Dorking 40 Bishop's Stortford 1st XV 26
Stortford's record winning run judders to an end against a very competetive Dorking side.
Playing up the slope and into the breeze in the first half, Stortford got off to a flying start with an excellent try to fullback, Sam Winter after 4 minutes, who exploited a two on one situation created by a good break up the middle by prop, Will Freeston after the visitors had won a Dorking lineout on the latter's 22. Tom Coleman missed the difficult conversion narrowly. Stortford looked to be in control but were soon to rue the butchering of a golden chance of a second try through a knock-on out wide, as the try-line beckoned. Dorking were boosted by this clumsiness and took advantage of some poor Stortford tackling to press into the opposition 22 and score 3 points from a penalty against the Stortford front row at their own scrum. Stortford continued to offer their hosts encouragement with a number of knock-ons and an uncharacteristically porous defence, but managed, nevertheless to register the next score through a Coleman penalty for offside, after a good break by Jonno Child after 18 minutes. The scores were, however levelled only 3 minutes later, with an unconverted try to Dorking after gaps were found in the visitors' midfield defence, following a lineout on their 22, after a clumsy kick straight into touch from outside the 22. Worse was soon to follow for the visitors, as a weak tackle was broken, leaving the line open for Dorking's right wing to touch down out wide after 25 minutes. The conversion was missed, but no such mistake was made 10 minutes later, following the award of a penalty try to the home side. This followed a period of concerted pressure on the Stortford line, based on Dorking's now clear dominance of the set scrums, forcing a number of penalties. Stortford fought back and were deprived of tries first by a deliberate knock-on and then by a blatant killing of the ball at a ruck. This last offence was spotted by the referee and Coleman took the 3 points from under the posts, right on halftime to take the score at the break to 20-11.
Turning round with topography and breeze in their favour, Stortford would have been hoping for another quick start but, instead, showing continued lack of conviction under kicks and patchy commitment to the tackle, they conceded another try after 3 minutes. The move started with an outrageous dummy by a Dorking second row in his own 22 and some excellent running and support from his backs, as they swept almost the length of the pitch. Dorking's defence was tested again by the visitors in the next 10 minutes, but was not found wanting - albeit aided by some further Stortford handling errors. Nevertheless, the next score went Stortford's way, via another Coleman penalty after 14 minutes, when a driving maul was stopped illegally. Dorking again counter-attacked very well some 6 minutes later, when Stortford failed to deal with a chip kick and some slick passing brought another try, followed this time by an excellent touchline conversion to take the score to 32-14. Freeston was yellow-carded for an infringement as the try was scored. To their credit, Stortford fought back again, but it took a great solo effort from substitute hooker, Declan Caulfield to finally cross the home line, switching the line of attack from behind a static breakdown on the 22 to force his way over under the posts after 25 minutes. Coleman converted to bring the gap down to within two scores. Stortford now launched a series of attacks and threatened to break through a number of times but became increasingly frantic as they were thwarted by a combinantion of own errors and strong Dorking tackling. The home side again showed their sharpness with ball in hand after 37 minutes, when they broke upfield and were awarded a penalty for offside and the resultant kick for goal took the gap back to 14 points. Stortford again showed resilience, launching another series of attacks, culminating in a try to Mark McCraith out wide from a good pass by substitute wing, Nick Harris, stepping inside to support some good interpassing by the forwards. Coleman's conversion attempt went narrowly wide. The visitors again forced their way back onto the attack and all but scored another try, but could not finish off the move in the face of more determined Dorking tackling. The game ended with yet another sweeping Dorking move as they counter-attacked from their own 22 to sweep the length of the field for another unconverted try to take the final score to 40-26.