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FOR THE second week running Gravesend RFC showed they are more than able to compete at National League Three South East level, writes Mike Cubitt.

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However, they are finding it difficult to finish off the opposition despite being in control for more of the game than they will want to admit to and a 22-16 defeat at Staines was far less than they deserved.

Two minutes in and Staines opened their account as Tom Williams finished off a drive out wide to touch down. Richard Mahony failed with the conversion but the home side were in front 5-0.

In control, and keeping play in the opposition half, a well won ball at the lineout by Keepa Mewett saw Jamie Forsyth, Sox Stevens and exchange passes before Gary Gray cut through close to the line, Ashley Moorey at his elbow forced his way over for the try.

Dave Dorton, returning at full-back, made sure of the extra points with a well-struck conversion and for 7-5.

A miss by fly-half Mahony with the chance to regain the lead on 11 minutes looked crucial as Dorton fired home two long-range penalties to extend Gees’ lead to 13-5.

Then, on the half-hour mark, from a move that appeared to be offside, wing Micky Willmott raced over to reduce the arrears. Mahoney converted to leave the score 13-12 at the interval.

An early penalty in the second period from Dorton put Gravesend 16-12 ahead, yet their failure to keep the slippery ball to hand and tie-up the loose ball cost dearly.

A series of drives from the home forwards led to Junior Harrison being driven over to score. Mahony made no mistake with this kick for a lead of 19-16.

Gees’ hopes of victory were then dashed as Mahony added another penalty to complete the scoring. A bonus point for losing by less than seven points may count at the end of the season, but not as much as the four away points for a win that should have been gained in this fixture.

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