Holt fail to get good start

IN north Kent for the sixth round of the EDF Junior Rugby Vase against Old Gravesendians (OG), Holt hoped to cause another upset.In the end Holt lost out 26-10 to the hosts.

IN north Kent for the sixth round of the EDF Junior Rugby Vase against Old Gravesendians (OG), Holt hoped to cause another upset.

In the end Holt lost out 26-10 to the hosts.

The day was fine with a slight breeze and the pitch was firm after the heavy rain, but with a very pronounced slope, a key factor.

Holt opted to play with the slope for the first half hoping to put points on the board and defend a lead second half. But events dictated otherwise.

Holt made their usual impressive start without opening their account and the home side began to show why they are top of their league by putting Holt under pressure.

They played well to the vagaries of the pitch and slope and fortunately for Holt they were wide with two penalty kicks in the first 20 minutes.

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OG opened the scoring after 22 minutes when Holt's defence got into a terrible muddle in clearing the ball which finished up in the hands of the winger. He ran through to score a try which was converted.

Holt were stung into action and for the remainder of the half put their hosts under a lot of pressure but were unable to break down a solid defensive wall until, with two minutes remaining, Bruce Van Poortvliet took a tap penalty to score a well-taken try. The conversion was a formality for Allen for 7-7.

The expected second-half home blitz did not happen straight away and Holt took the game up the slope and were awarded a penalty after two minutes, on the 22, which Allen converted. Holt led 10-7 and the question was could they keep the home side at bay?

They certainly did for the next 25 minutes, aided by an excellent cover tackle when a try looked imminent and also by the OG backs getting over-anxious by either knocking on or kicking the ball dead.

After continuous pressure, Holt in attempting to clear the ball from defence, saw the kick charged down leading and OG cashed in on this error to score an unconverted tryto lead 12-10.

With 12 minutes left there was still time for Holt to get back up the slope to save the game.

But two minutes later the OG outside centre broke the defensive line to score under the posts and with the conversion a formality, the lead was increased to 19-10 and put the game out of Holt's reach.

In the dying moments Holt tried to fly hack the ball into touch, failed and OG were on the error like a flash to score another try (converted).

Holt were left to rue the three errors which had led to tries and also the fact they had not used the pitch and slope to best advantage in the first half.

The Holt forwards again played their hearts out and more than matched their opponents, but it was the home side's three-quarters who showed how to make good use of possession.

Next, Holt are away again, this time to Cantabrigian who are one place below them in the league, a side they beat well at home in October.