What a Win!!
By Kevin Hymas
Loka celebrates with 2 tries, Stanley keeps his nerve as Ts claim first league win over Brighton
Thurrock earned their 3rd consecutive win on Saturday as a last ditch try from Tani Loka set up former England 7s star, Sam Stanley to slot the winning conversion from close to the touchline. Oakfield was in silence as Stanley struck the kick, but the silence soon turned to a joyous roar as Ts claimed their first ever league victory over a Brighton side who had led London 1 South for much of the season.
In a game that ebbed and flowed with both teams giving 100% commitment until the final whistle, it was the home team that were left elated and the visitors deflated after a creditable effort.
In front of a big crowd following an earlier sponsors lunch, Thurrock went ahead when Sam Stanley slotted his 2nd drop goal in as many games to give Ts an early lead.
Brighton were next on the score board following a lapse in concentration from Thurrock. An attacking lineout from Brighton on the Thurrock line was expertly stolen by Ts. However, with the ball at the bottom of the ruck and over Ts try-line, an opportunistic Brighton player managed to touch the ball down through the bodies. The conversion was missed but the visitors had taken the lead at 5-3. They soon extended their lead when their fullback added a penalty to stretch the gap between the sides to 5 points as Thurrock were reduced to 14 men following a yellow card for Tom Pool.
Thurrock proved why they have been such a force at home though,as they went back on the attack and scored a try through the ageless Darryl Worster. A fine break by Dylan Fearon saw him ghost through the midfield and offload for Worster to slide in to continue his recent try scoring form. Stanley curled a beautiful conversion through the posts as Ts took a lead of 10-8 into the 2nd half.
Thurrock got off to a spectacular start in the second half when Tani Loka scored the first of his two tries. The big second row made a great pick up from a ruck and sprinted a full 30 metres to beat the cover defence and score under the posts. Stanley again added the conversion.
With the score now at 17-8, Brighton looked to counter at every opportunity and showed why they have led the league table for much of the season as they scored 2 converted tries in quick succession to turn the game on its head. The first try came following a catch and drive. There was lots of confusion with the conversion which looked wide but the home touch judge decided to make the score 17-15 in the visitors favour.
Thurrock continued to attack, and it was from one such attack that the visitors scored their 3rd try of the match. The ball was moved wide by Ts, but somehow was lost in contact. The ball landed in the grateful hands of the Brighton winger and he sprinted in from 60 metres. The touchline conversion from Their impressive fullback extended Brightons lead to 22-17 and only 5 minutes left on the clock.
This Thurrock team don't know when to give up though and following a huge amount of phases and patience, Loka dotted down for his second try, rounding off a good week for the second row after the birth of his daughter Olivia to bring the scores level at 22-22 and set the stage for Stanley's match winning conversion.
Thurrock are again at home this week when they entertain LONDON CORNISH at Oakfield with kick off at 3pm.
?: Mr Chris