Em­phatic end to cup run

Kent Messenger Maidstone - - SPORT -

Pre-match op­ti­mism didn’t last long as Maid­stone lost 62-3 at home to Old Cran­leighans in the In­ter­me­di­ate Cup sec­ond round on Satur­day. Im­proved per­for­mances in Lon­don 2 South East sug­gested a win might be on the cards, de­spite miss­ing three or four reg­u­lars, par­tic­u­larly as the vis­i­tors had won only twice this sea­son. But Cran­leighans proved a good side and at­tacked with in­tent from the off. They ran hard at the Maid­stone de­fence with for­wards and backs and re­cy­cled the ball ef­fi­ciently and at speed. It was a fine sight to see the hosts led out by skip­per-for-the-day Will Fox, who has com­pleted the tran­si­tion from fifth-team rookie to 1st XV reg­u­lar, but there was an early blow when sec­ond row Char­lie Bent­ley went off in­jured and pres­sure told when a catch-and­drive on half­way led to a con­verted try with nine min­utes played. Maid­stone worked hard to stem the tide of run­ners but strug­gled to se­cure pos­ses­sion. It took them 25 min­utes to mount their first at­tack but it broke down and Cran­leighans quickly breached the line to run in their sec­ond try. Euan Caborn scored a 30-me­tre penalty shortly be­fore half-time but the vis­i­tors added an­other con­verted try to lead 19-3 at the break. Maid­stone were boosted by the re­turn of skip­per Lu­cian Morosan from in­jury at the start of the sec­ond half but then lost Dan Fisher to a shoul­der prob­lem. With Morosan at scrum-half and Jack Leech at No.10, the game­plan al­tered to try and keep the ball tight in the for­wards. But the first kick launched into Cran­leighans ter­ri­tory was fielded com­fort­ably by the full-back, who out­paced the en­tire de­fence to touch down for a fur­ther seven points. Tries fol­lowed reg­u­larly and even when Cran­leighans lost a player to the sin-bin for a high tackle on Alex Clark, Maid­stone couldn’t cap­i­talise. Clark was in the wars, knocked out cold in an­other tackle and helped off the field with no mem­ory of what had hap­pened. He’ll be a loss at full-back while he re­cov­ers, hav­ing played well in re­cent weeks. Maid­stone re­turn to league ac­tion at home to Old Colfeians this Satur­day, while Ayles­ford Bulls visit Thanet.

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