TJs Grit Not Quite Enough
After the huge disappointment of the Dorking result and a resilient if unspectacular performance against Hertford one or two may have been thinking that the visit of OEs might be a game too far for a TJ squad who have suffered with injuries for a while now.
With OEs running in a gift of a score within the first 2 minutes and then shunting TJs back at scrumtime it looked like a lot of the bad prophecies would becomre reality but TJs were having none of it. A Luke Makris penalty opened the account and then a fantastic counter attack by TJs with Adam Danckert reading the play superbly to support and split OEs wide open. His interchange with the forwards looked like it might falter but the bisy Dan Hawkes can smell a chance from cloe range as he went in under the posts. 10-7 TJs and smiles all round.
TJs then shot themsleves in the foot as they floated a wide pass only to see the league's leading try scorer step in off his wing to snaffle the balland romp home. Two Os penalties just before the break and one from Makris saw OEs go in 13-20 in front and a further 3 points soon after the restart extended the lead again.
TJs could have crumbled at this point but they continued to try and move the larger OE pack around and they had the edge in the Backs although the OE wingers were a constant threat. Birthday Boy Lee Campion (pictured) painfully shrugged off the pain to crash over when a lesser player would have baulked at the risk to his health and TJs were back in it at 18 - 23, Makris hitting the upright with the conversion.
Tristan Sweden received a yellow for knocking down a scoring pass and OEs slotted the penalty before adding 7 more points with a converted try to make it 18-33. The writing was on the wall again for TJs but again they dug deep and made the most of uncontested scrums to run a very simple backline move which saw Harry Salter go over, Makris converting.
OEs though had the final say with two unconverted tries in the last two minutes to run out 25-43 winners, a result which took them top in N3L&SE.
Elsewhere Dorking went down 35-17 to East Grinstead, a result that puts them second now and in the play off spot. OEs have to play East Grinstead next Saturday and then travel to Dorking before ending with Bury St Edmunds 5th) at home on 12th April.
Doomed Barking lost 5-83 to Guernsey whilst Barnes seem to have turned their season round after beating Thurrock, TJ's next opponents, 41-5 although they are still 6 points adrift of escaping the drop. CS Rugby beat Bury St E 42-27 and Hertford beat Combe 24-6 with Tring beating Basingstoke 67-19
In London 1 South Gravesend still look odds on to win the division after they beat Sutton & E 6-36. They are though still second, although with a game in hand, behind Chichester who beat Staines 5-29. Just one point separates them at the top.
Charlton Park are practically home and hosed now in L2SE after they beat Lewes 65-13 to remain 15 points clear of Maidstone in second. Stones have a game in hand but that won't be enough although they beat Sevenoaks 18-14 to drop Oaks to fifth. T Wells climbed to fourth with a 7-51 win at Heathfield & Waldron.