Dorking 1st XV 36 Havant 1st XV 12
The result of this week’s caption competition is the following;
“The best thing about playing rugby with Jim Evans was;
3rd ………….he always picked me
2nd ………….he inspired me to a state of total fitness
1st …………..he was the only person who could get Craig Greville to buy a round…”
Saturday saw no fewer than ten Club Captains among the many former players gathering for a reunion lunch at the ‘Bar with no Beer’ at the weekend. Skippers from across five decades had gathered to praise the new generation starting from the sixties, with Ted through to the noughties with Saus and Newks. Such was the level of mutual respect for old comrades, that on introducing each captain to their colleagues, three were booed, two saluted former team mates with a flurry of V signs and four had food thrown at them. The Brotherhood of Dorking Rugby.
Matt did the pre match interview for the increasingly peadiatric assembly, movingly revealing that his childhood heroes had been Colin Skinner, a kind of small market town Jean Pierre Rives, the mercurial ‘Stevey G’ Giles, but above all Jim ‘The Power’ Evans.
We’d had a niggling feeling about this one. After the giddy heights of the win over Hertford would we be able to build back up to the necessary performance levels to handle a competitive Havant who had had a couple of decent results in the early season shake out?
Spirits lifted when first George Kruis turned up with Coops to support on a weekend of from Saracens and then it turned out the referee was an O’Grady – and a lawyer – Matt’s antecedents hailing from Galway back in the day. Maybe that was why we ran out of Guinness……
We’d also thought Tom would be unavailable because of his Geography field trip (no honestly) but when it was cancelled – double booking on the limestone pavement presumably – he returned to the bench, with Jesus keeping his place at tight head and Greg Bateman returning on the other side of the scrum. Mike Mac was ruled out with injury which shuffled Harry Watts into the back and Rob Carloss into the second row. Stewey Fee came in for Kempy at centre and teenage sensation Ryan Jeffrey joining Tom and Wolfie in the dug- out.
Havant started pretty brightly and arguably the better. Wayne John looked composed at ten and most of the play came through big Graeme Frith at the base of the scrum. In the early phases we needed a couple of strong tackles from Spencer and Ben Lucas to keep the seasiders at bay. After a terrific steal against the head and a couple of missed touch finders we eventually started to get it down and play more familiar patterns. Jason – who has been on sparkling form all season - had a fantastic forty metre break only to go to ground as the defenders scrambled back to block the scoring pass. It was to be a brief let off as from first phase Matt disguised the pass to bring Terrors in on a terrific line to glide through for the games first and his dozen for the campaign to date. Lovey converted. Despite bagging the first score, this was still a full on contest. Havant’s Rich Dukes combined cleverly with James McSeveney who claimed a well taken try down in the far corner at the bottom of the hill. With the two teams now going toe to toe, Matt chipped through only to see the ball agonizingly bobble beyond the dead ball line before he could get hands to it. Armand had the first of his big dog bursts up centre field leaving a scene of devastation in his wash. The rest of the pack took their cue and after some fine interplay with Rob, Ben and Ben, including a lovely blind pass from the Bateman, Harry found clear blue water to the line. Lovey again converted to take us to the break two scores to one up.
Talk on the terraces during the intermission was all about the soon to be issued Club Membership Card – sponsored by Fix Auto Dorking – and through which recession busting discounts can be obtained at various retailers and other service providers across the town.
Jonah explained smugly that the technology was now in place so we can track the spending habits and retail preferences of members through the card system.
In the second session we started to see some more of the flair and form that had done for Hertford the previous week. Ollie was conducting affairs confidently from nine. Ben and Harry were right in the thick of it and Havant seemed to be starting to struggle to stay in touch, firstly coughing up a couple of penalties for Lovey to stretch out the lead and then allowing Armand to rampage regally through the middle to find Stuart who put Gary Johnston over and give Lovey an opportunity to bag the extras once again. 27 -7. Havant did hit back with a really well worked try of their own expertly navigating through a number of phases for Gavin Hart to crash over up at the top of the hill. But the prospect of this being a banana skin was put beyond doubt through the power of the pack. With Tom on for Jesus, and Ash Wheeler the big Havant three in the sin bin, the diminished Havant pack couldn’t cope with the pressure applied by the young Dorking eight. Havant conceded a succession of penalties as they were shunted backwards at speed and eventually exhausted Mr O’Grady’s patience who had no hesitation in awarding a penalty – and bonus point – try. Ryan came on for Stuart. ‘Arri and Gary both put in a couple of smack down tackles extracting “Jesus God, did he kill him?” from the Northern Irish brogue of the Mini Youth Chairman. Greg, James and Spencer all carried for distance as the off loads frequently found Dorking support. Fittingly the finale fell to Matt, The Chosen One selflessly put over by Ryan providing an assist on his first fifteen debut.
Director of Rugby Richie Andrews said after the game; “Once again we played with a massive amount of heart and no little skill, and we were able to score tries from set moves as well as a result of some fabulous off the cuff rugby. Throw in a penalty try and we had the set on Saturday. Next week with be a huge test up at Ampthill especially for our young pack. That said nothing has troubled them so far, so we will go there with a good degree of belief.”
Next stop Ampthill. Grab your coat.
Man of the Match: Harry Watts (Abacab Dorking Taxis)
Squad: Steven Richards ( Ben Allard) Gary Johnston (CVC Capital Partners) Simon Love (International Sports Marketing) Stuart Fee (Sponsorship Available) Mike Terelak (The Falklands Four) Matt Noble ( The Running Horses, Mickelham) Ollie Cummings (Jacques Construction) Ben Lucas (Mick Williams) Harry Watts (Abacab Dorking Taxis) Jason Geldenhuys (W Songhurst Limited) Armand Roux (The Running Horses Mickelham) Rob Carloss (Gary Bell) Ben Knight (Julian Baimbridge) James Catton (The Cooper Family) Greg Bateman (The Running Horses Mickelham) Tom Bristow (Sponsorship Available) Ben Puttick (Peter Puttick Painting and Decorating Services) Ryan Jeffrey ( Reigate Grammar)