Good start to the New Year for Darts
Darts started the New Year with a trip to Pulborough
Darts started the New Year with a trip to Pulborough hoping to continue the form shown in the first half of the season. The prolonged break gave both sides some nerves and the match started pretty evenly although Darts should have scored in the opening minutes but good defence kept them out. Pulborough then put some phases together and moved the ball upfield with some good forward play but when they moved then ball wide sharp thinking by Joe Scott
saw him intercept and race 70 yards to score under the posts. Jonny converted. 0-7. Following this Darts again showed that extra bit of sharpness around the ball and it was skipper Si Briggs who turned the ball over and quick hands moved the ball out to Liam Brencher
who beat 3 players using pace strength and footwork to score darts second try. Jonny again converted. Darts were now getting into their stride but could may be accused of overdoing things in their efforts to keep the ball live and play at a high tempo. Eventually it was a late tackle on Jonny which produced a penalty which was quickly taken by Mike Briggs
who passed to Luke Golding
who sold a dummy and score the third try which was again converted by Jonny. The forwards were doing well in the lineout and the scrum where even though they were up against a bigger side were very solid. The front row of Louis, Sam and Alex were strong in the tight but also gave the visitors the equivalent of three additional back rowers which combined with Matt Randall and Joe Wheeler
meant there was no space for the home side to play. Mike Briggs
was combining well in the centre with his brother Si , who looks comfortable playing there. Jonny was getting a lot off good ball from Danny Taylor
and all the backs were getting their hands on the ball. A great lineout saw the ball moved to the right and it was set up in midfield. A quick recycle saw the home defence stretched on the left hand side and it was Smiler Chandler who after selling a dummy went over for darts bonus point try. This left the half time score at 0-26.
The second half started with Darts on the offensive again putting on great pressure on the home team but great resilience and defensive organisation kept the visitors at bay but the way in which darts kept control of the ball was impressive and eventually the space appeared and weight of numbers saw Joe Scott
go over for his second try. Jonny converted. 0-33. Pulborough continued to try and get back into the game and had another period of pressure keeping good control of the ball but the relentless tackling from Darts forced a turnover putting the home side under pressure again. Jonny then picked up a clearing kick ran through the defence before giving the ball to Ollie who raced though 2-3 defenders before popping to Joe Wheeler
who scored under the posts. Jonny again converted. 0-40. We were now seeing some great breaks from our bigger forwards and it was Kenny Lee
. Liam Bowmer
and Luke Golding
who were making holes ion the home defence. From one of Kenny's breaks saw a great tackle from Pulborough but good recycling which gave Louis Chapman
his try. 0-45. Pulborough then put in a supreme effort to try and get on the score board and spent 10 minutes inside the Darts 22 stretching the defence both ways and it was credit to the home side that darts had to bring out some of their best defending of the season to keep them out. Unfortunately for Darts Jake Taylor
, who had been performing really well at fullback had to leave the field with a badly damaged knee. Billy Wilson
on at hooker was contributing well impressing in his new position and it was from one of his runs that allowed Bunter to take the ball on despite the attention of a number of defenders and when the ball was moved wide it was an inside pass to Liam Brencher
who again used his skills to go over for a try which converted by Jonny for a final score of 0-52.
A good performance which shook away a lot the festive cobwebs and hopefully put the team in good focus for the extremely tough match next week away at Charlton Park.
All players put in a good performance but Head Coach Bob Hussey gave the man of the match award to Mike Briggs
who was always probing, making ground and putting in his normal huge number of tackles.