Tough bonus point win against Dover
Dartfordians continue their unbeaten season
Dartfordians continue their unbeaten season after a bruising encounter against a Dover side who ran us close in November and had lost only once at home previously and were undefeated in their previous 5 games.
As the players arrived the weather turned for the worse with a heavy downpour of rain that stopped just before kickoff, so after the recent weather the pitch looked good if a little heavy in places. From the kick off both sides looked to make light of the damp and greasy conditions and showed an intent to play hard flowing rugby. After 5 minutes Dartfordians were able to apply pressure to the home side defence which was robust and solid. But a scrum was awarded on the 5 meter line and the pack sensed the opportunity and applied pressure driving the home forwards over their own line allowing Luke Golding
to touch down and with Jonny Regnier
adding the extra points the visitors found themselves with an earlier advantage. 0-7. What then followed was perhaps the predicable arm wrestle in the mid field as both sides looked to gain an advantage. The ball carrying was hard and the tackles even harder, a real rugby contest. It was during this period of play that the Dover prop was yellow carded and Dover kicked a penalty to reduce the deficit. 3-7. Shortly afterwards the home side showed how dangerous they could be with some good handling and offloading skills to score an unconverted try and tak a narrow lead 8-7. As so many times this season this young Dartfordians side showed that they are no easy pushovers and went straight back to work. After a period of pressure a lineout was won, the ball went along the line, and with still plenty to do, Liam Brencher
scored a fine try, which went unconverted but regained the lead for Darts. . 8-12. This was the half time score.
The second half started where the first finished, with both sides showing strong and physical defence. Then when an penalty opportunity was presented, and in such a tight game, Jonny Regnier
was asked to step up and kick the points which he duly did to extend the lead 8-15.
This was a strong period for the young Dartfordians side as they had possession and were testing the home defence. It was during a period of pressure that the ball was moved wide to Ashley Hadler
and again with plenty of work to do and the home defence closing in he touched down for an unconverted try. 8-20. This Dover side was playing London 1 South last season so this would be a strong test of what the visitors hope to being playing against each week next season. The game continued to be very physical, with neither side taking a backward step. Dover had a period of pressure on the Dartfordians line, and from a lineout the referee was not happy with the Dart's defensive work and awarded a penalty try, and yellow card to Liam Bowmer
. 15-20. For the next ten minutes Dartfordians would be required to once again show their desire to work hard for each other as Dover sensed this was their moment and threw everything at the maroon and gold defensive line. As previously this season the players were not found wanting and indeed towards the end of the yellow card period a penalty was awarded against the home side and Jonny Regnier
stepped up to kick the 3 points. 15-23. As previously the team that conceded came storming out of the blocks as Dover fought hard to regain a foot hold in the game and applied the pressure. For the first time in the game Dartfordians fell off were found wanting in defence, and a couple of missed tackles allowed a strong run to go unchecked for an unconverted, try. 20 -23.
Dover clearly sensed that with 10 minutes to go this was their time and threw everything at the visitors. During this period both sides showed why they have been the form sides in the league since Xmas, no quarter was asked and defiantly neither side gave an inch. With the clock running down and tensions running high on both side, Dartfordians launch one more attack on the Dover line. Several phases were taken on by the forwards, until finally the Dover defence left a Cooksley size gap which saw Sam, I need a 10 minute rest, Cooksley crash over from inches for the bonus point try, with Jonny Regnier
adding the 2 points the referee blew his whistle.
A tough physical away win 20-30.
Unfortunately Michael Young
having been earlier removed from the field due to a nasty head injury collapsed after the full time whistle and required an ambulance. A big thank you goes to our physio Sarah Williamson and the Dover physio who looked after Michael while waiting for the first response car and then ambulance. Michael spent the night in hospital but was awake this morning. We wish him a speedy recovery.
After such a full on encounter the coaches were happy with the application showed by the side. This squad of players have a desire to play rugby, but a squad spirit that means that when things get tough they stick together and work through it. The whole 18 players stood up today but the coaches thought man of the match should go to skipper Si Briggs
Next week we travel to Hove for the rearranged fixture. With the sides currently first and second in the league and with Hove needing a win to maintain pressure on Dartfordians and keep Charlton Park from stealing second place from them, it looks like another tough weekend.
The players appreciate the support given by those Dartforodians who made the journey to Dover. Looking up and seeing a friendly face on the touchline helps with the game gets tough.