Dorking vs Westcombe Park
Dorking 10-36 Westcombe Park
By Scott Richardson
This week was a rather more glamorous affair at The Big Field as every year, the Saturday closest to Valentine’s Day is deigned Ladies’ Day. Upstairs, the clubhouse was resplendent as wives and girlfriends of players past and present enjoyed lunch and plenty of bubbles prior to Dorking’s home game against Westcombe Park.
The snowfall thankfully stopped before kick-off but it remained a bitterly cold afternoon and after the fresh, dry track of the week before against Guernsey down at Rosslyn Park, the day posed a markedly different challenge. The monstrous Westcombe Park (WP) pack looked to seize the advantage from the very first scrum and spelled trouble for the Dorking boys.
Even so, Dorking were off to a rapid start. Having secured possession in WP’s half, they went through the phases before play broke up. In the melee, Ben Hatton up from fullback, hit a stellar line off a Matt Noble pop pass and gassed through the scattered WP defence to score under the posts and put Dorking up 7-0 in the opening minutes of the game.
George Evans was soon forced off with an arm injury as the WP pack disintegrated the Dorking scrum and George found himself folded awkwardly.
WP were soon back in the game following a valiant Dorking scrum was deemed to have infringed and with a quick tap off the ensuing penalty WP put the ball through the hands to score in the corner.
Dorking spirits were up again as Tom Hunt made an exceptional break down the right wing and seemed sure to score before an incredible try-saving tackle from the WP winger scythed him down less than 5 metres from the line. Dorking maintained territory as the WP defence had no option but to give away the penalty. Dorking opted for the cross-field kick after their maul was foiled from the lineout and what was to become an unfortunately recurring theme of the game began as Cam gathered valiantly but was bundled into touch and promising field position was scuppered.
WP managed to exit and gain field position of their own and when the Dorking defence weren’t able to bottle up the powerful WP fullback, the ball was eventually shifted wide and the try was scored in the same corner as the first, to give WP a lead they never relinquished.
There was time for one more WP try before half-time as they opted for points from a penalty only to hit the post and reclaim the rebounding ball and shift it to that same corner to give them a 7-19 lead into the half.
The second half started with more positive play as WP were pinged from the restart and Matt Noble stepped up to slot it through to bring Dorking within 9 points and remain in the game.
The game then took another turn as James Arbury, on for his debut having recently joined from Esher, was sin-binned for a high shot. It looked as though the WP player both stepped and ducked into the trailing arm but the referee deemed it intentional enough to show the yellow.
WP opted for the lineout and after Dorking held out admirably, there followed a moment of naivety as the ref indicated advantage to WP and the Dorking defence stood and watched as the replacement scrum-half scooted through a gap in the ruck going full “George North” as he did so with a point and a laugh at the Dorking defence, earning himself no fans amongst the Dorking faithful on the side-lines as that effectively ended the day for the supporters.
Having returned from the bin, Arbury worked admirably with some solid hits in defence but was unable to prevent WP taking in 2 more tries before the full-time whistle was blown leaving a very lopsided scoreboard and one that perhaps doesn’t tell the true story of the game.
Director of Rugby, Armand Roux had this to say:
“After a good win last week against Guernsey the boys were really up for their second game against Westcombe Park of the season.
“Westcombe Park were well-deserving of the win, but not by that margin in my opinion.
“I thought that we played well in certain parts of the game and the only thing that stopped us from scoring was ourselves. We kicked too much possession away alongside a couple of errors when we were in opposition territory meaning we could not convert the territorial advantage into points. Unfortunately, it was just not to be to be, on the day.
“It was a massive improvement from when we first played them, which was great to see and shows the improvement so far.
“Losing George Evans early on disrupted our plans slightly but it was encouraging to see the boys adapted well to the adversity.
“We have a couple of bits to address this week as we prepare for the return fixture against Sutton & Epsom.”
The next match is at The Big Field on Saturday 18th February with the return fixture against Sutton & Epsom, look forward to seeing you there.
Team: Richard Nunn, James Catton, George Evans, Robbie Fee, Finn Osborne, Jonny Ellis, Harry Watts, Tom Dobson, Andy Gardner, Matt Noble (c), Cam Osborne, Ed Marsh, Mike Terelak, Tom Hunt, Ben Hatton, Ben Knight, Oli Edwards, James Arbury