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National 3 London & SW
Dorking 38 Chichester 33
Dorking edged an 11-try thriller at Big Field to notch a 3rd successive win led once again by skipper Matt Noble who scored two sensational tries and four cons.
Six-try Dorking were rampant in the loose and collected the bonus point by half time as they ran up a 31-5 lead early in the second half before Chichester harnessed their huge pack to begin an epic fightback that earned them two bonus points.
A couple of forced changes due to unavailability of players meant Dorking made eight changes to the side that won at Colchester the week before. And they got off to a difficult start, conceding a try in the second minute and losing prop Richard Nunn.
But Dorking regrouped, dug in and took the game to the bigger pack with the back row of Harry Watts, Oli Edwards and Steve Howarth pressing hard which let their superior back division punch big holes in the Chichester defence. And on 23 minutes wing Mike Terelak showed his great pace to round his man to level with Matt Noble converting.
Scrum half Zack Woodcock added a second 5 minutes later followed by winger Cam Osborne capitalising on a wonderful flowing move involving centres Will Bennett and Fraser Mosley to touch down in the corner on his debut.
And with fly half and captain Matt Noble back to his imperious best it was no surprise when he himself grabbed the fourth try and a deserved bonus point just before half time.
Dorking looked like they were going to romp away when Osborne fed inside for full back Ed carne to race under the posts for a 31-5 lead early in the second half, but Chichester began to click and scored two quick tries to cut the lead to 31-19.
It took huge defensive resolve and an excellent shift by the Evans brothers in the front row, assisted by Ed Jenkins, to subdue the spirited fightback. And another superb try from Noble steadied the Dorking ship.
But a controversial red card for Edwards reacting to persistent antagonism gave the visitors an edge and they ran in two more tries to ensure a nail biting finish and sighs of relief all around the Big Field.
Director of Rugby Armand Roux said: “We always knew if we played rugby in the traditional Dorking Fashion, that Chichester would struggle. It was really apparent that we could capitalize on turnover ball and showed some great finishing abilities running in four tries from our own half.
“Credit where it’s due, Chichester managed to bully themselves into contention as we switched off and did really well to fight back.”
Next Saturday Dorking are away to Guernsey.
1st XV squad: Nunn, F Evans, G Evans, Sheppard, J Dobson, Howorth, Edwards, Watts, Woodcock, Noble (c), Osborne, Bennett, Mosley, Terelak, Carne Subs: Jenkins, T Dobson, Wilson
Roux’s View… post match thoughts of the Director of Rugby
Game overview: “The boys played really well and I was really pleased to see Captain, Matt Noble score some absolute class tries. Equally pleasing to the see the oldest player on the piitch Mike Terelak – a Dorking player since he was 5 yrs old – scoring on the one wing and the youngest player on the pitch Cameron Osborne – also a Dorking Youth product – scoring on debut on the other wing.
“Pleased to have got our first 5-pointer of the season even with players missing and playing below par in the last 30mins. It’s really great to see the boys enjoying themselves and really going out there and giving everything. Equally, the celebration side of things are never to far behind. Three wins on the bounce and after a bad start to the season, really pleasing that we have shown some character.
Of the red card for Edwards: “There were a couple of really feisty incidents that led to our 7 getting a red card after reacting to an ugly incident off the ball. We will review the footage as I feel there is more too it.”
Next week: “Guernsey this week will be tough and a few of the players have been there before so should know what to expect. Pleased to get a few players back this week, but in same breath they all know they have got to earn their spot back.
Call for more subs: “With early injuries and a stint with a yellow card meant that the Dorking players had to work extra hard. Add to that the fact that our back row sub got injured within 5mins and we were forced to place our wing at back row.
“I seriously think the RFU needs to review only allowing 3 subs at national 3 level (level 5!). We are actually incurring more injuries as a result of players not willing to leave the pitch with an injury as they feel the let their fellow players down.
“Times have changed and professionalism has started to drip down the leagues and it’s clear to see that the conditioning of players in the league has improved alongside opposition teams now receiving remuneration for their services. I’m not even going to mention AR’s at level 5 to further assist with a true reflection of this “era change”.
Matt Noble (c)