It was a tough opening half to the term for Tonbridge, a glut of injuries and an unsettled side making it very difficult for them to get a decent string of results together.
Eton by contrast began the season in fine form, before three losses on the bounce left them short of confidence too. With both sides suffering similar defeats to Epsom, Harrow and Radley, it seemed that Saturdayâ€™s fixture would be a close encounter.
Ex-Tonbridge captainÂ George LawsonÂ was there:
Tonbridge returned to winning ways after tough losses to Radley and Harrow. With 3 players returning to fitness, Tonbridge looked good from the start retaining possession and playing their patterns to effect.
However soft penalties against them kept Eton in Tonbridge territory but they lacked the killer instinct to cross the white line.
After 20 minutes the score was 0-0. This soon changed asÂ Matt BlandfordÂ charged through some weak tackles from Eton to then offload to another promising lower 6thÂ James UrquartÂ who beat the final man to run under the sticks,Â Chris Perera-SlaterÂ converted.
The rest of the half was a bitty affair with both teams dropping passes and only 1 more score was added before half time, a penalty by the vocal fly halfÂ Chris Perera-Slater.
Half Time Tonbridge 10-0 Eton
Both teams returned from half term knowing that the first score was crucial to the final result. It was the home side that got that important score. Nice hands along the line led to the poacherÂ Andrew HemmingsÂ diving over from 2 metres in the corner, and a nice conversion fromÂ SlaterÂ took Tonbridge to 17-0.
The game was completely taken away from Eton with 2 nice long range scores under the posts from speedstersÂ Charlie AdamÂ and Richie O’Grady.
With 20 minutes to go and the with the score at 29-0, Tonbridge could have gone on to make Eton’s journey home very uncomfortable, however both through Eton’s determination to have some pride in their performance and Tonbridge’s intent to run the ball from all over in wet weather, the ball was in the Tonbridge 22 for the last quarter but no points were scored.
Final Score: Tonbridge 29-0 Eton
On Tonbridgeâ€™s performance, Lawson said:
â€œTonbridge looked a far more effective side with players coming back, and will look to carry some momentum into the end of their season, but face a very stiff challenge from St Paul’s next Saturday away. It looks set to be a very exciting game.â€
Certainly this was a performance to be proud of for Tonbridge, and their return to winning ways really demonstrates just how deep their injury crisis was before the break.
With Matt Blandford demonstrating just why theÂ England selectors called him up, there appears to be no little promise for next yearâ€™s side either.
Eton by contrast will be devastated by their fourth defeat in a row, and with early season pacesetters Marlborough to come, life does not look like it will be getting any easier. They must reflect with pride though in their resilience in the final quarter to keep the scoreline within respectable limits.
Back to winning ways though, Tonbridge must now go further and be back to their absolute best when they face the in form St Paulâ€™s next week. St Paulâ€™s have only lost once all season, to the aforementioned Marlborough, and will not be easily brushed aside.
It should be a mouthwatering clash.
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