All square at Goddington Dene as Combe continue to battle relegation
Westcombe Park RFC 24-24 Dorking RFC
As the season draws to a close, matches at Goddington Dene seem to be
getting tighter and tighter. The game against Dorking was no exception
and, with some clearer heads, Combe might have won a hard fought and
occasionally feisty affair. Combe's strike runners are having a huge
impact these days and this week it was Dan Hamilton's turn to claim the
hat-trick following White's triple against Hertford.
The visitors were first to threaten the try line with a 5m scrum and
then an attacking line out. Combe messed up Dorking ball and gained 60
metres, then exerted pressure in the resultant scrum to win the penalty.
Dorking could only hold out by illegal means and a yellow card was shown
for a deliberate knock-on. Combe's scrum was very much in the ascendancy
and this lead to the first score. A clean heel allowed scrum half Ed
Durkin to loop the defence and feed Dan Hamilton to jink in for the
score which was expertly converted by Cameron.
Combe quickly extended this 7 point lead. Lock Clarke soared to take the
re-start cleanly, the ball was re-cycled to danger man White who broke
from the Combe half and made serious inroads into Dorking territory. He
had the nous to locate Hamilton who sailed in for his second score.
Combe 12 Dorking 0.
Dorking continued to struggle at scrum time and the clean ball home side
was winning allowed them to set up good running lines. When one attack
was halted illegally some unpleasantness ensued which resulted in yellow
cards being shown to both teams. Dorking were better to react to this,
scoring a penalty on the 35 minute mark. Combe then launched what looked
like the final attack of the half but when the ball ricocheted from a
kick through on the half way line, Dorking picked up and ran through for
a converted try.
Half-time WPRFC 12-10 Dorking RFC
Combe started the second half on the front foot and prop Saunders had a
good trundle up the middle which was halted by a judicious tap tackle.
Not to be outdone fellow prop Forsyth executed an audacious dummy/shimmy
to keep Combe moving forward.
Combe flanker and man of the match Milligan was putting in a heavy
shift, reading the game well and making all the correct decisions.
Pressure told on the 48 minute mark. Combe's backs moved the ball down
the line and White did well to scoop the ball off his toes to score out
wide right to extend the home side's lead to 17-10.
The next 20 minutes belonged firmly to the visitors who scored 2
converted tries on 56 minutes and 68 minutes to give them the lead
24-17. Combe had their moments in this period but cooler heads were
missing when deciding how to make the most of attacking opportunies and
defensive escape routes.
The match entered the final 5 minutes with Combe showing the courage and
ambition which has been evident in the last few months. 76 minutes were
on the clock when dangerman Hamilton got the ball about 20 metres out.
He wriggled and forced his way through a number of attempts to tackle
him to score close to the posts. Cameron nervelessly slotted the
conversion to bring the scores level.
Come weren't finished and gradually worked the ball out of their half
after the re-start. Dorking resorted to illegal means to stop the
attack, coughing up the penalty and a yellow card. Combe were ambitious
tapping the penalty from around the 10 metre line but the attack fizzled
out to leave the scores level at the final whistle.
So close for Combe but the 3 points bring the Goddington Dene side level
on points with Shelford. With three games to go Combe are still in with
a shout to avoid the drop but whatever happens it will be close. Combe
finish the season with home games against Tring and Southend and it
would be great if there was a strong and solid home support to spur the
Westcombe Park RFC: Saunders, J. Bonner, Forsyth, Clark, Calohard,
Milligan, Sullivan, O'Sullivan, Durkin, Cameron, Hamilton, D.Bonner,
White, Simmons, Robinson
Replacements: Eames, Springer, Thomas
Match Report: John Vallely