff’ Morris stepped up to bag the full 7 points.
Elation was short lived as Whitstable responded with a try of their own. The following conversion fell short and the Baa-Baas maintained the lead by a slim 2 point margin.
The Barbarians subsequently put on a Master Class in support play for the remainder of the first half. Powerful runs from forward pack had the opposition constantly on the back foot. Morris running in support was the first to profit after using his Hulk like physique to puncture the opposition backline and dot down beneath the posts, followed by a successful conversion.
“Andrew ‘Taff’ Morris was a combination of Welsh 10 Dan Biggar and French 13 Bastareaud” – Chris Weatherley
Fortune was also found in the forwards after Captain Ben King and his pneumatic fend took him deep into Whitstable territory. Flanker Logan Chandler maintained the momentum after receiving the off-load, tackled Chandler finally popped the ball up to Cleave who brushed off the last defender with an impressive leg drive. Morris again slotted the additional points.
Chandler again punctured the opposition gain line with another penetrating run; an exchange of passes with Full-Back Paul Wright saw the Flanker back in possession of the ball and clear path to the line.
“…the first half was great, the support play was something out of the ‘Sevens World Series’ it was fluid and most of the time support was on both sides which is indefenceable. Our rucks were good and the ball was quick. There were several line breaks and the unity was impressive. Unfortunately the half time whistle went and the second half was completely the reverse…I also had to wear a rather tight No.6 shirt because the captain Benjamin King forgot the shirts.” – Ben Gauntlett
The second half was the mirror image of the first and the Barbarians healthy first half lead began to erode as Whitstable capitalised on an escalating penalty count. Pinning the Baa-Baas back on the 5 metre line the home side punished the visitors with an effective driving maul from the lineout. Unable to deal with the efficiency of the Whitstable maul the Barbarians conceded multiple tries.
The flow of opposition scores was briefly stemmed after another fantastic demonstration of Baa-Baas support play; Morris again the beneficiary after bursting through for his brace.
The shift in momentum continued and the home side moved comfortably into the ascendancy. The Barbarians powerless to stop the additional scores watched a potential victory turn to bitter defeat.
Honourable mentions: We also welcomed two new Baa-Baas James Boston and Calum Wratten.
Ashford Barbarians: B.Gauntlett, M.Ball, A.Sage, J.Drewett, W.Cleave, C.Weatherley, L.Chandler, B.King(c), S.Dale, A.Morris, J.Delport, N.Turley, J.Boston, D.Ian, P.Wright.
Replacements: S.Blackman, C.Wratten.
Sin Bin: B.Gauntlett.