D’s make history
By Brian Wren
Dagenham RUFC become the first club to win the Essex Presidents Shield 5 times !
Dagenhams First XV travelled to Harlow for the Essex Presidents Shield Final on Saturday knowing that they would be up against a very well organised Mavericks
The day started at Manor of Groves Hotel for a Cup Final Sponsors breakfast and this set the tone for the day
The conditions couldn’t have been a lot worse for rugby as a howling wind and sheeting rain peppered the pitch however by kick off the rain had abated
Playing into the wind the D’s took to the task ahead with ruthless professionalism adopting and executing the game plan to near perfection
Mavericks have had a fabulous season and would have expected to be on the front foot against a side they’ve beaten and drawn with so far this season however the Dagenham forward pack had other ideas
From the off the line speed in defence, coupled with the driving play in attack left Mavericks continually hammered back and from such driving dominence Dagenham opened the scoring as flanker Matt Viera, who had an immense game, smashed through to score on 4 minutes. Frankie Neale slotted the extras for a 7-0 lead.
From the ko the ball was again quickly recycled and driving phase after driving phase saw another chance created this time for fullback Jordan Calverley to touch down, Neale slotted again and after 8 minutes the D’s had a great 14-0 lead
The only sloppy play all game now saw first a soft penalty then an error in the line out defensive set allowing Mavericks to score an unconverted try for 14-5
The concern was that this may kick start the league runners up however it actually galvanised the D’s and on 20 minutes a driving maul on half way saw Dagenham end up knocking on, on the Mavericks 5m line. The resulting scrum saw Mavericks lose possession under immense pressure and joe Jones score another try under the posts from a scrum 21-5
Everything Mavericks tried D’s had an answer for as the defensive play was totally dominant.
It was this dominance that saw the centre pairing of Pruce and Driver cause mayhem in the Mavericks back line before fly half Frankie Neale intercepted a pass to score in the corner on 31 minutes and with no conversion this saw the half time score sit at 26-5.
Playing into the teeth of a gale the score line left everyone flabbergasted yet the coaches insisted on more and all he boys duly delivered
The next score came from the quite superb Joshua Cook. Who jinked and jostled his way around a plethora of tacklers before touching down for the try of the match on 45 minutes which was converted by Neale 33-5
The game was now over as a contest but Dagenham weren’t done. More awesome defensive work from both Pruce and Driver saw the balled spilled into the hands of wing Jermaine Darkwa for a lead of 38-5 before a super bit of skill from replacemt second row Daniel Wren set up our next score.
Again it was the defending that pressurised Mavericks into a series of mistakes resulting in their 10 knocking on, rather than trying to stoop to collect the ball, Wren (claims to have seen) saw Jordan Darkwa to his left and deftly chipped the ball into his hands for an audacious score, the back flip in celebration suited the score and with the conversion by Neale the score stood at 45-5.
The final score of the game was quite fitting as player coach Lewis Pruce powered over for a well deserved try and a final score of 50-5.
So Dagenham became the first team in Essex to win the Shield 5 times and make their own little piece of history
Head coach Brian Wren had this to say after the game
‘We were immense today, Mavericks had only conceded 137 points all season so to score 50 was quite some feat.
We worked hard in the weeks leading up to the final to make sure we executed a game plan and it worked perfectly.
We couldn’t have asked more of the boys from 1-22 they were excellent.
This season has been immense and I truly believe this squad will take the club forward over the next few years into much bigger and better things.
The effort and commitment this season from all the players and coaches has been immense. We have got better and better game on game and fully deserve that win.
It’s now time for a rest, some reflection on what we need to do to improve next season and then to get back at it as soon as possible.
What a fantastic end to the season with the best performance definitely saved for last. Mavericks weren’t in the game and that’s because we did our homework and executed brilliantly.
Team: Jones S, Parkin (Connors) Warner, Kitenge, Wren G (Wren D), Viera, Darkwa, Jones J (Westcot), Cook J, Neale, Darkwa (Matthews) Pruce, Driver, Smith (Cook P) Calverley
Subs not used: Rawlinson, Power