Perfect first half of the season with tough win
Darts ended the first half
Darts ended the first half of the season with a tough win win against a good spirited team who were great value to the game right to the final whistle. It was a great start for Darts who pressured the home side's 22 and looked strong in both scrum and lineout forcing three quick penalties and and following the lineout drive it was Sam Cooksley
who put the ball down for the opening try. 0-5. There was another penalty for Darts when they overpowered the Alleynians scrum and again the visitors kicked for touch. Another great drive and a couple of rucks then saw Kenny Lee
pick the ball and go straight through the ruck and score the second try. 0-10. Darts were looking like league leaders but over complicated their exit strategy which allowed Alleynians to put their own period of pressure and force a penalty. A great drive from the lineout saw them go over for their first try. 5-10. Darts were unconcerned and they continued to play some great rugby but the home defence was well organised and determined and managed to keep the visitors at bay. With Darts having superiority in the set piece Alleynians were giving away too many penalties and a quickly taken one was taken on into space and it was Jake Taylor
who made a great break before giving a long pass to Liam Brencher
who went past three players to score . 5-15. Brench was looking good and the home winger had to be on top form to keep him out. The pressure was relentless from Darts and they were camped in the 22 forcing penalties and scrum after scrum with the referee eventually losing patience and awarding a penalty try as Luke Golding
was just about to score. 5-22. This still didn't stop the home side from coming back at the league leaders and they put together their best period of play when going through many phases constantly moving the ball left and right before creating the space for them to score a really good try. 10-22.
The second half started with Darts again on the front foot again forcing Alleynians to concede penalties and when in front of the posts Mike Briggs
stepped up to convert. 10-25. It was also time for the referee to penalise them further for the penalty count by sin binning the Alleynian flanker. Despite being a man down the home side stepped up their game and their ability to keep the ball in contact kept Darts on the back foot. For the entire period of the yellow card the home side pushed forward and their wide passing stretched the Darts defence and in spite of their normal strong and organised defence Darts were finally opened up and conceded a score in front of the posts to take the score to 17-25. Darts again had to raise their game and they did so and pushed play deep into the opposition 22 and camped their for 15 minutes. Charge after charge towards the line were stopped by the home team who now had a real target in front of them and their belief was clear to see. Darts should have killed the game off when after three successive scrums 5 metres out were stopped inches from the line , a couple illegally, and with scrums retaken it looked as though this was rewarded but unfortunately the ball was knocked on over the line. This again gave Alleynians confidence and they came back again at Darts pushing towards the line but the team spirit of Darts to maintain their unbeaten record was terrific and in the end only conceded a penalty which gave the home team a deserved losing bonus point.
In bitterly cold weather it was a really good match with both sides giving everything but in the end Darts were probably the side who deserved to take the win against a team who will surely have better results as the season continues.
Another super show from skipper Si Briggs whose work rate and tackling is second to none and this won him Man of the Match.