Favourable September weather often leads to early season fixtures being exciting affairs, and this one did not disappoint. Early opposition pressure saw a penalty give them a three point lead, but there were signs of ORs playing themselves into the match and a strong break by Ethan Monk, as well as crunching tackles from Rob Cheal and Ethan galvanised the Green and Blues. A disallowed try, following pressure on a Dorking lineout, showed that the fight was definitely on and that confidence was growing – epitomised by Lucas Stevens, who continued to build on where he ended last season, both going forward and in defence, as well as good hands and powerful runs from Aaron Courtney Walker and Johnny Bridges.
A blood injury to Joe Jenner looked unpleasant, however, as ancient Old Reigatians will recall, Jenners are made of stern stuff, and Joe follows in both his mother and father’s footsteps. This he proved by returning to the field to touch down for ORs opening try, after a superb run from Olly Guy had opened up the opponents defence. Although Dorking had scored an unconverted try in the interim, a valuable conversion by Lucas narrowed the score to one point.
Then followed the classic ‘switch off after scoring’, which allowed Dorking to breach our defence almost unopposed. The kick took the score to 7 – 15. With half time approaching, more OR territory saw Harry Plowman burst through the cover defence – again a strong kick kept us in the hunt.
The second half started with much of the game in the opposition half, although it was still evenly matched, and a fantastic run out of defence [Aaron] saw Ed Cox score wide out to give ORs the lead for the first time in the game. The kick sailed through the uprights [conversion of the day!]. However, Dorking are past masters at ‘leaving it late’ – personal recollections from a ‘last gasp’ defeat in a Veterans cup final many years ago – and pushed their way back into our 22. Despite heroic defence a try was scored, full time blowing as the conversion sailed over.
Despite the disappointment of losing such a close game, several things have to be put into perspective:
- Dorking are a National 2 league club.
- Dorking had way more experience [and years] under their belts.
- Last season the early Dorking pressure, which we sustained, may have caused heads to drop or ‘blame culture’ to kick in – neither of these things happened; we all worked hard for each other from the first to last minute!
There is also a squad, which will, hopefully, stay together and expand, with new faces, returnees still to come back and a growing maturity amongst last season’s youth. Exciting things ahead!
Coach, Steve Pilgrim’s overview: ‘Great performance all round; let’s back it up with a good week’s training.’
George Mitchell was allegedly unavailable for yesterday’s fixture as he attended polo in London. This has yet to be confirmed, although his previous misunderstanding that rugby tactics are small mints from the midlands could have some bearing.