Old G’s extend winning run to 8 games
By Matt Holdstock
Old G's close the gap with big win
Getting the new year off to a winning start was always going to require a huge effort from the boys in blue and they didn’t disappoint! With big defensive efforts from Andrew Kidd, Sam Baker and Ashley Bourne plus a great performance from the boot of Matthew Thompson the old boys were able to overcome an early blip to come out the victors.
You could have forgiven some dropped heads when Ancs crossed the line after only 2 minutes of play but the Old Boys went straight on the attack and piled on the pressure, poor discipline from both sides kept Old G’s at bay. This was until a penalty was given within range of Thompson who slotted away the extras with ease and they were back in it. 3-5.
20 minutes of pressure saw two further penalties added by Thompson who was lapping up the opportunities and didn’t look like missing at all. 9-5
The Old Boys maintained the pressure throughout the first half with the attacking prowess of Wilson, Hood, Langley and Johnson as well as a great effort from the pack, in particular Paul Mitchell, Brett Buckingham and Andy Morris who were seemingly involved in every breakdown. The pressure started to show for a usually level headed Gillingham side who conceded multiple penalties in the red zone leading to a Yellow Card for the full back and two phases later a Penalty Try for Old G’s to end the half 16-5.
Despite the half time lead the old boys knew they had their work cut out to keep their lead, going uphill in the 2nd half and against a team that has the ability to gain yards from nowhere. A blow was hit early on with the loss of Andrew Kidd to a suspected elbow dislocation, this was a chance to show off the replacements and Matt Johnson came on in his place. While Kidd was down getting treatment a quick tap penalty from Gillingham saw them over the line and back in the game. This time they got the conversion and the lead was down to 4 points. 16-12.
Frazer Barnes, Joe Martin and Sam Baker were gaining the hard yards with some great runs, supported well by the rest of the pack until another penalty in range was given Thompson stepped up and extended the lead again. 19-12 and the pressure was eased slightly. Another opportunity moments later could have taken the Old G’s further into the lead but this time Thompsons attempt drifted wide.
This was a catalyst to Gillingham who ramped up the aggression and started their come back, keeping the Old G’s pinned back in their own half with superb running and some well placed kicks. The penalty count climbed but Gillingham were smelling blood and refused to take the option of points, the pressure was too much and Andy Morris was given 10 minutes in the bin.
Old G’s stood firm for the majority of the time they were down to 14 with the only blow coming 2 minutes before Morris returned when Gillingham breeched the defences of Old G’s to score a try, the conversion fell short and the lead was down to two. 19-17.
Back up to a full complement Old G’s were put back under pressure up until a penalty was given against Gillingham at last play. Matthew Holdstock took a quick tap and kicked the ball out and the game was over!
However, before any celebrations could be had an incident after the whistle meant that what had been a very good game of rugby was soured actions that have no place on a rugby pitch. The true cost of the incident is as of yet unknown but everyone at Old Gravesendians wishes a speedy recovery to our press officer and Fly Half Matt Holdstock.
A special mention to all of the players and supporters who came down and showed their passion by cheering on the club. Picking a single Man of the Match is always difficult when every single player has put their all in and the team performs well as a unit however Paul Mitchell sums up the effort brilliantly, never dropping his head, motivating his fellow players and getting stuck in for the full game despite picking up an injury of his own early on.
Next week the Old Boys travel to New Ash Green for a local derby and will look to continue their winning form.