Sunday, December 3, 2023

Rugby: Thurrock edged out by Dorking



THURROCK welcomed Dorking for a third v fourth place showdown. It was first visit to Oakfield since 1992 when they suffered a heavy defeat losing by 42-3, although a lot of rugby ups and downs have been endured by both sides since then.

For the first quarter of the match, it seemed that history might be about to repeat itself as the home side started strongly, dominating possession and territory, led by their very large and very quick Number 8, Bradleigh Retigan and ably supported by the rest of their heavyweight pack. Outside, Thurrock’s attacking gambits mostly revolved around their centre, Mike Stanley . An early penalty from Frankie Neale and then a close range try from Retigan after 10 minutes, easily converted by Neale gave the hosts a 10-0 lead and the visitors were definitely on the ropes.

However, some respite came after the Thurrock wing Sam Boshell saw yellow for a late tackle on Ben Tyler and Dorking slowly clawed their way into the game, despite losing hooker James Catton to a knee injury. Basic handling errors prevented the increasing possession being turned into points until Alrich Muller finished off some broken play by scoring in the corner. Steve Mumford missed the conversion but added a penalty shortly before the interval to give Thurrock a lender 10-8 lead at half-time .

The second half started as well as the first had finished for the visitors with Will Crow going over in the corner and Mumford adding the extras. And it got better after 57 minutes when Armand Roux stole the ball from a Thurrock lineout, sold a dummy and scored from 15 metres out. Again, Mumford converted for a 22-10 lead and then added another penalty 10 minutes later, the visiting support started to relax and expectations rose for a 5-pointer.

However, momentum was lost when Ben Tyler got ten minutes for interfering with a quick penalty and shortly after, Stanley was in under the posts for a deserved try, Neale again added the conversion. Thurrock once again had their tails up once more was it too late. For most of the next ten minutes, Dorking’s 14 men were under intense pressure and were fortunate that the hosts missed a very kickable penalty which would have narrowed the gap to a single score.

The game entered what turned out to be 8 minutes of stoppage time with both sides going full-tilt for a bonus point. Play swung from end to end, Dorking hung on for the win, but the hosts had the last word with a long range penalty kick from Frankie Neale was the last kick of the match to earn a deserved bonus point.

TEAM: Neale, Boshell, Stanley, Madden, Hardy, Rudgeley, Cook, North, Murphy, Bevans-Royston, Michael Thomas, Ben Thomas, Cooper-Hicks, Timson, Retigan

Rep; Russo, Gorman, Jones

This Saturday Thurrock travel to Chiswick to play CS 1863 Rugby whom were (Civil Service)

Kick Off is 3pm


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