Folkestone v Gillingham Anchorians London & SE Division – London 3 South East, 15:00 28th Sep 2019

Anchorians travelled to Folkestone with a number of changes to the side which had started the season so well. However, they came up against a strong home side who played particularly well and as a result suffered their heaviest defeat for some time.

After a lively start, Anchs did in fact take the lead when Ollie Woodward converted a penalty. Although Anchs were dominating possession, Folkestone took the lead when they intercepted a pass in the centres and raced through to score under the posts for a converted try. Anchs immediately went back on attack and regained the lead when Neil
Alexander crashed over from close range. The conversion was missed and Anchs slender lead was short lived as Folkestone broke against the run of play and scored another runaway try under the posts which was duly converted.

It seemed that the Folkestone backs were able to break the Anchs defence at will, and despite some excellent last ditch defence by Jon Mann , Anchs found themselves further behind when they conceded a pushover try and another try out wide, both of which were converted to give the home side their try scoring bonus point and a commanding 28 – 8 lead.

Just before half time, after a period inside the Folkestone 22, Anchs were awarded a penalty and a quick tap by Jon Mann was stopped illegally but the ball found it’s way to Alfie Luckhurst who crashed over. Folkestone were awarded a yellow card and Ollie Woodward added the conversion as the half time whistle went.

Ryan Lehane came on for Rory Turner at half time and Anchs turned to face a now rampant Folkestone side, and with the assistance of the elements, despite being down to 14 men, they took full advantage.
Excellent handling and running by the home side’s backs resulted in 3 quick tries putting them in an unassailable 47 – 15 lead. Unfortunately, Anchs were unable to stem the tide, except for one superb covering tackle by Sam Brown, and a further 3 tries were scored quickly, the last of these from another intercept.

Anchs eventually managed to secure some possession and Mac Perry was unlucky not to score when he was tap-tackled by his opposite number. Eventually a break by hooker Connor Russon saw Neil Alexander in support and he fed Jon Mann who scored under the posts and added the conversion.

Fittingly, Folkestone had the final say when their winger crossed the line out wide and, despite the conversion missing, this completed a comprehensive 11 try, 71 – 22 win.

Anchs will be very disappointed in their performance, particularly their defence, but Folkestone deserve enormous credit for the way they handled the ball and took their chances. Their pacy backs, excellent handling and accurate goal-kicking will no doubt serve them well this season. After this set back Anchs will now need to regroup to face a
strong Pulborough side at home next week.

By Ian Brenton

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