BY virtue of this win, Crowborough – still with two league matches to play – gained promotion to London 2 SE, thus reversing last year’s disappointment when they lost out in the final minutes of the final match last season.
The margin of victory does not do justice to either side. Crowborough’s excellence, which could have been further rewarded, was matched by Folkestone’s dogged determination and uncompromising defensive work, in an effort to retain their unbeaten home record and any chances of promotion. But however hard they tried to stop the red tide, the score board kept ticking inexorably upward. The game was less than a minute old when the first points were on the board.
From the kick off, Folkestone knocked on, and from the scrum Tom Noot picked up, fed Ed Atkin who scooted across the field to find Tom Burgess in support to score the first of his three – and Boro’s eventual eight – tries. However, this victory was not about individuals but a collective team performance with players who clearly relished playing, not only with, and for each other, but with a pride for the shirt.
The forwards were simply magnificent, getting to the breakdown en masse, and then dominating their larger counterparts in the set pieces. The backs, not to be outdone, cruised the field looking for the next score, and in spite of excellent defensive work by their opposite numbers, were able to create the holes with laser like running lines, lightning passing and sleight-of-hand off-loads that released the speedsters out wide.
Tries from Tom Burgess (3), Murray Galbraith-Lowe (2),Mitch Malherbe, Jack Barker, and Damon Hayes – with 13 points from the boot of Barker – completed the scoring for Crowborough.
However, coach Nick Oldham will no doubt bring his charges back to earth during training this week, to ensure that exuberance does not lead to a lack of forward concentration and poor defensive alignment, the combination of which led to Folkestone’s first try.
This Saturday, Crowborough host a strong second place Medway side, and, with the hosts needing just one win from their two remaining matches to take the championship, a large crowd is anticipated at Steel Cross. KO is at 3pm.