Saturday 8th April
Amersham & Chiltern RFC vs Dorking
by Scott Richardson
The last away game of the season for Dorking was upon us already and Amersham & Chiltern RFC played host. The journey down was perhaps a little more stressful than they would have wanted as ye olde faithful paper directions let the driver down meaning that the players didn’t arrive until less than an hour before kickoff but the day was not for excuses. The sun was beating down on an undulating pitch which was dusty and firm underfoot and conditions looked good for Dorking’s expansive brand of rugby.
Dorking didn’t let an abbreviated warm-up affect them, however, as their scrum looked to dominate the Amersham pack early on, picking up from where they left off over the last couple of weeks and earning an early penalty and allowing Matt Noble to put the visitors up 3-0 as Amersham infringed from the ensuing lineout.
The fast start was short-lived as, on almost their first possession, Amersham exploited numbers on Dorking’s blind side to break the line and pass inside to score under the posts and take their first and only lead of the day at 7-3.
Dorking made to take advantage of their scrum dominance and earned another penalty, however, Noble couldn’t make good on this shot but made up for it shortly after. After turnovers each way, the ball came loose and Noble managed to break the line (something he did with relative ease all day) before giving the ball to Tom Hunt on the wing who steamed down the middle of the field. He offloaded the ball to Jonny Ellis who was supporting admirably, before getting it back to go in and score in the corner for the first of some lovely scores from the boys in red and white.
After some more play around the midfield, Dorking looked to put the game away with two back-to-back tries. The first began with some classy counter play from Cam Pimlow as he gathered a box kick sent too deep, sending the ball wide to Ed Carne, playing on the wing for the second game in a row. He then sent it further wide to Mike Terelak who took the ball through the contact where it was recycled and given to Harry Elbrow who was taken out with a high tackle. Scrum-half, Zach Woodcock, quick of mind and foot, took the tap and advanced on the retreating defenders before popping it up to Elbrow who had jumped back to his feet and shipped it onto Matt Noble who cut back against the grain and dotted down to make it 7-15.
Dorking were having real issues with their restarts so when Amersham decided to send the ball deep to Jonny Ellis, it seemed only right to punish them for their naivety. Ellis gave it to Noble who threaded the eye of the needle to put a pass in between the rushing defenders to Carne who cut inside and gave it to Pimlow supporting from fullback. Pimlow then showed guile and no shortage of pace or skill as he chipped the ball over the defenders with the outside of his right foot, outpacing everyone and diving on the ball to score before it went dead. Another great try.
Amersham had a chance to pull back three points before the break and duly obliged to make it 10-20 at half time. Although the score was in their favour, Dorking were frustrated at some scrappy errors in judgement and execution that plagued their first half which meant that Amersham were still in the game when perhaps they should have been put to the sword.
It didn’t get much better as straight from the restart, the ball again went to ground from Dorking as they received the kickoff and Amersham regathered and took it in to score another try of their own and get within three.
Dorking were lucky not to go behind shortly after as a speculative Dorking offload went to ground and the Amersham fullback kicked through only to knock it on as the cursed bounce of a rugby ball came to Dorking’s aid and gifted them a scrum five metres out from their own line.
The game was Dorking’s when the Amersham scrum-half kicked too long once again, allowing Carne to come onto the ball at pace and put Pimlow through a gap in the midfield. Cam popped it up to Sam Johnson who was having problems with his feet due to the hard ground. Running with the handbrake on, he did the sensible thing and passed it out to Carne to finish off the try he had started by dotting down under the posts and effectively put the game to bed.
There was still time for more Dorking scores to give them the bonus point as yet another awe-inspiring scrum earned Dorking the penalty from which Matt Noble took a quick tap and glided through the scattered Amersham defence. He then popped to Tom Hunt who still had work to do but proved to have enough pace to burn away from the chasing defenders and dot down in the corner and leave the score 17-34.
The last play of the game looked to put the icing on the cake as Dorking were breaking with plenty of grass in front of them but Stu Watkins looked to back up another outstanding defensive game with some flair of his own only to see his chip wide take a shooting bounce and trickle into touch and finish the game.
Whilst there were some errors and scrappiness to the game, Dorking had plenty to be happy about. A great showing from the pack again, including the athletic Jake Dobson and Brandon Sweet performing admirably off the bench and Fred Evans who played both prop and hooker by the end of the game and looked dominant in both. James Arbury also looked good when he came on at Centre but the game really revolved around Matt Noble and the back three of Hunt, Carne, and Pimlow, who looked threatening every time they touched the ball.
DoR, Armand Roux, had this to say:
“I was really pleased with the five points today and to be fair to Amersham, they made us work for it. We made a couple of unforced errors trying to get the tempo of the game up, and eventually it started happening for us. Overall, I’m pleased with the victory, the performance, however, could have been better.
“Our scrums were on top form, again, but our lineouts were surprisingly under par. I thought Noble played some good rugby today and our back three were just immense. They were always looking for work and being a threat.
“We have the weekend off this week for Easter, and the guys all bought into a big Tuesday session before we get a little break. Then it’s all hands to the pump in preparation for Wimbledon. There is some unfinished business with them and we are all looking forward to the challenge.”
As mentioned, it is a week off next week so we are back for the last league game of the season back at The Big Field on 22nd April against Wimbledon. Look forward to seeing you all there.
Team: Fred Evans, Sam Johnson, Ben Edwards, Finn Osborne, Jasper King, Jonny Ellis, Harry Elbrow, Harry Watts, Zach Woodcock, Matt Noble (c), Ed Carne, Stuart Watkins, Mike Terelak, Tom Hunt, Cam Pimlow, Brandon Sweet, Jake Dobson, James Arbury