Thurrock 26 v 17 Maidstone
Following a turbulent week off the field the players themselves stepped up to the plate for what is a much-needed win, against a team in a very similar position to Thurrock lacking in confidence.
Injuries have played havoc with selection and those left standing have not lacked in courage, or effort, after an even first quarter, it the home side who scored three converted tries in the second quarter, boosting their confidence, and establishing the platform for their victory, diagonal wind blowing across the pitch and into the visitors’ faces, Maidstone started the game trying to play a fast-moving handling game which foundered because passes went astray. Thurrock, after an early spell on the back foot had the first opportunity to get points on the board, after ten minutes, but Tom Worsfold making a welcome return to side after being out since February hooked his penalty attempt wide.
With nerves creeping into the play from both sides, it took a series of catch and drive moves by the home side, just into the second quarter, following a penalty in mid-field, to get their noses in front. No 8, Charlie Russo, got the touch down from close quarters and Worsfold added the conversion. From the restart, Maidstone won a penalty on the 35 metre mark and Moore stepped up to convert. The Thurrock restart allowed the ball into touch and from the line out, the home side moved the ball right to set up inside centre, Stanley, to score, with Worsfold adding the conversion. To compound Maidstone’s miseries, Knight received a yellow card shortly thereafter and, from the penalty, Thurrock established another attacking position in the Maidstone half and made their extra man tell, with Worsfold taking the final pass from a lengthy attacking move. With another conversion from their fly half, Thurrock established a 21-3 lead, with half time approaching.
Maidstone started the second half and began to establish momentum of their own. A penalty at a Thurrock line out saw a tap and run and , Stimpson was released to score in the left corner, Moore added the conversion from near the touchline, Maidstone showed, at last, that their attack had teeth. Within five minutes, Maidstone had added to their total. Once again the ball was moved to Clark, to score half way out the conversion from Moore reduced the deficit to 21-17, inspiring concerns in the home crowd. But Thurrock dug in and Maidstone’s revival hit the buffers. A late try by Thurrock, with left wing, Jake Barrand, taking advantage of a poorly directed Maidstone kick, to touch down in the corner, was the final piece in this game, sending the visitors home without even the consolation of a losing bonus point.
Next week Thurrock travel to Old Colfeians Kick Off 2.30pm