For the third season running Dover’s first fixture was against local rivals Deal, but they could not repeat their two previous victories and slipped to a narrow 15–17 loss.
These local derbies have become hotly contested affairs and this one was no different with both sides giving their all in an exciting match.
Things started brightly for Dover as they made their way deep into the Deal half before fly half Harry Moore
calmly slotted over a drop goal attempt. This lead was short lived as Deal replied with three points courtesy of a penalty kick.
Both teams were playing aggressive rugby, but it was Dover next on the score sheet when captain George Smith
peeled off the back of a ruck and darted over in the corner.
Anxious not to let Dover build on their lead, Deal began to look more threatening and although helped by what looked like a knock-on, levelled the scores with a well taken try and then slotted the conversion to give them a narrow two point lead at half time.
The intensity did not drop after the break and any ground made by either side was hard earned. Slowly Dover seemed to be gaining the upper hand with the backs making a couple of threatening breaks over the gain line. Likewise the Dover forwards, who were being made to work extremely hard, also had Deal on the back foot on more than one occasion, before a lung bursting effort by Smith again, saw him score his brace of tries. This time Moore’s conversion was sweetly struck from out wide to put Dover five points ahead. Although Deal then seemed to increase their efforts, it looked as Dover would contain them with some superb defending not allowing Deal out of their own half. Eventually Dover were penalised and a long Deal clearance kick saw them deep in Dover territory where they won the lineout and scampered over for a try and conversion to take the lead. This time it was Dover who frantically upped the tempo but could not score anymore points to take the victory.
Both teams should be congratulated on highly competitive game of rugby, and although the losers today, Dover commitment was never less than 100%.
The Dover forwards played some great purposeful rugby and their lineout in particular looked solid giving Dover platforms to work from. The Dover back moves were producing defence splitting confusion in the Deal line and will only get better as the season continues. In particular today, Jordan Annekie showed some impressive attacking lines together with crunching defensive tackles.
Next week Dover can look forward to their first home game against Canterbury.
Team: Aarron Coleman
, Angus Killen, robin jenkins
, Joe Cooper
, Matt Sanders
, Keiran Phillips, George Pugh
, Matt Ribbens, George Smith
, kieran Hopper
, Jason Mallory
, Harry Moore
, Jordan Annakie
, Kieran Ryder
,Tom Elliott, Adam Penny
, Jack Muir, Joe Dennis Jordan Jackson
, Fraser Shields
, Tyler Walledge