Footscray v Gillingham Anchorians London & SE Division – Shepherd Neame Kent League 1, 15:00 6th April 2019

Anchorians travelled to Footscray for the final league game of the season, having already secured second place in Kent League 1 and a play-off against Sussex League 1 runners-up Crawley. In the circumstances the performance was below par but still enough to come away with another bonus point win.

The home side started well and dominated possession early on but Anchs opened the scoring when Neil Alexander, who had another fine game, broke from a ruck and fed Will Rush who scored in the corner. Immediately following the restart, Adam Davison put in a try saving tackle to prevent Footscray from scoring. Anchs then spent a period of time with possession in the Footscray half but couldn’t add to their lead. Despite winning good lineout ball, Anchs scrum was often under pressure and Footscray were able to clear their lines.

Anchs used forwards Alfie Luckhurst and Ryan Lehane in the back line and they were able to get across the gain line. The reward finally came when the ball was fed out wide and Adam Davison went over in the corner.

When Anchs were awarded a penalty under the posts they chose to take the easy 3 points to give them a 13 – 0 lead which remained the score at half time despite some further close calls and a Footscray yellow card for a high tackle.

Playing down the slope in the second half, Anchs soon increased their lead when a quick tap penalty saw the ball being fed to Neil Alexander who raced through the defence for a try which was converted by Jordan Mitchell. Sam Brown came on for Harrison Irons which saw the pack reshuffled but by this time Anchs were well on top and went further ahead when a fine run by Dave Starowicki set up Neil Alexander for his second and Anchs bonus point try. The conversion from Jordan Mitchell put Anchs 0 – 27 ahead.

With the win and bonus point secured the game petered out with a few opportunities for Anchs to increase their lead which unfortunately went astray. The game ended when Footscray were awarded another yellow card and after two attempts Jordan Mitchell put the ball out of play from the ensuing penalty.

Anchs finished the league season with an excellent P20 W16 L4 record and 80 points which put them in second place behind an unbeaten Ashford side. They now face the most important match of the season next week in a play-off to return to London SE 3.

By Ian Brenton


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