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1st XV - Match centre

Dartfordians
Westcombe Park
Tries
B Smith, G Milligan
Penalties
J Cameron
Sat 8 Dec 14:00 - London & SE Division - London South 1 Full time

Dartfordians master pitch and conditions to overcome Combe

By

Dartfordians RFC 20-13 Westcombe Park RFC

Combe went to neighbours Dartfordians full of hope of picking up a victory in what was thought to be the first ever league encounter between the sides. That Combe would even manage a losing bonus point with a score in the last minute looked unlikely for lengthy stretches of the second half as Dartfordians mounted a mighty defence which left the visitors bereft of creativity.

The game was played on what can kindly be called an undulating pitch as Darts first team pitch was unplayable due to a sunken drain. The home side coped better throughout the match both with the lumpy terrain and the squally weather conditions. Darts also had two players competing for man of the match award with stand off and open side both putting in a hefty stint in the tackle area which stopped Combe in their tracks.

It had started well for Combe when scrum half Bradley Smith crossing after 22 minutes scrambling over after Josh Livett had made the initial line break. Darts were quick to respond winning scrum ball on Combe's put in as the ball ricocheted off shins, winning the penalty at the ensuing breakdown which was duly slotted. 3-5 to Combe.

It was pretty stolid fare for both sets of supporters. Darts had a slight edge in the scrums and Combe were a bit more abrasive in the loose as both flanker Ryan Hackett and centre Bryan Young were rumbustious in a number of thrusts at the Dartfordians defence. However the territorial gains came to naught and it was Darts who nearly scored when they put together a number of phases in the Combe 22 .

Darts did indeed score next with 36 minutes gone. Combe went down to 14 men when seeing yellow for an overly aggressive attempt to thwart a Darts tackle. The home-side put the depleted Combe defence under pressure near the try line and after being held up on the line succeeded in scoring with their next attempt.

Combe would have just about taken a 8-5 deficit but conceded just on the half time whistle when failing to clear a kick from Darts. The ball bobbled over the line on the uneven ground wrong footing the Combe defender. Darts kick chaser was on the spot to dot down for the try which was converted to give Darts a healthy 15-5 lead.

If anything the weather deteriorated in the second half and there was no chance of the crowd seeing any free flowing Rugby. Combe's cause wasn't helped when they again went down to 14 men when yellow carded for dissension at a scrum penalty. Despite the numerical disadvantage Westcombe Park narrowed the lead when striking a good penalty after Darts had infringed at the breakdown.

Combe were seeing a fair amount of ball but Darts were next to score on 65 minutes when winger Liam Brencher got his hands on the ball and swerved his way through the Combe defence to score out wide. The conversion was missed but Darts now led 20-8.

In the last 15 minutes Combe battered away at a resolute Darts defence which buckled but did not break until the final minute when flanker George Milligan crashed over from close quarters. The kick was quickly taken and when it missed the referee blew for time.

So honours go to Darts whose game plan in the weather worked well but moreover plaudits go to their defence which was rock solid for most of the game. Westcombe Park RFC battered away but there was the sense that some imagination or sleight of hands may have worked better even with the rain swirling.

Back to Goddington Dene next Saturday as the season turns the corner with Thurrock the visitors.

Westcombe Park RFC: Simmons T, Conlon, Forsyth, Clarke, Delderfield, Milligan, Hackett, O'Sullivan, Smith, Cameron, Hamilton, Young, Saffrey, Livett, Harrison

Replacements: Eames, Pass, Church-Mills

Match Report: John Vallely

Quilter Kids First Champions winner – February: Henley Hawks RFC

Key moments

10:00
Try Bradley Smith scores for Westcombe Park
25:00
Penalty James Cameron kicks a penalty for Westcombe Park
79:00
Try George Milligan scores for Westcombe Park

Highlights

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79:00 Try 0 - 13
George Milligan scores for Westcombe Park
50:00 Sub On
Dylan Eames is substituted on for Westcombe Park
50:00 Sub On
Nik Pass is substituted on for Westcombe Park
End of period 1
25:00 Penalty 0 - 8
James Cameron kicks a penalty for Westcombe Park
15:00 Sub On
Owen Church-Mills is substituted on for Westcombe Park
10:00 Try 0 - 5
Bradley Smith scores for Westcombe Park
Start of the game
Replay game

As it happened

  • Dartfordians
  • Westcombe Park
  • 0
  • Bradley Smith Try 10:00'
  • Owen Church-Mills Sub On 15:00'
  • James Cameron Penalty 25:00'
  • Nik Pass Sub On 50:00'
  • Dylan Eames Sub On 50:00'
  • George Milligan Try 79:00'

Team selection

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League round up

Other London South 1 results

26
17
Chobham
23
26
Medway
3
28
Sevenoaks
33
22
Tottonians
25
17
Cobham

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League table

# Team Pl Pts
1. Medway 23 96
2. Sevenoaks 23 95
3. Camberley 23 95
4. Brighton 23 95
5. Thurrock 23 70
6. Havant 23 61
7. Westcombe Park 23 60

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