Dorking match report
By Scott Richardson
Chichester Away 14th January 2017
Chichester 18 – 13 Dorking
Frustrating day on the road for Dorking
Dorking’s endured a frustrating day down on the coast highlighting the Red & Whites struggle again to get off to a good start on the road.
A typical January day greeted the players as they hopped off the bus away to Chichester: grey, wet and bitterly cold. Add a tricky, blustery overhead wind to the equation and Dorking were faced with a challenging day before one even took a gnarled and efficient opposition into consideration.
But nobody expected Dorking to get off to such a poor start and Head Coach, Armand Roux, decried Dorking’s slow starts which have been a frustrating feature this season.
Having kicked exceptionally well last week, scrum-half Zach Woodcock was the first victim of a deceptive breeze whipping overhead when his box kick drifted straight into touch off the kick off and gifted territory to Chichester or Chi (pronounced ‘Tchai’, as in latte) to their fans. A penalty quickly ensued and Chichester were pushing over for the first try of the game from a 5-metre lineout before the Dorking boys had managed to feel the ball in their hands.
When Dorking did finally get a go with the ball it was messy and tended to come from turnovers and it was here that Dorking had their first threat of the game when the ball was shifted wide to Cam Osbourne, who had a good day with little ball on the wing. He deftly chipped over the top and chased diligently to get Dorking a lineout inside Chichester territory.
However, more sloppy play led to Chichester breaking down the touchline before their wing threw a speculative offload which bounced and sat up for the opportunistic Chichester fullback to scoot over for a second Chichester try with barely 15 minutes gone in the match to make it 10-0 to the home side.
Chichester followed up with a penalty to go 13-0 up after 20 minutes before Dorking finally managed to get a bit of ball and territory. In what was to become a theme, Chichester began to be pinged consistently, breaking up any continuity and it was this, combined with some kamikaze play from Dorking, that meant that it was the 39th minute before Dorking managed any consistency when the forwards took charge and earned a kickable penalty which Matt Noble duly converted to leave it 13-3 at half-time.
After some stern words at the break, fortunes were reversed off the restart as the Chichester 9 put the ball straight out and the Dorking forwards earned a penalty off a drive from the ensuing lineout and again Noble took the honours and made it 13-6.
Dorking missed their 3rd shot at goal, and some enterprising play from Harry Watts from the following 22 drop out saw Noble sweep round on the reverse from the ensuing ruck and nudge the ball through and Dorking were again playing in the right area but unable to convert territory into points.
After giving away a penalty for some naivety as Chichester stood off from a lineout drive and Dorking forwards found themselves pinged for obstruction, Chichester were able to clear their lines deep into Dorking territory. From this position, a bullocking run from their openside left Dorking defenders in his wake and put Chichester up 18-6 with 15 to go.
And what a 15 minutes…
The move of the match followed a Dorking scrum just inside their own half when Noble caressed a pinpoint cross-field kick hitting Cam Osbourne in stride to gain a good chunk of yardage.
A couple of phases later and the referee, still apparently full of Christmas spirit, adjudged a knock-on preventing a 3-on-0 overlap 20 metres out as “accidental” before awarding a Dorking penalty off the ensuing scrum. Infuriatingly, Dorking again gifted possession away with the line beckoning.
After the referee then remembered he hadn’t left his cards at home and sin-binned the Chichester 8 for a softish high tackle, Dorking had their chance. After shelling a tricky pass on his first involvement in the game, sub Killian Wilson more than made up for it a few minutes later when a Chichester 22 drop out was blocked allowing for a brilliant pick up from Harvey Mewis at 12, and slick hands allowed Osbourne to tip-toe down the line before throwing a speculator’s off-load inside to a supporting Killian to go in under the posts and bring Dorking within a try to draw or even snatch the win with the score now 18-13.
Sadly the game disintegrated at that point with an unfortunate and extraordinary incident that left the Dorking linesman on his back and overshadowed a much more promising second half with the Red & Whites hunting a draw or possible late victory.
After the incident, which is now under investigation, the only card awarded was a harsh yellow for Dorking 7 Oli Edwards which left Dorking to play with 14 men for the rest of the game.
This proved to be the nail in the Dorking coffin with the extra man providing too resolute a Chichester defence to breach despite Dorking having the ball for nearly the entirety of the rest of the game.
Head Coach, Armand Roux said: “After a great week of training we were really looking forward to the Chichester game.
“We always knew that it will be a tough game over there and we did not help ourselves by making some uncharacteristic errors and gifting them 13 early points and were left chasing the scoreline.
“We showed some great character in the second half to play some good rugby, but unfortunately left it too little too late.
“There were a few good individual performances on the day with Tom Hunt again being a handful on the wing.
“It’s was a bit of a scrappy game in patches and one I felt could have easily gone the other way. Some offences by Chichester went unpunished for which we received yellow cards for similar behaviour earlier this season and unfortunately on the day, it just did not go our way.
“This week is another big game for us as Guernsey return to The Big Field. The away game earlier in the season was a high scoring affair, so we are looking forward to this fixture.
“We should also welcome back both Mike Terelak and Ed Carne this week and I’m sure it will be a great game.”
Dorking can look forward to being back on home turf against Guernsey next week on Saturday 21st January, so we look forward to seeing you there for a 2pm kickoff.
Team: Ben Knight, James Catton, Ben Edwards, Rob Fee, Jake Dobson, Jonny Ellis, Oli Edwards, Harry Watts, Zach Woodcock, Matt Noble (c), Cam Osborne, Harvey Mewis, Ed Marsh, Tom Hunt, Ben Hatton, Fred Evans, Tom Dobson, Killian Wilson