Tottonians 22 Sidcup 16

Totts put in another top performance to shock previously unbeaten Sidcup as coach Gavin Williams took charge of his last home game.

The London 1 South champions from Kent were in touching distance of completing their season without tasting defeat and showed their class throughout the brutal clash.

However, Totts were determined to ruin their visitors’ record to make sure they finished their campaign in fourth spot – the club’s highest-ever league placing.

Totts went behind after six minutes as Sidcup lived up to their reputation and scored with their first attack. But, backed by a large gathering at Water Lane, the home side clawed their way into lead by half time and then gave their all as they defended their line to a man over the final 40 minutes.

Four penalties and a conversion from captain Robbie Searle and a spectacular breakaway try from centre Richard Buck had put Tottonians 19-13 up at the interval.

They were on the back foot for the majority of the second half but did increase their lead, Searle adding another penalty after teammate Josh Andrews was stopped ten metres short of the line.

Sidcup came close to breaking through Totts’ resilient defence on several occasions but ran out of ideas after spurning a handful of kickable penalty opportunities and coming up against a brick wall defence. They eventually booted three points from in front of the posts but it was too little, too late.

Proud Williams has decided to step down from the demanding role of head coach after the last game of the season in two weeks and was clearly emotional following Saturday’s victory.

The former soldier and Tottonians player, who has worked for the RFU for 20 years and coached England’s women’s first team, said: “It was a good game of rugby all round and you can see why they are champions, but I just thought the character of our lads shone through today and the way they put their bodies on the line in defence was just awe-inspiring.

“This is the highest we have finished at this level and I could not be more proud of them.

“This was my last home game and it is a bit emotional but I am holding it together. It was a fantastic win against the champions, deservedly champions as well, which makes it a little more special.

“I have done eight or nine seasons now and I gave up coaching with the England women’s set-up to take on this role because it was something I always wanted to do.

“I have been privileged and proud to be associated with this group of players.”

He added: “You should always know when it is your time to move on and let somebody else take the reins and work has been busy and I need to take some time for myself and allow someone to take them on to the next level.”

Long-standing chairman Paul Searle said: “At the end of the day Gavin has taken us to a level we never thought possible and the way he has gone about it and handled it has been perfect.

“We respect his decision because it is a hell of a commitment to go out there and coach every Tuesday, Thursday and then the Saturdays.

“He has done a tremendous job and couldn’t have left us in a better position.”

Second-placed promotion seekers Havant travel to Sidcup in a fortnight on the back of a 39-12 victory over Chobham. However Tunbridge Wells, who also won at the weekend, are just three points behind and have home advantage over ninth-placed Maidstone on the same day.

Maidstone got some try scoring practice in on Saturday, beating rock bottom Gosport & Fareham 89-10.