After the disappointment of last week's match this was an important match for Darts against a team in a similar position in the league. Chobham started really well keeping good control of the ball and going through their phase play. The visitors were a big side and they kept their big forwards out wide to try and bash through the Darts back line but as we have come to expect from this team is great defence . It seemed like an age with Darts not getting their hands on the ball but although with a lot of possession play was mostly between the Darts 22 and 10 metre lines. Eventually the pressure told when Darts were caught offside and Chobham converted the penalty in front of the posts. 0-3. When Darts eventually got their hands on the ball and moved into the opposition 22 and were awarded their own penalty. The home side went for the corner but unfortunately the lineout was lost and Chobham were able to clear their lines. Further pressure was absorbed and when a long clearing kick was taken well by Kieran Ryan he counterattacked and moved the ball the Ashly Hadler who attacked down the middle of the field at pace. His great run allowed him to release Ollie Edward who made a great break himself before putting Liam Brencher away and he beat the last line of defence and went in under the posts. Jonny Converted. 7-3. Darts were now in the swing of the game and went stright back on the attack forcing a penalty which Jonny converted to take the score to 10-3. The restart didn't go the required 10 metres and from the scrum Darts went on the attack with Luke Golding and Mike Briggs making ground prior to putting Skipper Si Briggs into a gap and then score under the posts. Jonny again converted. 17-3. This was a good period for Darts with everyone playing their part firstly in denying Chobham any space to work and then attacking with pace and power. Jonny missed a long penalty but Darts kept up the pressure and this forced a no arms tackle which resulted in a yellow card for the visitors. The extra man advantage allowed darts to keep up the pressure and they took the ball on in the forwards to great effect and after some great ball retention close to the line Louis Chapman went over for the third try which was again converted by Jonny. 24-3. This was the score at halftime.
The second half played against the wind and the restart indicated how strong it was by not going 10 but apart from this Darts started the half really strongly and took the game back at the visitors and were camped inside the 22 but great defence from the visitors kept what looked like another score. Darts were in control but Chobham were not playing badly and always looked like they could breakaway but it was the speed and ferocity from all Darts players in attack and defence that was the key. Darts conceded a couple of penalties which put Chobham on the front foot and gave them hope they could get back into the match. Their lineout was excellent and they started using the driving maul to great effect but the defence held out well and the Darts lineout which started shakily was performing well and that along with some powerful close drives from the forwards forced a penalty which Jonny slotted over. 27-3. Darts kept up their line speed but unfortunately were overenthusiastic and were penalised for offside. Chobham went for the lineout and another good driving maul was this time successful and they scored under the posts to close the gap to 27-10. Darts pressured Chobham inside their 22 and were starting to look stronger in the scrum but when they were penalised Chobham took a quick tap chasing the game . A great tackle turned the ball over and Darts were quickly on the attack again and after some some smart interplay it was replacement Kenny Lee who raced over to take the score to 32-10 and make the match seem safe. Darts didn't collect the kick off and immediately the visitors were on the attack. Their strong runners wer trying to make ground with strong runs but the defence held strong and Joe Wheeler, Tom Duggan and Si Briggs were at the heart of everything and the pressure forced another turnover and allowed the ball to be cleared to halfway. Chobham went on the attack again with nothing to lose but a dropped ball was pounced on by Ashley Hadler who raced 45 metres to score Darts fifth try. 37-10. As Chobham tried to finish the match on a high note Darts had Paddy Briggs yellow carded and the visitors were pounding the Darts line. Another driving maul pushed Darts way back into their 22 and after a number of close drives they went over for the final try of the match. 37-17
A great result which showed yet again the resilience and team spirit the team has. The defensive work was incredible with everyone working for each other and wwhen they had opportunities they attacked with great speed and skill. There were many good performances, Skipper Si Briggs led from the front, Luke Golding was incredibly imprssive as was Tom Duggan, Danny Taylor was excellent but all the backs worked really hard against big runners and showed great skill but Man of Match went to Joe Wheeler who throughout the match tackled players twice his size and was always a willing support runner.
The boys have a deserved rest week before their next outing at Hove.