With weeks of disruption from adverse weather, both Guildford and Dorking we ready to get back to the job of playing rugby, despite the imminent threat of going into lockdown due to Covid-19. Dorking had trained with Guilford before and we knew they were a lively team and a threat in attack. Our game plan was to throw down the gauntlet in the first 10mins and dominate them at the breakdown, be strong and organized in defense and attack with depth and support.
Dorking won the toss and elected to receive the ball. The players went out with everything blazing and immediately had Guildford on the back foot. There were some jittery nerves though and knock-on advantage switched regularly between both teams. As things settled down Dorking started to make ground further into the Guildford half and after a sustained attacking set Eddie Clifford-Jones sliced through with a storming run and a couple of strong hand-offs to put Dorking 1-0 up after 8mins. Dorking was now charged up, putting pressure on the Guildford attack and forcing errors to win the ball back.
After a couple of good phases and some excellent defense from Guildford, Dorking started building up the pressure again in the 15th minute. Guildford defense was being put to the test and gaps were starting to open, leaving Shaun Cockburn the opportunity to snake through at the 25m and sprint to the line with 3 Dorking players in support.
2-0 to Dorking and 3mins to go saw Guildfird raise their game and catch Dorking of guard with quick ball of the back of a scrum. The attack went first to the open side and was stopped by some big defense in mid field, but this left Dorking exposed on the left flank. Guildford saw the gap and surged into it at pace, and despite the attention of of 2 Dorking defenders, scored a super try in the corner. 2-1 to Dorking with the end of the fist half shortly after the restart.
A great first half from Dorking and a lead but Guildford was all fired up after their score. The Dorking plan was to blitz them in defense and catch them at the gain line, preventing any more territory loss or forcing the errors. Guildford had other ideas and were driving deep into Dorking territory. Suddenly, Guidford burst through and was on the Dorking line! Dorking threw everything at them to prevent them going over, driving them back 5m and in the process turning the ball over. The ball popped out and Alex Paes sent it downfield with a huge clearance, to eventually cartwheel out on the Guildford 25m. Pressure relieved, but Guildford was hungry for more and again returned to the Dorking half with some strong running. The boys were starting to show signs of fatigue and when Dorking made the final substitution they went on with a message "Let's get the job done"
A knock on by Guildford set up a scrum just inside Dorkings half right in the middle of the pitch. The ball was called out and Guildford's defence rushed, leaving an acre of attacking space behind Guildford. Shaun Cockburn saw it and punched a perfectly weighted grubber into the 25m. Cockburn and Max Waldron took off after the kick which was now 2m outside the Guildford try line. The Guildford player, so harried by the chasing combo of Waldron and Cockburn, fumbled in the tackle and Cockburn picked up the ball and flew over the line to score Dorkings third try.
Guildford were by now means beaten and Dorking did not take their foot of the gas. Some superb tackling down the touch line prevented 2 possible tries by strong Guildford runners. The earlier success of the penetrating grubber was still fresh in the minds of the Dorking attackers and in the closing minutes of the game another tumbling ball was sent into the in goal area. With chasing Dorking players within touching distance of the ball a Guildford player fly-hacked the ball dead. What was the refs call ...... A 7m penalty! Some may say harsh but the call was spot on.
The players huddled and devised a plan. Jake Challice ran onto the ball and crashed into a wall of solid defense, but with support on his shoulder and a final leg pump and twist he cashed over to seal Guildford's fate. The final score 4-1 to Dorking and a well earned win after weeks of cancelled games and disruption. Guildford played and battled hard and were gracious in defeat. It is always good to see the boys shout out an energetic 'there cheers' After elbow bumps and a team huddle the boys meet up stairs in the Guildford club house for hotdogs and chips and the coaches had a well earned beer. Thanks Guildford for a fantastic morning of rugby.
Team: Gorton-Lee, Janicke, Clifford-Jones, Cockburn, Challice, Kilfeather, Paes, Stewart, Benham, De Iacovo, Furlong, Conner, Thomas, McBride, Roberts, Kane, Treacher, Waldron.