On a miserable day in SE12, we welcomed Dartfordians to Horn Park for the first time since 2016. They have traditionally been a very good defensive unit and that was to remain the same on Saturday afternoon. We welcomed Brendan and Woody back into the team who replaced club legend Andy Gardner & couples come dine with me winner Jake Carter respectively.
The game kicked off with both teams looking to assert dominance early on, OC’s started off slowly and struggled to breakdown the Darts defence who were flying off the line with good reward. We eventually managed to gain territory in the opposition’s 22 and made good inroads before winning a penalty in front of the sticks which Jack Potter subsequently kicked over. This was to be the only score for OC’s in the first half as Darts started to build pressure largely through their dominance in the scrum. After several phases, the Darts fly half attempted a grubber kick which somehow ricocheted straight back to him and in turn spotted a sizeable gap to run in untouched to make the score 7-3 to the away side. OC’s continued to struggle with ball in hand and after coughing up possession, Darts were able to add to their lead through a penalty kick, the score now 10-3. The half time whistle was blown and both teams retreated to the warmth of the changing rooms.
We knew a strong second half performance was needed to overturn the 7-point deficit. Unfortunately, the strong performance only came in the final 10 minutes of the game. Darts continued to show their dominance in the scrum which led to 2 more penalties being kicked over to make the score 16-3. This seemed to finally encourage OC’s to attack with power and pace from which we benefitted from, Darts were now under pressure and were penalised with a yellow card for a deliberate knock on. We kicked to the corner and after multiple phases were able to recycle the ball out wide into the hands of Angus Dalgleish who scored in the left-hand corner. Unfortunately, the difficult conversion was missed, the score now 16-8. After another yellow card for a high tackle, we were able to punch holes into the opposition defence, multiple phases ensued with strong carries from fan favourite Dele and AOM before the ball finally found it’s way to the Fresh Prince of Horn Park who glided his way through the Darts defence untouched to secure the losing bonus point.
This was to be the last play of the game with the final score 16-15 to Dartfordians. Well played to Darts who thoroughly deserved the victory, we look forward to the return fixture in March 2022.
MOTM went to the mercurial Will Smith who if I say so myself was bloody excellent! I’m sure the other 17 members of the squad would strongly disagree but what do they know…
Next week, we make the short journey over to Beccehamians where we will be looking to bounce back after this week’s disappointing result.
Will “Jiggy” Smith