Dorking 1st XV 52 Bracknell 1st XV 8
You’d have been going some to have predicted this one on ‘Guess the Score’.
“To be perfectly honest I wasn’t all that surprised” Dorking Skipper Armand Roux protested pitch side after this seven try bruising of a bewildered Bracknell. “We are definitely fitter than last season and I was always hopeful we would start in the same mood as we finished last season. And we definitely owed Bracknell after the way they took the points the last time they were down here” added the big South African.
Dorking’s continuation of this impressive run of form adds Bracknell to a slate of wins which now encompasses Westcombe Park, Wimbledon, Esher Cardinals and Richmond Twos in the Surrey Cup Final. Heady days.
Not that we are getting carried away. “ It’s a bit like when you have a really good first hole. I always worry the rest of it is going to be crap” former Chairman David Judd reflected finding metaphor from his demons on the second tee at St George’s Hill.
Dorking had clearly been motivated by the pre match dressing room address from President Ted Ivens. Ted chose to celebrate the 45th anniversary of his wedding to Annie to share his astute tactical guidance on the likely refereeing of the breakdown and to announce the launch of the Dorking Discount card to the team in the final few minutes before kick off. Whatever Ted said; it certainly did the trick
With Lee Wilmott in the house from the Dorking Ad picking up the match reporting duties, we settled back in the sun with a beverage or two and soaked up an astonishing first forty minutes to the season.
There was little early evidence of what was to follow as both Dorking and a pretty sizeable Bracknell unit showed intentions of moving the ball around. It also seemed pretty even stevens in the set piece with the welcome return of Greg Bateman complementing an impressive debut by young Tom Bristow - on loan from Bedford Blues - and an increasingly athletic looking James Catton in a dynamic front row line up. In fact it was another youngster Will Crowe who kicked it all off it with a quickly tapped penalty that found both the defence flat footed and Matt Noble on a great line to scythe through for the first score of the new term. The recently appointed vice captain converted and added a penalty to give optimism to the sizeable shirt sleeved support. As you would expect Bracknell came back smarting with a penalty score after strong running from Wing Alex Cannon. They then put several phases together to threaten down the left just in front of the flag pole, only for Richard Kemp to snaffle an interception on the twenty two and set off towards Box Hill. Kempy seemed to the world to be keeping the chasing defenders at bay and looked favourite to go the distance but feeling Bracknell breath on the back of his neck chose to step inside on the half way.”He should have backed himself. I would have.” Youth Chairman Colin Troughton commented somewhat incredulously. As the ball found Matt surrounded by several green shirts the chance seemed to have gone, only for The Chosen One to find time and space to release Alrich (Gerd?) Muller for a popular debut score following his transfer window move round the A24 from Old Reigatian. Bracknell were now starting to appear somewhat shell- shocked. Nicky Haigh was putting himself around and seeing lots of ball. Jason was equally prominent taking one high ball particularly expertly and setting off around and through several defenders for a strong carry. Ben Lucas and Mike MacFarlane soon found their wrecking ball form and frame of mind. Almost immediately Nobes was again in field position to work his magic first chipping delightfully for Lovey to time his run, collect and dab down and then finding a triple miss pass off his left hand picking out Ben Allard who put Muller in for his second. Most of the Bracknell pack missed the score focused as they were on a dust up back at the half way with ‘Arri and others. Chairman of Rugby Jim Evans welcomed the fast track start; “It took four bloody months to get a bonus point last year; now we’ve done it in the first half hour”. Thirty three minutes to be precise. And more followed in what was becoming the purplest of patches. Gary Johnston carried strongly, Will continued to dart and snipe and Muller found space to squeeze through and stretch over for a remarkable first half hat trick and the prospect of Clatworthy rum tonic initiation. With Bracknell all over the place at this point a kickable penalty gave Dorking opportunity to add three further points to rub in the increasing level of dominance. Roux instead went for the corner. Catton found Haigh and the pack marched the big Bracknell boys back into container corner and Will Crowe emerged with the ball and a big grin. Forty five plays three at the break. Who’d have thought.
We urgently need a volunteer to take over from Paul Mosley to coordinate the home match day programme. Paul has done the job for a number of years and has got it down to a fine art so it is a user friendly process. Please can you consider taking this on or identify someone who will. We need to find a replacement this week to take on responsibility for the Gravesend programme. Call Shaun or Mozza.
With news filtering through to Brockham that George Kruis had made his Premier League debut coming off the bench for Saracens at Twickenham, the second half turned out to be a far more competitive affair. Bracknell responded to what can only have been a hair dryer half time team talk with more passion and purpose and spurned several chances having worked their way close to the Dorking line. Director of Rugby Andrews withdrew Noble for Cummings and switched Crowe to ten who looked equally comfortable orchestrating operations. Rob Carlos came on for a trundle or two and there was a popular debut for Camberley Sean Olayangu replacing Bateman who received a warm reception from the Pavilion. Armand rolled up his sleeping bag and retired to the sin bin his impressive afternoon’s work done and Jason topped his man of the match performance cantering in under the sticks. Lovey converted taking the scoreboard north of fifty and lengthening any prospect of anyone cleaning up in the sweepstake. Bracknell’s improved second half showing was finally rewarded with a deserved score in the corner on a day they will look to quickly forget.
Director of Rugby Richie Andrews was keen to retain a sense of perspective after the game;
“Look, it was a great way to start the season, there’s no doubt. And it reflects the hard work the boys have put in over the summer. But there’s a long season ahead of us and we are not going to get carried away. There are a lot of sides in this league who will be a lot stronger than Bracknell were today. My call for man of the match was Alrich Muller.”
And so to Tring. We had an ugly day up there last time round and so travel determined to make amends. Meantime call Spreckers on 07900 218915 to book yourself in for the Gravesend Lunch on September 18th and let’s find someone to take on the Match Programme.
Dorking Man of the Match chosen by Bracknell: Jason Geldenhuys (W Songhurst Limited)
Dorking Man of the Match chosen by Richie Andrews: Alrich Muller (Sponsorship Available)
Squad:Ben Allard (Nutwod Physiotherapy) Gary Johnston (CVC Capital Partnrs) Alrich Gerd Muller (Sponsorship Available) Simon Love (International Sports Marketing Limited) Richard Kemp (Roger Parkin) Matt Noble (The Running Horses Mickelham) Will Crowe (Swansea University) Ben Lucas (Mick Williams) Mike MacFarlane (Sponsorship Available) Jason Geldenhuys (W Songhurst Limited) Armand Roux (The Running Horses Mickelham) Nick Haigh (Sponsorship Available) Greg Bateman (Sponsorship Available) James Catton (The Cooper Family) Tom Bristow (Sponsorship Available) Ollie Cummings (Jaques Construction) Camberley Sean (Sponsorship Available) Rob Carlos (Sponsorship Available)