The Newham Dockers U14s showed incredible determination and spirit to secure their second league win of the season, after defeating Croydon Hurricanes in a superb game played at the home of Barking & Dagenham Bulldogs.
After a run of three weeks without a game, the Dockers could have been forgiven for starting slowly but confounded expectation and forced Croydon into making an error from the kick-off and won the ball back. After a number of strong runs, the ball was passed to Owen Flindall who crossed the whitewash to open the scoring with an unconverted try.
The Dockers then continued their good start by working their way down the field through good runs by gedi degesys
and Tomas Seniut
, before Bradley Rackham crashed over out wide for another unconverted try which put the Newham side 8-0 up.
This kicked the Hurricanes into action, as they started to show why they are near the top of the table and posted a quick-fire treble of converted tries which showed their pace and skill, and left the Dockers in no doubt that they were in a tough game at 18-8 to Croydon.
As half-time approached, both sides showed some strong defence which resulted in handling errors for both Newham and Croydon. However, it was the Dockers who were able to capitalize on this when a loose ball was picked up by Dovidas Jankauskas who ran 60 yards before being hauled down close to the Croydon line. This set up a great attacking position and Owen Flindall was able to squeeze over for his second try to bring the Dockers right back into the game after converting it to leave the score 18-14 to Croydon at half-time.
The second half started in ideal fashion for the Newham side as they received the ball from the kick-off and worked their way up field before hooker Donatas Vainorius
saw a gap in the Croydon defence and put Jankauskas through to score an unconverted try out wide, bringing the game to 18-18.
Newham then lost a bit of composure and conceded a couple of silly penalties for offside, which allowed Croydon to build pressure on the line and despite valiant efforts from alfie sillitoe
and Joseph Kraw, the Hurricanes notched up two back to back tries and one conversion to put themselves in the driving seat with a 28-18 lead.
A booming Newham kick-off then forced Croydon into a goal line drop out, which didn’t travel the necessary ten metres and allowed the Dockers a great attacking opportunity from which Michael Laskov used his power to steam over the line unchallenged and close the gap to 28-24.
Some sloppy Newham defence then allowed the Hurricanes to use their greater rugby league experience to score two more tries in quick succession, leaving the Dockers adrift by 36-24 with around 8 minutes left to play.
With the wind at their backs and some determined running, the Dockers worked the ball up field and were rewarded when prop tyron lukun
took the ball to the line before delivering a perfectly timed pass for centre Seb Solano to cross for his first try for the club, which was converted to leave the score at 36-30.
A dramatic final few minutes were to follow, with both sides hoping to secure the win in what had been an enthralling contest. It was the Dockers who registered the next points as smart work by half backs anthony sinclair
and David Young released Rackham just inside his own half and he was able to touchdown next to the posts, making the conversion easier and bringing the score to 36-36.
The final minute then saw the try of the day, as after some strong drives in from the Newham forwards, Jankauskas set off on a weaving run which took him past three Croydon defenders before sprinting clear under the posts for the match-clinching score which was improved to leave the final score 42-36 to Newham Dockers.
Speaking after the game, Dockers coach Chris Williams said: ‘This result is the most pleasing of our season so far, as we had only 13 players and showed great determination to come back from a losing position on more than one occasion. Each and every player can be proud of their performance today, and we’ll aim to build on this performance in our last four league games of the season.’
For more information on the Newham Dockers please contact Chris Williams on 07712 895 966 or firstname.lastname@example.org.