Dorking were back in top form on Saturday with a thoroughly deserved victory over a very good top-of-the-table Hertford side.
It has taken nine League games for the young red and whites’ side to rediscover their best form and the team produced a flowing, attacking game allied to excellent defence. Only two very late Hertford tries made the scoreline look so close.
Director of Rugby Armand Roux said: “After the win against Sutton Epsom last week, we could see that the team were starting to gel. The boys trained really well throughout the week and we looked at couple of key areas we wanted to attack.”
And attack they did. From the off Dorking looked cohesive and competitive and after 10 minutes captain Matt Noble capitalised on a period of pressure in the Hertford half with a well-struck penalty.
The pack continued where they left off last week and enjoyed the edge in the scrum, where the solid technique of tighthead Ben Edwards’ played a key part. It gave the back row of Harry Watts, Jonny Ellis and Oli Edwards a platform to take the game to Hertford and the backs looked dangerous throughout.
Centre Fraser Mosley broke through the defence at speed and passed wide to wing Cameron Osborne in space who looked to have scored another excellent try but was ruled just in touch.
Hertford’s No9 then scored a sniping try on 30 minutes but Dorking kept pressing. And after the interval flying Osborne made no mistake with a burst of speed to skin his opposite number and cut inside the full back for a superb score, converted by Noble for 10-5.
Noble’s influence was considerable once again, and he banged over two penalties in 10 minutes for a 16-8 lead before setting free right winger Mike Terelak to seer through the defence on 67 minutes for another fine try and a 21-8 advantage against the leaders.
Not only were the scrums and loose play going well but crucially the line-out looked slick too with James Catton’s arrows repeatedly hitting the Dorking jumpers.
The performance had echoes of great days the club has enjoyed in recent years and the discipline could not be faulted as Dorking’s defence frustrated Hertford’s rapid attack.
Their desperation as the clock ticked down earned them a brace of tries, but by then the win was in the bag.
After Dorking’s best performance of the season Roux had special praise for his captain: “Matt made sure we played the game in the right areas and he was tactically outstanding. Add some backs who took some great opportunities to score points to the recipe and it made for a very clinical performance. One I’m really proud of.
“Young players like Cameron Osborne showed us what they can do with a great finish going around his winger and inside 15 to touch down under the post untouched. What a try for the young winger!
“The forwards set the benchmark in the set-pieces which is something we’ve worked on tremendously over last few weeks. On top of all that our defensive efforts were absolutely top drawer. Bodies on the line and playing for each other.”
He added: “We also know that we left a few tries out there and we’ve got some more things to work on.
“Take nothing away from Hertford who are a skilled side and played some great rugby. I also heard that their skipper is in hospital with a broken Jaw so we wish him all the best for a speedy recovery.
“We’ve got a week off this week and we are already focusing on the next job, Southend away. Another big fixture and we know them well from National 2 in the past two seasons. But the boys are really in good shape for this.”
Squad: Ben Knight, James Catton, Ben Edwards, Steve Howorth, Jasper King, Jonny Ellis, Oli Edwards, Harry Watts, Zach Woodcock, Matt Noble (c), Cameron Osborne, Fraser Macdonald, Fraser Mosley, Mike Terelak, Ed Carne Subs: George Evans, Wayne Williams, Adam Worth
Pictures: See Ben Hardisty’s match gallery here