Southend 10 Dorking 27
Dorking enjoyed a day at the seaside collecting five hard-earned points after a smart performance on the road.
Southend were level on points in the table and proved dangerous throughout. But they fell behind to a sucker punch after just two minutes when centre Fraser Mosley read the pass as the home team tried to counter attack from their own try line and intercepted for a touchdown under the posts, converted by Matt Noble.
This settled Dorking who took the game to Southend with lock Steve Howorth in particular carrying well to make dents in the defence and Ed Carne rock solid under a succession of high balls.
The home side’s cohesive pack began to make their mark, playing a strong pick and drive game, testing the red and white defence and eventually after a period of pressure they worked a good try out wide for 5-7.
The loss of big lock Jasper King allowed the muscular form of Wayne Williams on in the back row. A swift ball off the top of the lineout from Harry Watts saw skipper Noble run onto quick ball on the front foot. Spotting a gap in the 12 channel supporters were delighted to see a trademark searing break through the middle before slipping a pass to Williams in an excellent support position to scamper in from 25metres to dive under the posts. The Noble kick extended the lead to 5-14.
The home side’s luck was clearly out and their frustration evident as they found themselves repeatedly pinged at the breakdown while Dorking held their discipline.
From another fast lineout ball Jonny Ellis hit the line on the burst, making yards before feeding Cameron Osborne who put Mosley away to power over in the corner for a 5-19 lead.
The Dorking machine was working very effectively. And not long after the break quick scrum ball from veteran No9 Andy Gardner – a late call up for the unwell Zach Woodcock – to Noble saw Mosley burst through the centres and speed over by the posts for a hatrick that secured a bonus point and a 5-24 lead that looked comfortable.
But nothing can be taken for granted in this league and Dorking’s defence was thoroughly tested and held firm until No8 Watts saw yellow. Southend promptly made the man advantage count with their pacy back three to the fore as they scored wide out for 10-24.
Dorking almost hit back when Osborne raced down the line for a try in the corner only to be brought down a yard short before Adam Worth calmed nerves with a penalty for 10-27.
Both sets of physios were forced to work hard as neither side gave an inch and Southend pressed on, but by this point Dorking had a good win on the road in the bag.
Director of Rugby Armand Roux said: “We had a great week preparing for this game and had named unchanged side after beating Hertford. Zach fell ill on Friday and Andy Gardner was called up last minute, and had a great game.
“We know what has worked for us recently and tried to capitalise on this and approach the game with a clear mindset of what we need to achieve. I’m really happy with the squad’s performance as they did exactly what we asked them to do.
“The old rugby saying ‘forwards determine whether we win and the backs determine by how much’ really applied to us with forwards really impressing and backs finishing off.
“It was not a perfect performance in slightest with couple of errors creeping in, but this can all be worked on.
“This is the first time we have taken 5 points from Southend since we started playing them in National 2 and just shows the what tough opposition they are, especially at their place.
“ All 18 played well well and did what was expected. There were a couple of really good performances. I’m really pleased for Fraser Mosley getting a hat-trick as he has been playing really well for us this year. Wayne Willians scoring a try against his old club was a highlight too.
“There were some monster tackles flying in from Fraser Macdonald, Steve Howorth, Jonny Ellis and Ben Knight while Oli Edwards made some really good turnovers for us.
Matt Noble and Andy Gardner pulled the stings tactically for us and I thought Andy played very.
“Probably not right singling any players out, as it was a great team performance and one that they we can be proud of. We are right up for the challenge next weekend.”
Next week it is the turn of Tonbridge Juddians to visit Big Field. Kick Off 2pm.
Squad: Ben Knight, James Catton, Ben Edwards, Steve Howorth, Jasper King, Jonny Ellis, Oli Edwards, Harry Watts, Andy Gardner, Matt Noble (c), Cameron Osborne, Fraser Macdonald, Fraser Mosley, Mike Terelak, Ed Carne Subs: George Evans, Wayne Williams, Adam Worth