Pulborough take a big step to the title with Thanet Wanderers win

Pulborough v Thanet rugby. Pic Steve Robards  SR1634361 SUS-161120-154828001
Pulborough v Thanet rugby. Pic Steve Robards SR1634361 SUS-161120-154828001

Pulborough took a big step towards the London 3 South East title with captain Simon Burfiend exclaiming, ‘it’s in our hands now’.

‘Borough all-but ended Thanet Wanderers’ aspirations for the crown as they secured a stunning 32-22 victory on the road.

It sees Thanet slip to third with three games left to play, eight points behind the leaders. Haywards Heath have since taken up the mantel, going second just four points behind Pulborough.

First-half tries from Will Truscot and Brad Game along with a conversion from Frazer Oliphant-Hope and two penalties put ‘Borough 18-0 up after 20 minutes.

But after a number of team infringements, Tom Pascal was sent to the bin and Thanet struck back before half-time with two converted tries and a penalty to bring the score back to 18-17.

In the second half, Oliphant-Hope slotted another penalty and Henry Lee crossed the line, before two more infringements were punished by the boot of Oliphant-Hope.

Thanet did go over in the corner in the final play, but Burfiend was delighted with his side’s showing and said: “From the moment we stepped out to warm up I can’t remember ever seeing a Pulborough team so focussed and determined. Then to start the game as we did in the first 15 minutes added even more fuel to the fire.

“I would say it was one of our most all-round performances of the season. With a side as strong as Thanet it was always expected they would make a comeback at some point.

“They did in a 15 minute period before half-time due to our indiscipline. However, as we said at half-time; going into the second half, down the slope, with any sort of a lead was all that we needed to go on and win that game.

“Although Thanet are now relatively out of the title race, Heath are very much in it and have replaced Thanet in terms of table positioning. We have three games left, with Folkestone and Lewes in particular tough fixtures.

“We are confident leading into the final fixtures, but any slip-up could bring Heath level on points, then it would go down to the bonus points received in the last games.

“The boys are all aware that we still have a lot of hard work to do before the title is ours, but fortunately after the weekend the league is in our hands now, and not reliant upon other results.”