Dartfordians 37 Beccehamians 12
14th April 2012 Kent 1 League match
Darts played their final home league match of the season against local rivals Beccehamians with conditions perfect for rugby. Darts had to win this match with a bonus point to have any chance for 2nd place and hope that Vigo slip up in one of their final two matches. The game started brightly with Darts putting the visitors under pressure but they knew it was going to be a tough match with many different faces playing for the opposition. The battle up front was very even with Becs forwards stifling the darts pack and not allowing them to get any rhythm to release the backs. It was a dour struggle up front and it was difficult for the referee with both sides guilty of killing the ball and slowing things down. Darts did get the first score when Tony Mead converted a penalty in front of the posts. Becs had some possession and forced the error from darts and were unlucky not to level things up when their penalty kick hit the post. Darts were slightly the better side and were getting more ball than the visitors but couldn’t make any meaningful ground as the Becs defence kept them at bay. After a previous box kick had come to nothing Scrum Half Danny Taylor spotted nobody at home in the right hand corner and put a delightful chip into the space. tom peryer chased the ball hard with his opposite number but the bounce was favourable for Darts and Tom went over for the first try of the match which was converted by Tony Mead. The scrums were a bit messy and kept wheeling which stopped Darts from launching attacks and although they were awarded a string of penalties try scoring opportunities were limited. After a messy period of play Dave Scott and the Becs No 8 were both sin binned for a bit of handbagging which did calm the match down a bit. Darts eventually increased their lead with another Tony Mead penalty and got to half time with a 13 point lead.
Playing up the hill Darts had to ensure they stayed disciplined and keep control of the ball and with a bit of fatigue setting in for the visitors space started to open up. Darts were quicker around the park and the excellent Alex Vousden and Joe Wheeler in the back row always ensured that Darts had a good supply of ball. Darts brought on Andy Watkins for his first appearance in the team at Tight head and he was very unfortunate to get sin binned for a team offence but on his return he showed his ability both in the tight and loose play.Eventually the pressure began to tell for Becs and after some exciting play with forwards and backs involved Will Barker scored what is probably the try of the season. Darts handling was exceptional and with Joe Bowmer organising the backs the game looked over in terms of the result and it was now only a matter of if Darts could get the four tries and a bonus point. John Colmer came on in the centre with skipper Dan Phillips moving to Full Back and almost immediately he received the ball on the 10 metre line and crashed through numerous tackles to score under the post. Tony Mead again converted. Darts were now really in the ascendancy and were launching many attacks through their dangerous backs who were getting great ball from the forwards. Gaps were beginning to appear and following a fine run by Tony Mead Darts secured the bonus point when he fed tom peryer to score under the posts and then converted the try. To be fair to Becs they kept on fighting but with many new players in the side they didn’t have the same cohesion as Darts but eventually scored a well deserved try in the corner. Darts were not finished and from a long clearance kick from Becs Skipper Phillips took a great catch and launched another attack beating a couple of men before offloading to the forwards who took the ball up field and after a number of phases the ball was released to Joe Bowmer whose silky run set up a second try for Will Barker who has excelled in the team despite not having yet played in his preferred position. Darts also went over the line again on a couple more occasions but both times excellent tries were denied to Peryer and Phillips when a foot just hit the touchline. Becs however had the last word when their excellent full back raced away and scored under the posts to bring the score to 37 -12.
After a somewhat dull 1st half the match sprung into life in the second half and Darts did all they could to win and secure the bonus point win and although Vigo won their match at Whitstable there is one match to play and a small chance is still open for a play off place. The team showed some fantastic flair and determination during the match highlighted by great performances from Vousden, Joe Bowmer and Will Barker and man of the match Joe Wheeler who was non stop in the tackle and always free to provide a pass for the backs to take advantage of.
Next week Darts travel to Shoots for their last League match of the season.