Following the thrilling draw against Gravesend last weekend, OC’s were looking to build and improve on this with a trip down to Dover.
After negotiating the tricky descent from the changing rooms, OC’s were ready to make their mark. The opening exchanges were positive, with the forwards showing their dominance early on resulting in a penalty in front of the sticks, easilytaken by Jack Potter. With the strength of OC’s pack being evident and Dover’s scrum buckling under the pressure, it was not long before OC’s took advantage and were once again in Dover’s half. A kick to the corner and a well-constructed driving maul resulted in an early try for Chris O’Malley and OC’s being 0-10 up within the first 10 minutes. The positive intent continued and Dover’s ill-discipline meant that OC’s had plenty of opportunities to extend the lead, which we were able to stretch to 0-17.
However, for all of OC’s good work, defensive lapses were beginning to give Dover a sniff of getting back into the game. Ultimately, holes in the defence and quick off-loading by Dover saw them cross over their first try. The conversion was missed, but OC’s lead was now cut to 12. Not long after the resulting kick-off OC’s found themselves defending their line again, and for all of the forward dominance, allowing another Dover try would have been disheartening. The goal-line defence stepped up, creating a turnover and meant OC’s went into the break 5-17 up.
The second half saw OC’s go back to the basics, with the forwards once again leading the way and putting us on the front foot. It wasn’t long before we were back in Dover’s 22 and driving towards the try. In the resulting phase play, Conor Gray picked a great line and dived over to increase the lead to 24-7. With our tails up, the Dover defence tiring and the search for the bonus point try, OC’s started to exploit some gaps in the outside channels, gaining good yards and field position. The lineout and tight phase play came to the fore once again with Conor Gray dotting over for his quick-fire double. It wasn’t long after this that OC’s bagged their fifth, Josh Doughty sniping round the blindside to give OC’s a comfortable 5-34. After building up this cushion, OC’s were now looking to put Dover to the sword, but following a strange period of the game, three of the OC’s players ended up in the bin for three different infringements (two for holding on in attack). Having the lead and only 12 men on the pitch could have allowed OC’s to take their foot off the gas, but some heroic defence prevented Dover from crossing the whitewash. Eventually the final whistle was blew and OC’s were convincing winners 5-34, taking maximum points and continuing the recent strong performances.