A good away win at Deal & Betteshanger for the U18 girls
Darts made the long journey
Darts made the long journey to Deal with the weather unexpectedly pleasant and perfect for rugby. Against an opposition complimented by a number of Ashford players Darts knew they had to be on form and to expect a far harder encounter than earlier in the season when the Deal girls were playing their first match. Straight away it was obvious this was going to be a great match with both teams going hammer and tong against each other with no quarter given by either team. It was taking a little time to get the journey out of their system and the visitors had to work really hard around the park especially in the loose where the home team were initially just a little sharper. Eventually Darts got into their stride and used the pick and go really well with Lola and Lara always in the thick of things. Ellie was organising the pods well and Emily and Karis were taking the ball on strongly and the home team were finding it hard to control them. Unfortunately for Darts Phoebe had to leave the field with concussion following a bone crunching tackle which resulted in an accidental clash of heads. With the front row of Alys,in only her second match , Poppy back now from injury and Rebecca the scrum was solid and this was a good provider of ball which was moved neatly out to the backs. The first score came from an number of good phases of play which was equally split between forwards drives and expansive back play. The ball was eventually moved wide to the left where Faith scored a great try using her pace, fast feet and strength to move past a number of defenders. 0-5. This looked like the start for Darts however D & B had other ideas and came back at the visitors and went through a number of good phases themselves and despite strong tackling from Darts eventually had too many numbers and scored in the corner. 5-5. Both teams continued to play good rugby but both defences were in good form. Darts had Anna and Lillie who put in great tackles and Lizzie who is always dangerous anywhere on the field was well marshalled by the home team. Darts now looked like they had the upper hand and were moving the ball wide at every opportunity and when they had moved up towards half way Robyn received the ball at fly half and a fantastically timed pass gave Darts an overlap which Lara took adavantage of by using a great change of pace to outrun the defence to score an excellent second try. 5-10. Darts continued on the attack and Emily and Karis continued to make ground and disrupt the home defensive line and it was not a surprise when Lizzie took the ball and her trademark fashion outstripped everyone to score a third try for the team. 5-15. Alys who had to leave the field for a time came back on and was excellent in the loose as well as using her power to make ground and all of the backs were looking dangerous with Anna, Lizzie and Lillie all getting good ball from Robyn who was leading the line well but it was the dangerous Faith who received the final pass which allowed to go over for her second try. 5-20.
The second half started and Megan who had sportingly played the first half for the home side came back to the team swapping with Kent player Lara and immediately was in the thick of it. The second half was a far closer affair with much of the match being played between the 22's as both sides were defending with great skill and courage. As both teams tired it was getting harder for the support players to keep in touch with the ball carriers and the offloading that was a feature of Darts play in the first half wasn't quite there in the second. Great runs by Lola and Emily were stopped when we didn't enough players in support. Darts still used their pods well and it seemed that Poppy was everywhere and used a pass to create space rather than take the ball on herself. Anna and Lillie continued to defend well and tried their hardest to make ground with the ball in hand but the home tackling was terrific. Again injury hit Darts when Megan fell badly and damaged her knee and hip and had to leave the field. Lizzie and Faith continued to look really dangerous in space and although the match continued at a high level there were no further tries in the match.
After the match D&B gave their player of the match to Megan who received a well deserved round of applause from players from both sides. The coaches decided that the Faith and Emily would both be given the award for excellent performances throughout the match.