Brentwood 15 v 24 Dorking, London and South East Premier Division, 15th September 2018
By ALAN C. HUDSON
Dorking end Brentwood’s 11 month unbeaten run
Brentwood's long unbeaten league run came to an end on Saturday at the hands of Dorking Rugby Club, the result was in the balance until the last 2 minutes however and a losing bonus point was denied the home team by a fine touchline conversion in the dying seconds.
This was Brentwood's strongest opponent by far this season and showed the level of intensity and concentration that will be needed to consolidate their position in this league. They more than held their own however and indeed could have won the match, if they had been more clinical when 2 points down with 5 minutes to play and with a lineout inside the Dorking's 22m line things could have been different.
An even first half throughout, both teams looking to run the ball and take advantage of the perfect playing surface. It was Brentwood, through a Bradley Burr penalty, who took the lead on 15 minutes. Both teams put together some nice rugby, Dorking very quick to break on the counter attack and they took the lead on 20 minutes with a an interception try under the posts. The league new boys were definitely in the game and had gone close a couple of times but good scramble defence held them at bay. Tijde Visser, Matt Whaley and Louis Payne in particular had caused some damage up front and another impressive performance from Ed Hornby was halted when he suffered a facial injury and was replaced by Liam Batty. Dorking had the edge in the lineouts and stole a scrum against the head but couldn't break down a strong Brentwood defence.
H/T: Brentwood 3 v 7 Dorking
Brentwood started the second half strongly but couldn't turn their territorial advantage into points, they were punished on 55 minutes when a lucky ricochet off two players from a Dorking kick through landed into the hands of the opposition backs. Good handling put them under the posts to extend the visitors' lead. Brentwood didn't let that setback affect them though and put together 15 minutes of great rugby, firstly after a great lineout was secured by Whaley, Ben Patterson powered close to the line and Adam Thomas ran a perfect inside line to go under the posts untouched, Burr added the conversion and the deficit was now just 4 points. That deficit turned into a lead 8 minutes later, more forward pressure on the Dorking line with Visser and Billy Aldous carrying well gave the backs good ball, Tim Simpson fed Josh Stannard and the outside centre accelerated past his man for another eye-catching score. The conversion was missed but Brentwood now led 15-14 with 10 minutes to go. Credit must go to Dorking, however, as they showed great power and skill to force the play deep into Brentwood's half, culminating in a well struck penalty to take the lead again on 75 minutes. As Brentwood have showed over their 11 month league unbeaten run, they play for the full 80 minutes, a great Stannard break and kick through gave them the perfect chance to steal the match. Unfortunately on this occasion Dorking stole the ball expertly and moved up field and the chance was gone. The home team had one more chance to steal the points but a knock on on their own 22m line gave Dorking the ball and again they clinically punished them with a try and conversion out wide.
F/T: Brentwood 15 v 24 Dorking
A great game of rugby that showed Brentwood have what it takes to compete well in this league, Dorking were very quick on the counter attack and this was their main weapon in breaking Brentwood down. The home side were strong and organised in defence and the visitors struggled to break them down. If Brentwood can reduce the error and penalty count against them they will compete against and beat a lot of teams this season
Team: McMillan, Payne, Bevans-Royston, Whaley, Aldous, Killington, Bassenger, Amato, White, Burr, Hornby, Thomas, Stannard, Owen, Simpson Subs: Visser, Patterson, Batty