After losing on the opening weekend of the season, Tonbridge had bounced back strongly to win their next two games, including a strong win against the in form Bedford. The next step in their progress was to welcome Radley to Kent this weekend, in what has proved a tough but competitive fixture in recent years.
Radley had enjoyed a similar set of results to Tonbridge with strong victories over Eton and Sherborne only blotted by a narrow defeat to St Paulâ€™s. It was with great confidence though that they travelled to the home of the black and white hoops.
For Tonbridge it was a case of trying to cope as best as possible, as injuries have recently torn though their side, most worryingly to captain and star man, Matt Eliet.
Radley though had their own worries, but went out in search of a third win on the trot against the former undisputed champions of school rugby.
Former Tonbridge manÂ George LawsonÂ reports:
Radley outplayed an injury ravaged Tonbridge to claim a 22-12 win.
Tonbridge, without six of their best players, started very slowly, going into half time 10-0 down after steady and good dynamic play by Radley.
Whatever was said in the Tonbridge sheds at the break though seemed to have worked as Tonbridge came roaring out the blocks, with Andrew Hemmings running in a try after a good pass from Chris Slater.
However it was not to be, as Radley then scored a great offloading try and moved clear with 15 to go, it was not without controversy though, with one pass incensing the home crowd with cries of â€˜forwardâ€™.
Another try followed though and it looked like it could be Tonbridge’s worst defeat for years, a tag that would hurt deeply at this passionate rugby school.
A consolation length of the pitch try from centre Charlie Adam gave the score a slightly better look, but Radley fully deserved their 3rd win over Tonbridge in successive years and look very impressive.
Tonbridge need to regroup and train hard ahead of a massive game against Harrow, which could be a cracker. They will hopefully recall some of their big game players by this time.
Final Score: Tonbridge 12-22 Radley
Defeat will hurt Tonbridge, but they must take heart from their late rally to keep the scoreline in check. A proud rugby school, no defeat feels acceptable to them, but with over a third of the side out with injury it was never going to be an easy task.
With Harrow to come, they will be focusing on getting this result out of their system and getting players fit ahead of what promises to be a top encounter. Harrow have been one of the form sides of the year, but defeat to Wellington this weekend will encourage Tonbridge as they look to expose any chink in the armor.
For Radley, a third victory in succession over Tonbridge will have filled them with confidence and they will now be looking ahead to their clash with Abingdon full of excitement.
15. Urquart 14. Oâ€™Grady 13. Adam 12. Mitchell 11. Ward 10. Slater (c) 9. Turner 1. Kevis 2. Buchanan 3. Soulsby 4. Wheadon 5. Ball 6. Pugh 7. Hemmings 8. Blandford
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