D’s disappointed with draw at Mavericks
By Brian Wren
Points dropped puts a dent in promotion chances
Report by Ray Lagden
Dagenham visited unbeaten league leaders Mavericks, on Saturday knowing nothing less than a win would do I. Their pursuit of the top two and the slim chance of promotion
Mavericks won the toss and elected to play up the slope and against the swirling breeze, using home knowledge to their advantage.
Preparation for the game hadn’t gone well with a number of issues hampering the Ds but the coaches hoped this wouldn’t effect the lads too much.
Unfortunately it would prove to be well founded concerns.
Mavericks are a very good side with some fine individuals but also a great collective team, this coupled with the lethargic start from Ds didn’t bode well
Dagenhams pack took time to get going giving away ground to the effective Mavericks ball carriers who got behind the static Dagenham defence . Handling errors from Dagenham in contact handed the opposition possession and territory but amends were made by a strong Dagenham scrum who's dominance aided scrum half, the excellent Josh Cook, in distributing clean ball. However the ponderous play of some of our forwards meant little use of this was made.
Disaster then struck for Ds as in a ten minute period we lost Skipper Joe Parkin at Hooker, line out leader David Genovesa at 6 and influential winger Jermaine Darkwa all left the field with serious looking injuries. However the in coming Dave Purton, James Garwood and Tom Preston all stood up to be counted.
Both sides were evenly matched until a line break by Mavericks saw Dagenham miss tackles and struggle to track back resulting in a try for the home team . 5-0
DiscussIons behind the posts immediately saw results as play resumed with the strong Mavericks runners closed down quickly. Dagenham gained territory and with some strong ball carrying got within striking distance. Mavericks on the back foot conceded a penalty but the kick at goal was turned down in a bid to turn the screw an go for the line. Again handling errors saw Dagenham concede possession and come away with nothing. Persistence from the forwards and some slick passing from the Dagenham back line put full back Preston into space , still with a lot to do he managed to shrug off tackles to score in the corner. 5-5
Some strong defence from the Dagenham mid field began to impact the Mavericks distribution however one tackle was adjudged high with the ensuing penalty converted making the half time score 8-5
The second half started badly for Ds as Mavericks used their 1 man advantage, Nathan Farrell having conceded a yellow for a technical infringement, and pushed on for the first score of the half a try that made it 13-5 to the home side
However after more discussion behind the posts we once again saw dividends and chasing the game hard from the kick forced errors in the Mavericks defence and a yellow for for the home side.
The boys just were not performing however we’ve shown all season we don’t give up and some dogged determination drove play within striking distance and a converted try was scored by Frankie Neale, both the try and conversion to bring us back into the game at 13-12
Again Mavericks exploited the slope and breeze with kicks over the top but again indiscipline from Dagenham costed the away side 2 penalties and a 6 point lead.
With the game sitting at 19 -12 in favour of the home side and 15 mins left a chance to pull further in front was missed when a shot at goal was missed.
With time running out Ds finally woke up as our 13 game unbeaten run looked to be in real danger.
Dagenham began to turn the screw up front with some bullish forward play. Getting amongst the Mavericks pack paid dividends when the ball was held up ten yards out from the home sides line.
The resulting scrum saw Dagenham seize their chance to dominate and a massive effort saw the retreating Mavericks pack buckle to concede the inevitable penalty try. Drawing the game level at 19-19 with only a minute left on the clock.
The final minute petered out without a final score to leave Dagenham feeling deflated and knowing it will now take a miracle to gain promotion.
Coach Ray Lagden had this to say about the game.
‘This was definitely one that got away, too many players didn’t perform, we missed too many tackles, our line speed was slow and our attacking play ponderous.
We owe a lot to the defensive commitment of Lock George Wren who played most the game at 6 and sub James Garwood because there were times it looked like we only had 5 forwards on the pitch
Mavericks are a very good side but particularly our first half display let them dominate.
Our forward pack produced the goods in the tight late in but our open play up front wasn’t good enough
We still move forward but this has been a real wake up call for us and hopefully we’ll get a positive response for next weeks cup semifinal’
Head coach Brian Wren who missed this weeks game had this to add
‘We’ve commented on the fact complacency was a worry at training for the past few weeks and it seems we’ve let it get the better of us at the most crucial time.
Maybe it’s time to cha for things up
If our forwards don’t come to the party as a group in next weeks semi final against a huge Billericay Pack we could be in for a tough game’
So next week sees the Ds visit old foes Billericay in the semi final of the Essex Presidents Shield and the boys will need to put in a serious shift this week at training to get the performance we all want to see !
Team: S Jones, Parkin (Purton), Warner, Wren, Kitenge, Genovesa (Garwood), Darkwa J, J Jones, Cook, Calverley, Darkwa J (Preston), Pruce, Driver, Farrell, Neale.