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1st XV - Match centre

Sat 10 Mar 15:00 - London & SE Division - London & SE Premier Full time

Dorking 17, Hertford 19

YOU can’t fault Hertford for their determination and willingness to throw caution to the wind as they risked everything in the closing stages of this nerve jangling battle to claim a bonus point.

YOU can’t fault Hertford for their determination and willingness to throw caution to the wind as they risked everything in the closing stages of this nerve jangling battle to claim a bonus point.

Leading by just two points with little more than five minutes to go, Hertford won a kickable penalty on the 22m line right in front of the posts.
It would have at least given them a bit more of a buffer against a resilient Dorking outfit who been threatening to overturn the lead with a sustained period of pressure which had seen them miss a difficult penalty kick of their own.

But instead of opting to go for goal, the Hoe Lane side went for broke and Sean Taylor kicked to the corner.

Dorking -v- Hertford
69 photos

Hertford messed up at the lineout and despite re-gathering the ball, Dorking forced a penalty in the next play and the momentum was lost.
This resulted in a squeaky-bum finale, with Hertford defending as if their lives depended on it, putting in some ferocious tackles to repel phase after phase from the hosts who were edging ever closer to the opposition 22.

Looking for space on the right deep into added time a Dorking player was bundled into touch and the referee blew the final whistle.

Hertford head coach Kanwaijit Bsar admitted that late play was a gamble that could have misfired badly, but was proud of the way his players rose to the challenge.
“We knew how they were going to defend, so we focused a lot on that in the build-up during the week to pile our numbers in and get over the gain line and penetrate.
“We did that very well at times but you have to remember these guys beat Guernsey and their home form is a very good.
“In the second half we had to defend for 15 or 20 minutes at the start and it could have gone either way.
“They got a penalty and missed it.
“I love the ambition of the boys – me and Greggsy (assistant coach Richard Gregg) wanted four tries – yes we could have lost because of that decision [to kick for touch instead of going for three points].
“I’m proud that we did go for it. We told skipper Josh Corcoran from the touchline I’d rather we went for touch and go for the try.
“If we had won the ball at that lineout rather than fumbled it a bit we would have maybe got it [a try].
“It’s small margins, but it has worked out okay because we won the game.”

While keeping the spectators biting their finger nails, this match was far from a classic, with a high penalty county from both sides and plenty of errors.
However, with the stakes still so high for Hertford, it made for compelling viewing.
Hertford opened the scoring in the eighth minute when hooker Chris Joyce intercepted a pass in midfield and off loaded to skipper Josh Corcoran, who made a dynamic burst deep into Dorking territory.
Quick hands saw the ball go to second row Will Goodman, and he made more yards before finding full back Sean Taylor, who passed to Jack Mitchell to go over in the corner.
Taylor missed a difficult touchline conversion.

Dorking’s response was swift and following a strong shove from a lineout close to Hertford’s five metre line, Rory Mitchell touched down. The extras were added and it was 7-5 to the hosts.
Hertford wing Ben Creasey picked up a nasty-looking calf injury in the 16th minute and was replaced by Ben Lloyd, himself returning from injury.
The visitors were then dealt a second blow with the departure of Chris Joannou following an accidental collision with Dorking’s James Arbury.
Both suffered concussion and there was a lengthy injury break while they were treated – thankfully the duo left the field without the help of a stretcher.
The towering Jonathan Kpoku entered the fray to make his Hertford first team debut, and was to play a significant part in his side’s victory.
Matt Noble split the posts with a penalty to extend Dorking’s advantage to 10-5 in the 24th minute, but Hertford closed the half playing some of their best rugby.
With scrum half Michael Sargent spreading the ball well to both flanks and Rory Seymour passing intelligently, some great hands led to Hertford’s second try.
Mitchell went wide left and swift interplay saw Torran MacDougall collect and go over close to the posts for a fine try, converted by Taylor.
Hertford’s slender 12-10 advantage at half-time looked like it wouldn’t last for long after the break, with Dorking camped close to the red zone following the re-start, stringing together phase after promising phase.
The visitors held out, but Dorking full back Matt Noble continued to negate any territorial gains from Hertford with excellent clearing kicks to touch.
One of these saw Dorking once again close in on Hertford’s 5m line on the hour mark and more pick and go’s saw a couple of penalties in quick succession conceded by the visitors.
With Dorking’s scrum shoving ever closer to the try line, a third infringement, with Sargent illegally putting his hand in the rolling maul, saw the referee rightly award a penalty try.
Dorking were 17-12 ahead, but Hertford weren’t done yet, and shortly after the re-start another incisive run from Goodman, followed by more ground gained by MacDougall in the middle saw Kpoku find space around a ruck and finish off close to the posts.
Taylor’s conversion was successful and Hertford were back ahead at 19-17, a lead they hung on to the finish thanks to wonderful back-to-the wall defending.
Kpoku said: “I felt like from the start the players came out of the changing room and said they were going to go for it and throw the kitchen sink at them.
“That’s what we did, and the final scoreline reflects that – we dug deep right to the last minute.
“It was a brilliant effort from the boys.”
MacDougall said: “It was frustrating not to get the bonus point but we said at the end of the game to come to Dorking away and get four points we’d have settled for that at the start of the season.
“They don’t often lose at home. We were desperate for five points but not going to be unhappy with four.”
Gregg said: “The decision to kick wasn’t the wrong one it’s just maybe the execution wasn’t as good as we’d hoped.
“The finale we didn’t bottle it and wanted to see what the players could do.
“We wanted to chase a bonus point.

Videos and photos

Dorking -v- Hertford
69 photos
Dorking -v- Hertford

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League table

# Team Pl Pts
1. Barnes 26 111
2. Guernsey 26 110
3. Tring 26 105
4. Hertford 26 105
5. Tunbridge Wells 26 77
6. Westcliff 26 75
7. Shelford 26 59

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