Dorking Match Report vs Colchester – 7th January
Dorking begin the New Year with a win at home to Colchester
By Scott Richardson
Dorking 25 – 15 Colchester
Happy New Year, one and all! After the festivities of the preceding weeks and the resulting crash back to terra firma with the painfully familiar commute back to work and (God forbid) “Dry January”, one could be forgiven for spending the entire month under a self-imposed house arrest.
However, the first game of the new year down at the Big Field was a proposition strong enough to attract an admirable crowd on what was a chilly, mizzly day to see what would become of Colchester.
The Essex outfit – despite languishing second from bottom – started brightly, receiving the kick off and, thanks in part to Harry Elbrow suffering what looked like the dreaded “stinger” on the first tackle of the game, threatened the Dorking line for the opening 5 minutes of the game. Dorking’s defence was resolute, not for the last time in the game, and their outstanding pack set the benchmark by winning a penalty off the first scrum of the game.
The game became scrappy and, after exchanging a penalty apiece, Dorking received a 22 drop out and the first Matt Noble break of the day led to a series of Dorking penalties, the last of which they opted for the scrum and shunted Colchester into conceding the penalty try. A worthy reward for what had been a dominant half by the pack and Dorking went in 10-3 at half time.
Dorking managed to dominate territory thanks in no small part, to some outstanding box kicking from Zach Woodcock at 9 and some equally enterprising chasing from Tom Hunt on the wing. And it was Woodcock who sparked the second half into life when he took an opportunity to go quick from an offside penalty, popping to Noble who scythed through the scattered Colchester defence to dot down.
Dorking were unable to capitalise on an extra man for 10 minutes when Colchester’s wing was binned for a cynical trip after fumbling another outstanding box kick and it was only after he returned to the field that Dorking capitalised on a midfield scrum.
Head Coach, Armand Roux said: “It was a great debut for Sam Fieldwick at 13 today partnered by Ed Marsh at 12 playing well on his return to first team.” And it was excellent dummy runs from them both that saw Noble gash through the Colchester 13 channel allowing Ed Carne to dot down in the corner.
After a scrappy restart, Second Row for the day, Rob Fee saw yellow for collapsing an ominous Colchester maul 5 meters out and it was here that Dorking won the game, for all intents and purposes, holding Colchester as wave after wave came crashing against the Dorking line. For 10 minutes, Dorking were resolute, a man down and never more than 10 meters away from their own line, a real stake in the ground to take with them for the rest of the season.
When Colchester finally went over in the corner, it felt as though time was against them and when captain Noble put over another penalty to make it 25-8, the game seemed up. That didn’t stop a spirited Colchester from crossing once more when their 15 made a half break and pop to a man on his shoulder who scored under the posts.
All that was left was for Fee to see a second yellow for what seemed a potentially harsh call as he was adjudged to have impeded the Colchester 9 scrambling through a sea of bodies, especially when it resulted in him seeing red for the first time this season.
Overall, Armand was happy with the performance, saying: “As the Christmas period broke we knew we had to work hard so that we could hit the ground running. Credit to the boys for putting some extra work in and everyone had a good week preparing so pleased the boys got the W as reward.
“I felt we had loads more energy and were comfortable ball in hand, although we left at least 2 tries on the park today, so we know we should have taken 5 points from that game. However the main thing is that the game was won, objective achieved.
“I was really pleased with how our set piece operated. Our scrums were uncompromising and the lineouts gave our backs a good platform.
“There’s a couple of aspects we need to go away and work on and as the saying goes: it’s great to get a W when you are not firing at all cylinders
“Our half-backs (Zach Woodcock and Matt Noble) made sure we played rugby in the right areas with some intelligent and clinical kicking.
“Some stellar work was put in by the forwards and to single anyone out would be unfair. They are really playing for each other.
“Colchester really fought well and, as they showed in the away fixture, proved they are not a “walk over” in the slightest. All the best to them for the remainder of the season.
“Focus now on next job which is Chichester. They are a tough side and we need to step it up for the next W. Big week for us.”
Next Game: Chichester Away 2pm KO
Team: Ben Knights, Jonny Ellis, Ben Edwards, Rob Fee, Jake Dobson, Oli Edwards, Harry Elbrow, Harry Watts, Zach Woodcock, Matt Noble (c), Ed Marsh, Sam Fieldwick (d)*, Cam Osbourne, Tom Hunt, Ed Carne, Fred Evans, Tom Dobson, Harvey Mewis