Great win against tough opponents
This was a top of the table clash
This was a top of the table clash against a club against whom we have had many close encounters in recent seasons. Following last week's tough battle against Charlton Park we were expecting no less against Horsham who were also unbeaten so far this season. The match started at a fast pace which continued throughout the match and from the kick off Horsham turned over darts ball and immediately attacked in the wide channel but unfortunately knocked the ball on. It was a great first scrum against a bigger pack with both sides sides fielding 20 year old props on both sides of the scrum. A good kick from Jonny Regnier
pushed the home side back and then Kenny Lee
took a great steal at the lineout. Horsham then strayed offside and Jonny stepped up to give Darts an early lead. 0-3. Darts were causing problems in the scrum and took one against the head but good defence by Horsham kept the visitors out. Another penalty was given against Horsham but this narrowly missed. Darts were definitely in the ascendancy but then a high tackle saw the Horsham player sin binned and the unfortunate Matt Randall helped from the field with extremely wobbly legs. Darts put the pressure on against the 14 men and a succession of scrums should have resulted in a try but somehow Horsham held out. Darts had a number of great scoring chances but the forward pass seemed to be on the agenda which stopped one maybe two tries. Ollie Edwards
back from injury had another chance following a super break but again we were not quite efficient enough and this with a combination of great defence kept the score at 0-3. The first time Horsham really got into the Darts 22 they put together some good phases and were continuing to try and get the ball wide but this time it was the Darts defence who were doing a great job.However the pressure eventually told and a penalty was the only way put which was converted to level the scores. 3-3. Darts were quickly on the front foot again and their pressure allowed them to regain the lead with another Jonny penalty. This was the half time score and the big crowd had been given a great first half of rugby with some great technical play , wide running and huge hits all over the field.
The second half started with Darts on the attack straight away and they had a long period where they had Horsham pinned 5 metres from their own line but again it was some fabulous and committed defending which stopped the scoreboard from ticking over. Darts had some willing runners in the young props Steve Garrett
and Mike Young who were making good yardage and they were backed up by Sam Cooksley
, Kenny Lee
and Luke Golding
. Louis Chapman
came on along with Lewis Potter
who also made an impact but at this point in the match flankers Joe Wheeler
and skipper Si Briggs were earning their corn with some brilliant tackling. Both sets of backs were performing well but the space for both teams was scarce and the workrate fantastic in defence. A great clearing kick form the home team finally relieved the pressure and although Darts did cleared their lines a great move by the Horsham backs finally caught the Darts defence short and they scored a superb try to take the lead with the conversion. 10-6. This was now a time for Darts to show how far they had come from and react to the adversity of controlling the set piece and having more territory and possession but find themselves behind. The match now entered a phase where play was between the 10 metre lines with both sides hitting hard and working relentlessly to get control of the ball. It was going to be a mistake or an incredible piece of play to find the winner and it turned out to be a small mistake from Horsham which was pounced upon by Darts. Luke Golding
attacked the ruck and managed to kick the loose ball on and he and Jonny chased hard and when Jonny finally got a toe to the ball he then picked it up and went over to score the try and convert. 10-13. The match was far from over and neither side gave an inch but it was an experienced end to the match when Darts just kept the ball close going through the phases keeping control of the ball until the final whistle went.
A tremendous match which kept the supporters biting their nails until the end. Overall it was probably a deserved win for the visitors who won the battle in both the scrum and lineout not allowing the home team enough ball and matching them in defence. Darts are pleased to be having a rest week due too getting a bye in the cup following two very bruising matches with confidence boosted by retaining their unbeaten start against extremely tough opponents. Horsham will definitely be in the mix at the end of the season with a good balance of backs and forwards who combine well but most of all they defend terrifically individually and as team.