Ruthless Away Victory in Soaking Conditions
Faversham achieved their 1st win of the season, in a battling performance - against the opposition and the conditions.
A strong Faversham side overcame determined opposition from Dartford Valley on Saturday to get their league season on track in a game hindered for both sides by the torrential downpour.
With Faversham fielding what many of the squad felt was one of the best they had been involved in for some time, the team headed to Dartford confident of getting the 1st win of the season. However it soon became clear on arrival that any hopes of free flowing running rugby may have to be tempered as the heavens opened and drenched players and supporters alike.
In the early minutes of the match it was clear that the conditions were causing difficulty for both sides with multiple handling errors, due to the slippery ball hampering both teams trying to establish control. Gradually however, the Faversham forwards began to establish some dominance with strong drives, short passing and assured control from Ollie Jaynes at fly half.
As the pressure increased on the home side, they looked to gain territory by kicking any turnover ball gained for touch. Unfortunately for Dartford, Freddie Iron was in imperious from at the front of the line out, stealing the opposition throw over and over again, and Matt Suter and Nick Kingdon also tidying up any throws that did manage to get beyond the front jumpers. With this exit option failing and Faversham pressurising in the scrums, the momentum was building and chances began to open up for Faversham. A 40 metre break by Ben Gray was just about halted by the last defender, and missed overlaps went begging a couple of times before Faversham worked the ball from one side of the pitch to the other and then back again to create the space for Dan Hodges to run in for the opening try of the game, which was duly converted.
Shortly after Faversham repeated a similar pattern, and with quick hands from Ollie Jaynes, Hodges and Grant Potts allowing Dan Hall to run in for an uncoverted try.
The rest of the half passed with no score as both teams again were hampered by conditions and the lack of grip on the ball.
Coming out in the 2nd half, Dartford Valley were clearly determined not to just give up without a fight. In the early stages they were the side who cranked up the pressure and aided by a number of penalties, were able to establish a period of territorial dominance. The repeated penalties finally told about 15 mins into the half when first captain Rhys Mcdermott and then flanker Kyle Fiddler were both yellow carded in quick succession. With this taking place only metres from Faversham's line a score seemed inevitable but a combination of dogged aggresive defence by the 13 remaining Faversham players and the home side twice failing to utilise their prop being in space off quick taps, meant Faversham held out and began to inch their way down the pitch.
A penalty kick to touch handed Faversham a line out near half way, from which they set up a driving maul, and having readjusted after initially being pushed back, the forwards set off down the pitch with a drive at near running pace, which the home team were only able to stop deep in their 22. A scrum quickly followed, from which the backs combined well with Simon Jaynes running a great line to draw defenders, and Ollie Jaynes finding Dan Hodges hitting another angle to weave his way past 3 defenders and score his 2nd try of the match.
Having swept downfield to score in such a short period and with only 13 players against 15, the confidence and belief clearly rose in the players, only buoyed further as McDermott and Fiddler returned to the action, and seemed to ebb away at an equal rate from the home side.
A few moment s later Faversham turned the ball over and Matt Suter made a great break up the centre of the pitch gaining 30 metres before a superb off load to Billy Egleton in support. Egleton almost beat the last man before just being held back and a following drive from Simon Jaynes was just stopped in the corner. However Faversham were not to be stopped and a few phases later Egleton broke through to score the bonus point try.
In the last moments of the match Ollie Jaynes kicked deep to pressurise the defence and was surprised when the bounce of the ball and the wet conditions allowed him to collect the ball regained just short of the line by Dan Hall and touch down for the 5th try.
Despite the conditions this was a strong performance from Faversham with strong displays across the team. There are still areas for improvement, but there is clear potential for the team to have a successful season and given better conditions could really threaten to produce a big performance.