Match report from Cranbrook
By Lucy Davies
Bourne push Cranbrook
Match report from Cranbrook:
Cranbrook travelled to Sittingbourne in the second round of the Kent Vase hoping to retain the trophy they won last season. Cranbrook started the better of the two teams and made several probes down the left wing. But if they thought this was going to be the tempo of the match, they were about to find out how wrong they were. Sittingbourne are a better team than they were last season and started to make constructive advances into the Cranbrook half helped by some poor Cranbrook tackling. With many handling errors, mainly by Cranbrook, the match then stuttered somewhat in-between the two 22s but it was Cranbrook who struck first by working the ball to the right wing that saw Stefan Jovanović fend off two Sittingbourne players to touch down behind the posts. This was duly converted by Hylton Gibson to give the away side a 7-0 lead. Again Sittingbourne probed and struck back after 15 minutes punching the ball into the right corner after a long period of pressure on the Cranbrook lines. The conversion was missed leaving Cranbrook with a slender 7-5 lead. Any further Cranbrook advances were stopped by unforced fumbles and handling errors. The remainder of the first half saw Cranbrook on the back foot through poor tackling and an inability to compete for the ball. A resulting penalty from a stray hand in the ruck saw Sittingbourne kick a penalty on the stroke of half time that now saw them take an 8-7 lead. Soon after the break, Cranbrook seemed to be reinvigorated after a stern half time chat, which eventually led to a well taken drop goal by Hylton Gibson from 22 metres out taking Cranbrook back into the lead by 10-8. However, instead of building on this momentum, more handling errors and loss of ball in the contact area saw Cranbrook again on the back foot. Cranbrook then went down to 14 men after Mark Chandler was yellow carded for hands in at the ruck but managed to contain Sittingbourne’s advances and hold out until they were back to full strength. Despite the lack of fluidity in attack, Beau Archer, who had been threatening all day, went on a mazy run and broke through a tackle in the centres leaving him to beat the full back and dot down under the posts. A simple conversion by Gibson saw Cranbrook’s lead extended to 17-8, which could have broken the home team’s spirit. This didn’t occur and Sittingbourne then exerted a lot of pressure on Cranbrook’s defensive line, which inevitably paid dividends after a pushover try from a scrum. Despite the missed conversion, the last several minutes were played out in much the same way as before and Cranbrook hung on to win 17-13. This was an ugly win for Cranbrook against a much improved Sittingbourne side. The contrast in Cranbrook’s play from the previous week was quite marked with poor handling, loss of possession in the contact area and a lineout that didn’t function as well as it normally does leading to a stuttering performance. A lot of credit has to go to Sittingbourne who constantly put pressure on the Cranbrook lines and made this match more uncomfortable that they are used to.
Cranbrook: J. Cattermole, K. Magsico, T. Ditton, C. Clayden-Spence, S. Jovanović, F. Bromley, M. Chandler, C. Hall, J. Cordrey, H. Gibson, S. Jovanović, T. Johnson, B. Archer, M. Sands, S. Sherwood. Subs: S. Hall, T. Brooks, A. Cornwallis, C. Tomlin