Saturday, June 22, 2024

Rugby: Thurrock rue missed chances


New season, new league big crowd, missed opportunity. That summed up the feeling of all as the final whistle blew Gravesend the visitors to Oakfield were elated at their win after snatching the win in the last minute of normal time with a converted try to break the home side’s hearts.

It was the visitors who started much the brighter and soon found themselves in front with a penalty Muncie, quickly followed by a try from Stevens saw the visitors quickly 8-0 ahead as Thurrock seemed to start very slowly. This spurred Thurrock into action and it was Frankie Neale who jinked his way through the cover defence to score a try close to the posts which he converted himself. Thurrock always looked the more likely to score and increased their lead when a chip over the cover defence allowed newcomer Markus Burcham to catch and score under the posts, Neale added the extra’s and Thurrock now found themselves 14-8 ahead. Then just moments before the break an error in defence after turning the ball over a mistimed kick gave Gravesend a scrum 5 metres from the Thurrock line and Nolan went over to reduce the defecit to just one point at the break.

Gravesend again started the half much the better side but a fantastic counter attack see Nathan Farrell use his pace and strength to score under the posts, Neale again adding the easy conversion. Thurrock now looked comfortable and good value for their lead, but indiscipline started to creep in, first giving away an easy penalty which Meddings easily put over and then Thurrock kept wasting good attacking opportunities.

A great burst through the line from Nick Cooper-Hicks gave Thurrock an easy scoring chance but a poor pass to Ian Rudgeley see the ball despairingly go behind the player with the posts at his mercy. This proved to be the turning point, 3 penalties on the trot allowed Gravesend to go from their own 22 into the Thurrock 22 and the forwards kept rumbling the ball and finally it was Grays who went over to level the score.

Meddings kept his nerve to add the conversion, and grab victory for the visitors, there was still 4 minutes remaining for Thurrock to grab this game back, and when Thurrock’s man of the match Frankie Neale made another fantastic run he chipped ahead, but was blatantly taken out by wing and full back which in amazement to all at the ground went un-penalised as the referee was the only one not to see the incident, Neale would have made the chip ahead but it wasn’t to be, another infringement turned from free kick to penalty as the frustration went through both players and fans.

Well done to the visitors they made most of their opportunities and grabbed the victory in what was a game played in the right spirit from start to finish.

TEAM: Neale, Farrell, Gorman (B.Stanley), Burcham, Hardy Rudgeley, Cook, North, Durrance, Bevans-Royston, Flavin, Loka,Cooper-Hicks, Reed (Timson), Retigan

This Saturday Thurrock visit old adversaries WESTCLIFF kick off at The Gables in Aviation Way is 3pm


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