Win for the 1st XV
By Gavin Drummond
4 match winning streak
**Dartford Valley 1st XV extend winning streak to 4 games with comprehensive win against spirited Askeans side**
Valley welcomed Askeans to Dartford this weekend for their penultimate game of 2017 trying to make it 4 wins on the bounce. After some strong performances of late and continuity building within the squad, confidence was high.
With a sharp bite in the air, a light dusting of snow on the ground and the low winter sun shining just above the trees there was a real festive feel to the day. Sadly for Askeans the Valley players were in no mood for festivities and showed up all business.
Valley set the tone from the off as Dan Martin made a break through the heart of the Askeans defence from the kick-off, only to be hauled down in the opposite 22. Moments later he made no mistake as he went through again and touched down under the posts. Ollie McGann slotted the conversion to make it 7-0.
Valley were getting some joy down the right with the forwards creating space out wide for the backs. Some good hands got the ball out to winger Kieran Yates but it looked like the chance had gone as Askeans covering defenders closed down the numbers. However Kieran had other ideas and showed off his dancing shoes to skip through two covering defenders before offloading to Steve Mac. With a defender left to beat, the result was as inevitable as a Titey gasboard joke, a trademark handoff put his man down and Steve coasted off to the corner.
Valleys third came straight from the training ground. After some good buildup play, Ollie McGann stuck a penalty into the corner for a lineout which the pack executed to perfection. Ben Orcan hit his man and the maul was set. A good initial hit from the five man lineout got the maul moving and once Jamie Ping Pong and Mat Thomas had joined the fray the Askeans pack were reversing at a rate of knots. Charlie Merdith touched down for a great team try.
Chris Burke, as elusive as ever, danced his way through the defence around the half way line before making a clean break and carrying all the way to the line for Valleys 4th of the day. By the end of the night he was claiming it was from 70m. Ryan Francis slotted the conversion.
Askeans finally woke up and got into the game through a well worked move off of a solid scrum. However, Valley got themselves back on track through Prop/Winger Sean Ottaway as he threw an outrageous dummy before showing serious gas, for a man of any age, to burn the Askeans backline to score in the corner. Some controversy over the NFL style touchdown but the old man deserved it.
Jamie Ping Pong grabbed a well deserved try after numerous breaks throughout the first half with Ryan Francis slotting his second conversion of the day to make it 36-5 at half time. A great first half showcasing how dangerous Valley are in open play.
Second half started with some solid Askeans pressure testing the Valley defence with some great hits within the 5m keeping Askeans at bay. Dan Martin showing great tenacity to make 3 huge tackles close to the line when Askeans looked sure to score.
Valley woke up after that bit of defending and went back on the attack. After a great break down the left, Valley had numbers lining up out wide. But some quick thinking from Burkey found Kieran Yates with just enough space down the blindside as he showed his opposite man a clean pair of heels to scorch his way down the field and under the posts. Protests of a foot in touch were waved away by the referee and some strong words to Askeans to respect the officials running touch. Ryan Francis makes his 3rd conversion for the day.
Kieron Philips then grabbed a try as Valleys superiour fitness started to kick in. The Askeans defensive line couldn't get numbers wide quick enough and KP charged through a gap not to be caught.
Matt Thomas then decided to get in on the action too, after grafting all day in the loose he picked a great support line from a Burkey break and collected the offload for a run in. Ollie chipped over his 2nd conversion of the day.
Kieran Phillips grabbed his second in a matter of minutes as some well worked hands took Askeans apart and put the number 8 through again. Ollie rounded off the scores for the day with his 3rd conversion to make the final score 62-5.
A comprehensive victory for Dartford against a tough and committed Askeans side who to their never gave up and had a couple of dangerous breaks themselves from their lively 15.
The 1st XV winning streak is extended and they now look forward to the local derby away to Bexley RFC next weekend.
Mom - Matt Thomas. Got through a mountain of work in the backrow to free up play for our backs before also joining in on the action to grab his first try for Valley.
Hammer - Dan Martin. Valley had started the second half slowly until 3 try saving tackles in quick succession from Dan reset the tone for Valleys second half performance.
DoD - Lee Policelli/ Ben Orcan. When the referee is over rulling a home team touch judge for the home team you would have to question the guys loyality. Luckily for him captain Ben couldn't be bothered taking the Hammer out of his car so took over as DoD just as the chips began to settle in the pint.