Another good performance from Darts girls
Darts travelled to Medway
Darts travelled to Medway to take part in the Kent Cup competition on a freezing cold but dry day. We started by playing the hosts Medway who we knew were strong in the forwards and in the first few minutes they showed good control of the ball taking the ball on through their big players. Darts had a spell where they gave away 4 consecutive penalties and when Medway played the ball quickly Darts had to be at their best defensively to keep the opposition at bay. Eventually weight of numbers told and Medway scored the opening try. From the kick off darts went straight back and started putting on great pressure with Pelumi and Karis taking the ball on strongly, skipper Lola was also doing some great work in thee loose with her fellow back rower Lara. It was now Medway's turn to concede penalties as Darts turned the screw and we saw all the forwards take the ball on with Megan,Rebecca, Pip and Emily all working hard for the team. When they moved the ball top the backs Ellie and Robyn linked well and Lizzie and Emily in the centre always looked dangerous. It was difficult for all players in the cold and therefore the wingers Anna and Evie weren't getting much ball but both looked solid in defence as did the ever improving Lillie at full back. It was now all Darts who were bashing away at thee Medway try line and it was only infringements that stopped a score. It looked like Emily had gone over and then when there was a clear scoring chance which was stopped illegally the ref had no choice but to award a penalty try and therefore the match. After a slow start it was a deserved win for the team.
Our second match was against Thanet who had to combine with Sevenoaks and 4 of our girls. Thanks to Poppy, Rebecca, Lizzie G and Evie ffor playing for the opposition. With changes to the team we had Lola and Lara move to the front row Jess in the second row and Ines coming into the back row, in the backs we had Melissa and Cecilia come into the team. The game started really well as the team got onto the front foot early on. Robyn looked comfortable as fly half alternating between making breaks and linking with the back line. We still had Karis and Emily as our ball carriers and Ines showed her qualities in attack and defence. The opposition were defending well against Lizzie but couldn't find an answer to Emily D who made a great break from halfway slicing through the defence before getting tackled well just short of the line. Great support from Ellie saw her take the offload to go over from a couple of yards. Thanet tried to get back at darts but good defence from all over the team kept them out and Darts again went on the attack. It was Emily D again who made a brilliant break to outdo the defence and score a great solo effort. The team were looking very solid and when the ball was kicked through the ball went straight to Lizzie who for the first time had space and ran 70 yards through numerous defenders to score the final try.
Our final group match was against Becs/Alleynians and we knew this would be a tough match having encountered most of them in early December. They were a well organised and talented team well suited to a short match and were in their stride from the kick off being very competitive and strong in the loose managing to turn over a number of balls from Darts. We competed really strongly but the opposition were excellent with their offloading and support play and we didn't have the time to get into the match. Both of the tries they scored were of the highest quality with the second being the complete team try. All of our girls kept going to the end and never gave up and may have been able to get something out of a longer match but the opposition were well deserved winners.
We now had to play the other group's winners Aylesford and again we were expecting a tough match. Under the floodlights we started very well and for the first couple of minutes it was nip and tuck. We managed to turn the ball over on our 22 and when it was moved wide Anna had the ball and beat her opposite number and then raced 70 yards to score unopposed to give Darts the lead. Aylesford went on the attack immediately and put some good work together but the Darts defence held firm until eventually a big break by their big number 8 got them behind our defence to draw level. Although the match was now being played in our half we looked relatively comfortable and time was running out. We had a scrum on our 10 metre line and won the ball but Aylesford put on the pressure and although they illegally drove us back 4-5 metres play went on and from that point we never recovered and they scored with the last play of the match to go into the final and qualify for the Area finals.