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Injury-ravaged Warlingham bow to Deal & Betteshanger
Shorn of several regular first teamers with long term injuries, Warlingham were still determined to give a good account of themselves in a howling gale at Deal & Betteshanger.
However, after a 25-3 defeat the Warl remain fourth from bottom.
Head coach Ben Stobart was pressed into donning the number four shirt and acquitted himself with aplomb during his 30 minutes on the pitch, especially with his deft reverse passes from the touchline.
Warlingham started well with early territorial pressure earning them a kickable penalty.
But the elements spoiled the opportunity and the score remained pointless.
Deal's backline looked sharp and their first try came from some swift handling in the foul conditions.
A blatant crossing and obstruction was missed by the referee and Deal put seven points on the board.
Captain Zack King was his usual galloping self supported by Mikal Ahola and stand-in scrum half Alex Skinner.
Front rowers Kieran Scutt, Alex Nunn and Ant Abou-Zeid tackled their hearts out to keep the game winnable and young Adam Downie-Keene threatened on the wing.
Newly signed flanker, 'A J' Hemsley made his mark by folding the Deal number 10 in half with a ramrod tackle stopping the game for several minutes while the Deal medics brought the fly half back into the land of the living.
Warlingham spent long periods of play in the Deal 22 with their trademark pick 'n' go style, but the home side's defence held.
When Deal attacked the Warlingham line virtually all their players joined a ruck to drive over for the second, unconverted, try.
With the gale driving across the pitch the turn round made little difference for advantage and Deal slotted two well-struck penalties and Warlingham were into catch-up rugby and a Joe McEvoy penalty got them on the scoreboard.
Substitutes Ben Freeman, Ben Wiseman and Lewis Beake came on to add new legs to the Warlingham cause but Deal's pack snuffed out the visitor's attacks.
Deal's forward power just overwhelmed Warlingham in the final stages and their third converted try.
Warlingham Chairman Peter Wrightson said:"All the younger players gave their all, despite the conditions and they did us proud.
"We knew it would be difficult for us today but they stuck to their job throughout the game."
Warlingham's next game is at home against Sevenoaks on February 8.
Warlingham: Atkinson, Abou-Zeid, Ahola, Beake, Boufaied, Davies, Downie-Kenne, Freeman, Kenny, King, McEvoy, A Nunn, Saffery, Scutt, A Skinner, Stobart, Wiseman, Hemsley.