Dorking Colts v Horsham U18s match report 24/09/23

Dorking Colts returned to National Cup action on Sunday after a four-year absence. Despite twice winning variations of the cup in recent history, Dorking were denied a place in last year’s competition so the game against near neighbours Horsham provided extra motivation.

Dorking fielded a strong, 21-man squad, with a good blend of U17s and U18s. They began the game playing with the slope but into a strong breeze. Otherwise, conditions were perfect, with the sun breaking through and a good surface under foot.

It didn’t take Dorking long to open their account. Toby de la Hoyde fielded a kick on the left wing on halfway and spotted space on the right. A long arcing run outside the defence set up a ruck on the far side and Will Simpson went over in the corner. Charlie Nicholl, peerless with the boot, added the extras.  

The second score quickly followed. Playing against a larger pack didn’t faze the Dorking forwards. A clean lineout take and a powerful drive saw them advance towards the Horsham line. The backs then took over with a classy miss-move in the centres putting Charlie Nicholl into space. Unselfishly he fed centre Chris Styles to finish under the posts. 14-0

The Dorking pack were not to be outdone. Horsham won a scrum in a good attacking position on the Dorking 22. A strong surge by the Dorking tight 5 saw Horsham driven off their own ball. Dorking quickly moved the ball wide, putting Will Simpson into space. He surged forward taking the ball deep into the Horsham half. When he was eventually hauled down, hooker Lewis Gover was on hand to punch through the Horsham line again. Another quick recycle saw centre Will Darbishire power over on the left.

The Dorking pressure on Horsham was now incessant. From an off-the-top line out on halfway, Dorking moved the ball wide. Chris Styles offloaded to Charlie Nicholl who put Will Simpson in for another score out wide. 26-0

Dorking were not just shining in attack. Smothering defence forced an error from Horsham in their own 22. Fly-half Woody Aldridge hacked the loose ball through, regathered and scored just to the left of the posts. 33-0

Dorking began to ring the changes, swapping their props and demonstrating the depth of their squad. The replacements made an immediate impact with a strong driving maul from a lineout marching Horsham back towards their own line. Quick thinking from captain and scrum-half Alex Power saw him break round the base of the maul and score from short range. 38-0

Horsham then forced their way into the Dorking half and a rare visit into the home 22. However, an excellent counter-ruck from Lewis Gover saw Dorking steal the ball back. They moved it quickly to the left and Will Darbishire expertly kicked through, regathered the ball and powered through under the posts. 43-0

Dorking still weren’t done with the first half. Dorking wing Tom Harper cleverly fielded a Horsham penalty kick for touch deep in the Dorking left-hand corner. Rather than simply clear his lines, he jinked past the first defender and set up a blind side break. After another great chip and chase, flanker Calum Maddick, who had linked play so well throughout the half, was on hand to take the final pass and score under the posts. Dorking had just scored back-to-back, end-to-end tries to lead 50-0 at the break.

The word from the coaches at half-time was more of the same and to send a message to the rest of the competition.

Dorking began the second half where they left off, fielding the kick off and pushing Horsham back into their own half. Horsham spilt the clearance kick and following a powerful Dorking scrum, a good drive by prop David Terry allowed Will Darbishire to step his man and score. 57-0

Another great lineout drive from Dorking saw another break from the backs. A pop off from Will Darbishire put Will Simpson in for his third try of the day. Charlie Nicholl added the extras with a cheeky drop-kick conversion. 64-0

Dorking then went to sleep momentarily, overthrowing a lineout on their own five-metre line, and allowing the big Horsham number 8 to power over for a converted try. This was a just reward for the Horsham boys (Horsham boys), given that their heads did not drop throughout the 70 minutes. 64-7

Dorking bounced back immediately. After more good phases, Will Darbishire, demonstrating his full range of skills, put through a grubber kick for Tom Harper to gather and score. 69-7

Horsham then tried their own chip and chase in attack, but Will Simpson was first to the ball and set up yet another break. A quick recycle saw the outstanding Jai Kamaluddin run a hard line and power through the Horsham defence to score from 15 metres out. 74-7

More good work by the Dorking pack at the breakdown saw Horsham concede a penalty. A quick tap and some slick handling created a three-man overlap. Charlie Nicholl dummied and strolled over unopposed. 79-7

Dorking still weren’t done. With the last play, Dorking won a scrum penalty 7 metres from their own line. Woody Aldridge cleverly bounced the ball off his knee and restarted before Horsham could set their defence. Charlie Nicholl made a lovely break and then put in a pinpoint cross-field kick for Will Simpson to score his fourth and Dorking’s last. 86-7 the final score.

This was breathtaking stuff from Dorking, playing with pace, power and aggression and no little skill. It was also a just reward for a long, hard preseason where the boys had set new standards in training. This was a full squad performance with everyone contributing. But head coach Dominic Brockes, opted to nominate Jai Kamaluddin as man of the match, despite him only playing half the game, which was testament to the impact he made.

Dorking now advance to the next round of the cup, in two-weeks’ time - with the most emphatic result of the competition to date. Message sent.


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