Darts travelled to Roehampton to play their first ever fixture against London Cornish
Darts travelled to Roehampton to play their first ever fixture against London Cornish and the home side started well going through a number of phases before catching Darts offside. A driving maul from the subsequent lineout set up the home backs who duely scored to take the lead. 5-0. Darts got straight back into the match following a fabulous take from Lewis Potter and then proceeded to take the ball on through both the forwards and backs before skipper Si Briggs moving from flanker to centre this week cut a great line to score under the posts. Mike Briggs converted. 5-7. Darts scrum has been strong this year and although they lost a heal against the head they put pressure on and turned over the ball and moved deep into the opposition half. It was obvious that both teams wanted this match and it was now the turn of the home side to put on great pressure and it was only great defence that kept them out. Another good turnover saw the ball moved the Si Briggs who fed Liam Brencher who rav=ced into the Cornish half before passing inside to Jo Wheeler. Cornish were struggling to get back and when the ball was then popped inside to Ollie Edwards he just had to ru 20 metres to score the second try . Mike converted again to take the score to 5-14. There was a sustained period of pressure from Cornish who were camped on the Darts 5 metre line but it was mainly through the forwards and the Darts defenders were up to the task. Darts again pushed play into the home half and a nice chip from Scotchy was taken by Ashley Hadler who the passed to Kieran Ryan running down the right hand touchline , Kieran drew the defender before passing inside to Ollie who scored his second try to extend the lead to 5-19. Darts now seemed quite comfortable and despite Cornish having possesion Darts had compressed play into the 10 metre area and there seemed no danger when the fly half received the ball and looked like he was being forced down a blind alley. The pressure forced him to kick which wasn't his best effort but somehow the ball found itself back in his arms and he used his pace to go over. 10-19. The Darts scrum was working well now and the effort from the pack was rewarded with a penalty which was converted by Mike. 10-22.
Darts started the second half well with Alex Vousden and then Liam Brencher going on good runs deep into the Cornish half and again it was this pressure which forced the home side to concede another penalty. Another penalty from Mike to take the score to 10-25. At this stage it looked like there was only going to be one winner as Darts looked in complete control of their game. It was a terrific game going from end to end but there didn't seem rto be any danger to the Darts line and the visitors seemed as though they were going to get the next score. At this level nothing can be taken for granted and when Darts conceded a penalty they were pushed back into their own half and following some great driving by Cornish the ball found their backs and their first missed tackles saw them concede a try which was converted, 17-25. Darts didn't seem unduely worried and continued to play with confidence taking the ball on in the forwards and the backs. When they created some space and an overlap out wide Darts tried to get the ball into space but the long pass was importantly well read by the Cornish winger who intercepted and raced under the posts from 40 metres. 24-25. Now it was a nervy time for the visitors but they kept their belief and tried to pin Cornish back in their half but when the home side broke out from their 22 Tom Duggan was stretching to make a covering tackle and crept high and was unluckily given a red card. Cornish now saw the opportunity to snatch the game and they put together some great play which resulted in them driving over the line in the corner to take the lead. 29-25. It was all or nothing now for Darts and another great take from the kick off by Lewis Potter saw them move into the 22 and they did all they could to take the match but the Cornish defence held strong to take the 5 points with an important win.
A good performance by the team who probably had the majority of the game but whose game management at this level probably let them down when they could have closed the game out and great character from Cornish which saw them home. The margins in London 1 are very small and it was a day when whichever team lost it would have been disappointing Good performances by both Lewis Potter and Luke Golding