Submitted for publication in the Folkestone Herald

A superb 13-minute period for Folkestone put the game out of reach as they clinched a 28-19 victory over local rivals Ashford.

The Stones showed more pace, variation and us than their opponents, and the first signs of strength on both wings appeared within the opening five minutes.

Both James Mead and Dan Hillier were shot down by the last defender, and when Adam Tolman gave a teasing kick behind the opposition, Ashford did well to defend his line.

Ashford recovered well and took the lead for ten minutes, but four penalties and six handling faults, split evenly, put the striker at ease.

Signs of danger were there for Ashford, when a 20 pass move left and right was only thwarted by a crash near the line.

A close-to-center-line scrum was won by Folkestone’s side, Kent and Will Abel ran to the right instead of the expected left-side movement, a beautifully directed and weighted pass to James Mead left a gap that Mead took , overtaking the cover defense to break the deadlock and score a try after 33 minutes. Callum Palmieri converted.

An inspired Folkestone pushed Ashford back as Adam Tolman carefully dodged a defender and passed straight to Hillier who sprinted past and dodged the cover defense to score on the left wing.

The second half started with Palmieri kicking Ashford’s 22-yard area for Mead to get the bouncing ball back.

He accelerated sharply to push his way through tight defense and ran to land under the posts, transformed by Palmieri.

Ashford was yellow carded for a desperate header tackle.

Tolman then lined up a long kick, ran and passed to Jo Morton, he fed Mead on the right, who swung the ball to the left as Ashford struck in defense.

After the next scrum, Palmieri found Hillier wide on the left sideline and had to beat five defenders to score a brilliant individual try from a tight position. The conversion earned 28 unanswered points and one bonus point.

The Ashford, Kent side fought back with a force and were rewarded with a try after a good defense was shattered by close passes and large numbers.

Folkestone’s Ben Stringer received a yellow card for a high tackle, and Ashford scored another try using the forwards and backs to good use.

Ashford tried to close the gap, and despite another Folkestone yellow for Connor Leather, the Stones held on for the win.

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