Dartmouth RFC 20 Exeter Athletic RFC 21
Dartmouth give League leaders a fright
The record books will show Dartmouth RFC 20, Exeter Athletic 21. But, this is a game that Dartmouth should and could have won.
Dartmouth played their first game since 1st December against Exeter Athletic who are currently 5 points clear of the Devon League Division 1 and are looking for promotion to the Devon Cornwall League
Due to injuries to key players, Dartmouth have been struggling to put a team together . But, with players returning, they came back with a bang and put the League Leaders on the rack and almost snatched a well deserved victory.
There is no doubt, that the Riversiders were up for this game and that the visitors reputation spurred the team on.
In control of the whistle for this game was Mr Paul Symons of the Devon RFU.
Straight from the kick off, Dartmouth took play to the visitors with penetrating runs from full back Gary Rooney, who was always willing to run from deep and join in his three quarter line. He was well supported by Captain John Dingle and Prop Tom Clark.
The visitors started to settle and their play was controlled by their number 10 Andy Alders and it was he, who after 6 minutes found a gap in the defence and went through under the posts. Alders converted to give the visitors a 7-0 lead.
Dartmouth came straight back and took the ball into Exeters 22mtr line.
From a line out, the ball was worked across the back line to Gary Rooney, who made ground before slipping the ball inside to Prop Declan (sausage) Hammond, who took the ball at speed and he used his frame to crash through defenders to score under the posts from 10mtrs out. A Luke Chase conversion levelled the score 7-7.
The visitors took play into the Dartmouth half and with their heavier pack making ground , they formed a a rolling maul and made 10mtrs before releasing the ball to the waiting number 7, who brushed tacklers aside to score under the posts. Alders converted 14-7 to the visitors.
Dartmouth stepped up the pressure with probing runs through the centre of the field by Rooney, Richard Seymour and Xavier Picot. Also good line kicking by Luke Chase kept the visitors pinned in their own 22mtr line for long periods of time.
This pressure continued with the Dartmouth 8 working as a unit and causing their opposite numbers problems resulting in a penalty being given away which was kicked by Luke Chase. 14-10.
Dartmouth kept creeping up to the visitors line and after runs by Rooney and Chase, a long pass was thrown out to winger Dan Greeno who took off down the touch line to score wide out, which Luke Chase converted. 14-17 (Dartmouth) at half time.
Dartmouth kicked off the 2nd half and still held the upper hand and were without a doubt the dominant side. Play was still being kept in the visitors half with centres Luke Bonstow and Jack(Flash) Gordon causing problems in attack and defence.
Against the run of play, the visitors won turn over ball and full back Reid Mawdsley came into the back line and a missed tackle resulted in him running some 40 mtrs Down the touch line to score wide out Alders added the conversion.
20-21 (Exeter Athletic)
The last 10 minutes was all Dartmouth with the pack battering away at the visitors line. However, possession did not lead to points.
One player was yellow carded as frustration set in and the visitors made errors leading to penalties.
With 3 minutes to go, Dartmouth had the chance to add 3 points but their touch line penalty sailed to the left of the post
Dartmouth then had another chance to win the game with a further penalty, but this time, the difficult kick went right of the posts.
The visitors held on for a 21-20 win.
Dartmouth Team Captain John Dingle said after the game,
" This was a great team effort, i am proud of the whole team. League leaders Exeter Athletic, know full well, that we were the better team on the day and that they were lucky to go away with a win. A missed tackle really cost us the game. It was good to see our players returning from injury and the game was a good tester for our forthcoming Cup game with Newquay on 2nd Feb. Players from both teams nominated Dartmouth full back Gary Rooney as player of the match."
Dick Evans C/O Dartmouth Rugby Football Club
07847 141 240.