Dorking u18 Girls 15 - Basildon 48
By Bob Davies
Dorking hosted three age groups from Basildon this afternoon, with the U18’s playing in a 12 a side match in what ended up a reversal of our victory over Warlingham last week. Basildon received our kick off and then proceeded to keep possession for 8 minutes and scoring two tries. When Dorking did finally get hold of the ball we were quickly closed down and would then lose the turnover - quick movement wide by their strong 10 and centres would then send their very rapid and elusive wings off with Dorking defenders desperately tracking back. Grace pulled them back on three occasions, but their ability to absorb our pressure and quickly turn defence into attack saw another 4 tries scored...we had a couple of chances to score, with a tap penalty 8 metres out stopped as all their players were miles off side...the ref was unsighted and again the ball moved wide and another try. We turned around at half time and now playing up the hill could have faced another heavy barrage of tries, but actually Dorking played better, we closed them down more, we stood a little deeper in attack and then scored three tries of our own to just one from Basildon - Grace, Amber and Alia scoring some really well supported tries. We could of had two more, but we dropped the ball over the line twice.
The final score was Dorking 15 - Basildon 48, but their coaches were quick to point out their team played above average and our girls never gave up and gave them a hard game.
By Pip Merrett
Basildon brought 10 players with them and as Dorking only had 8 available, we invited Warlingham to join us and make up numbers. The Warly girls were divided up between the two clubs and this allowed us to play 14 a side; a rare occurrence for many girls teams.
We knew it was going to be a tough match. Basildon were used to playing 15 a side and had progressed through to the U15 National Cup Regional Quarter Finals having comfortably won all their first round matches. With several of our players trying out new positions, unfamiliar team mates and a full size pitch, it could have been rout! However, the Dorking and Warlingham girls gelled from the start and although they faced a battle, they gave a good account of themselves.
Basildon had some strong players and their experience showed with some charging runs, good support play and effective rucking to retain the ball. We didn't always make it easy for them however and they had to work hard for their tries. Some strong tackling from the Dorking contingent and effective ripping of the ball in the first half meant we got a few turnovers and tries of our own, with the half time score being 15 - 22 to the visitors.
The second half was tougher as Basildon had got into their stride and were playing down the slope, and the Dorking girls were showing signs of fatigue. They still put up a fight however and there were some lovely passages of play when they took the ball into contact, recycled it and got it moving out wide to make good ground. The ball was spilled a few times by both teams however, and Basildon were generally quicker at taking advantage of the loose ball. We started to hang back a little in defence, thus allowing them to build up speed and they scored a few easy tries to finish.
Final score was thought to be 22 - 44 to Basildon, but given the inexperience of the Dorking girls at playing 14 a side and the strength of the opposition it was a good result. A real team effort, with everyone getting involved and signs of growing confidence. Tries were scored by Amy, Charlotte, Maddie and Shania, with Clara kicking a conversion.
By Patrick Armitage
The U13s continued their success in friendlies (that we now really need to repeat in Cup games) with a win over a spirited Basildon side. When we met them last year we easily beat them - they have clearly held on to last years players and showed resilience coming back strongly in the second half of the match. The match was quite scrappy at times - whilst it was a clear sunny day, the pitch was suffering from the recent heavy rain making a fast flowing game that we do better at hard. Both teams were tackling well, partly as the game was being played in the middle of the pitch at close quarters and the boggy state of the pitch was leading to a lot of dropped balls. When Dorking started to move the ball wider they found plenty of space and soon started making a numbers of runs, gaining ground and requiring Basildon's defence to scramble back and make some try saving tackles - however this tactic soon led to a score with an arcing run from Lilly who found space to the right hand side and made it all the way for a score. A similar score followed shortly after - this time Immy looking for space and again beating the defence for a try. Basildon got one back to bring things closer - then in the final minutes of the half Darcey scored a close range try, powering over in the corner. 3-1 to Dorking at half time. The half time talk was to keep up the tackling and rucking and to continue to look for space outside and use our fast runners.
From the second half kick Basildon gathered the ball, fed one of the speedy players who managed to score with a run from her own half evading all the Dorking tacklers. It was clear Basildon's tactics were similar to ours in terms of looking for space to exploit. Fortunately we got hit straight back - Immy taking the ball in the middle and with a very strong run managed to get away from a covering tackler to score a try. Two more Basilon tries saw them back level pegging - which fortunately Dorking responded to shortly after with two of their own, with Lilly and Sofia scoring. The final minutes saw a Basildon score after some sustained pressure, which again Dorking responded to with a final try from Sofia. 7-5 to Dorking at full time.
A good performance from Dorking - in the past we have struggled to maintain a half time lead when a team comes back and puts us under pressure and so it was positive that the players all supported each other and kept responding to opposition scores.