Emphatic end to cup run
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.