Rugby: Bede's 1st XI vs Tonbridge


The Rugby squad's positive start to the season continued with a hard fought and close victory against a well drilled and disciplined Tonbridge team.

Against such a prestigious rugby playing school, the Bede's boys defended like their lives depended on it, and became victorious in the end.

Bede's had the better of the first half and from the kick off exerted pressure on the Tonbridge line. The boys maintained territory for the first quarter of the match, recycling possession well.

At the breakdown, a well drilled Tonbridge team were always competitive, and at the start a stalemate ensued. Our forwards began to show dominance in strength, led by the determined Josh Novell and impressive Bertie Cook.

After a long period of possession in the opposition 22, Joe Juran finally broke through the Tonbridge defence to score Bedes first points, ably converted by Captain Jay Spicer. Spicer continued to lead the back line well, and the pace of Owers, Esson, Forder and MacKellor began to make inroads into the Tonbridge defensive unit.

Bede's managed to maintain forward momentum through the first half, and held the opposition's options to kicking out from their line. With boys two years older bearing down on him, Patrick Ankjaer never faulted under the high ball, and added a direct running line in attack - leading to Bede's second try.

A breakdown on one side of the pitch with quick distribution by the impressive Pantry at scrum half, and good handling through the backs led to Ankjaer running into the corner.

After narrowly missing a tough conversion, Bede's were 12-0 up at half time.

Tonbridge came back strongly. From the kick off they took up position in the Bedes 22, weren't going to leave voluntarily. With a nervous Mr Hayes continually checking his watch, wave after wave of attack crashed against the unshakeable Bede's defence.

Every man made important tackles, but our flankers Harry Walker and Archie Ridpath must be commended, they were simply everywhere.

Eventually, after 15 minutes of pressure, they found a gap and squeezed through. There was now only one score in the game, and Tonbridge smelled a comeback.

From the kick off, a rare error led Tonbridge back into the Bede's 22, and the prolonged attack started again, phases came and went, but the defence stood firm. The Bede's boys didn't lose their heads, didn't get angry, and after a combined tackle from Spicer and Valinejad holding a man up over the try line, managed to escape into the Tonbridge half.

Little time remained. Bede's managed to hold possession and get into the Tonbridge corner, but some good defence kept us out again.

With 3 minutes to go, Tonbridge still had time to break away and equalise; Harry Walker, however, had other ideas. Springing from a ruck to make one tackle, closing down the kicker and blocking his clearance kick, then reacting to the bounce of the ball first and running in under the posts he took Bede's clear and to victory.

Although Harry was man of the match, Archie Ridpath's defensive display was second to none.

All the boys should have a special mention for not losing their calm heads and forging a quality 19-5 victory to set up the rest of the season.

Tom Elwell

Head of Rugby