Maidstone 0-29 Gravesend
Maidstone 0-29 Gravesend

Maidstone entertained Gravesend at the Mote on a wet cold December afternoon.

Maidstone welcomed back former skipper Dave Charlton at fly half, his last 1xv appearance was 5 years ago against Wells in the National Vase competition.

Maidstone kicked off attacking the road end, Gravesend drove down the pitch and it was only in the 2nd minute they acquired the ascendancy when kicking a penalty given for offside at the breakdown.

Gravesend had the upper hand in the scrum for most of the afternoon but it was from a solid Maidstone scrum in the 7th minute that they had their first attack of the afternoon, from the base the ball was spun down the back line, Shaun Woodford drove into the Gravesend midfield and they also fell foul of the referee’s breakdown interpretation and Maidstone were awarded a penalty. Unfortunately the kick was missed.

From the restart Gravesend recovered the ball and as they went forward another breakdown penalty gave Gravesend a 0-6 lead.

From the restart Maidstone retained possession and at the forth phase Charlton attacked down the left hand side and kicked ahead for the winger Vaki Antoniou to chase and he was narrowly beaten to the touchdown by the Gravesend defender.

Gravesend attacked from the 22 drop out dominating the restarts. An adjudged breakdown infringement for side entry resulted in another penalty, the kick was successful so 0-9 after 16 minutes.

Mainly due to the wet cold conditions there were numerous errors and the game was staccato in flow.

Gravesend increased their lead when a kick ahead into the stones 22 was well fielded by Josh Smith in the corner but he was isolated and the ball was turned over and Gravesend scored their first try of the afternoon, the conversion was missed.

From the kick off Maidstone attacked and went through a few phases through pick and drive rugby, for what proved to be the last play of the half they did succeed to get the ball over the line but the referee ruled that the ball was held up. Half time 0-14.

Maidstone missed a penalty at the start of the second half as the rain continued. Gravesend extended their advantage on the 45 minute, an attack starting with their left winger who cut inside when in the home side’s 22 went through four defenders before being tackled, from the quickly recycled ruck ball the Gravesend fly half put in a super cross field kick to the right wing where the Gravesend lock was there to score a well worked and executed try.

Bramwell and Chandler replaced Gilligan and Williams respectively and the game continued until there was an injury that required treatment to a Maidstone player. The game restarted with a 5 metre Gravesend lineout, Maidstone’s forwards were very slow to react to a training ground move and Gravesend scored in the corner.

Openside flanker Will Lane received a game ending bang to the head and Williams was reintroduced. Hill also replaced Woolford and the Maidstone backline was reshuffled, Hill was penalised for a high tackle as Gravesend continued to attack into the Maidstone 22.

The final score was a 29-0 victory to Gravesend who were deserving of their victory.

Maidstone will rue not securing set piece ball, missed red zone lineouts and ill-discipline which allowed Gravesend to keep the scoreboard ticking over.

Maidstone: Tom Varker, Ryan Murphy, Ashley Gilligan, Ben Massey(c), Charlie Williams, Jamie Marzetti, Sam Weston, Mike Grice, Dave Charlton, Josh Smith, Shaun Woolford, George Perry, Vaki Antoniou, Scott de Zoeten

Replacements: Jack Bramwell, Tom Chandler Gareth Hill (all used)