Scrappy win for Dagenham
By Brian Wren
Tough encounter against a determined Clacton
Dagenham visited a windy Clacton RFC on Saturday knowing a win would cement a top 3 spot.
The reverse fixture would have suggested and easy day for Dagenham however even in that game Clacton had been a decent side playing some good rugby so there was no doubt about the challenge ahead
Starting up the slope and into the wind the expected Clacton onslaught was met with some defiant defence and after the opening forays Dagenham got some decent ball and attacked through several phases before centre Billy Driver opened the scoring. With Frankie Neale adding the extras Dagenham led 7-0
The next score came from a text book catch and drive as Number 8 Joe Jones went in for 12-0
Clacton now exerted their own pressure with some direct running and decent passages of play before 2 penalties, one a monster effort from their own half bought the game back to 12-6
This 10 minute spell would be Clacton’s only success of the half as Nathan Farrell scored a superb solo effort under the posts for a 19-6 lead
As the half came to a close Dagenham worked a penalty upfield and after what seemed like 20 infringements by the home side at both scrum and line out Josh Cook finally went over. With the conversion missed the half time score stood at 24-6
Dagenham hadn’t played particularly well in the first half and Clacton had fought for every ball so the team talk revolved around some changes to our patterns and a bit more directness from the forwards
For the first 25 minutes of the half the visitors duly produced.
Jermaine Darkwa opened the scoring in fine style out wide for 31-6 before a powerful run from centre Lewis Pruce which was duly converted opened up a 38-6 lead
The forward pack where working well and the set piece was dominant which freed wing Darkwa to score his second of the game 45-6 (conversion slotted by Neale)
Josh Cook then got in on the act again with a fine finish at 52-6
Clacton then got back into the game. Their never say die attitude coupled with some good rugby and powerful running saw them score through their replacement prop for 52-13.
The visitors then piled pressure back onto the home side as Farrell scored his second with some power running for 57-13 before Josh Cook rounded off a superb performance with a hatrick try under the posts (the Ash Splash was a bit dodgy though!!) 64-13
The final 10 minutes of the game were disappointing for the D’s as they lost focus and were then put to the sword by the home team. Who never gave up and got their rewards with 2 well deserved (if a little soft from a Dagenham point of view) for a final score of 64-27
So another 5 point win cements Dagenham in 3rd spot in what has been a very good season.
Performances of note Evan Westcot had a superb game at 6, locks George Wren and David Kitenge had very good games the stand out performer though was scrum half Cook who ran the show for the visitors and bagged a hatrick to boot
Head Coach Brian Wren had this to say after the game ‘I’m very pleased with the result and some of our play in the loose was excellent. First half our scrum was dominant and we did some good things.
It’s a little disappointing to see us fall off the pace a little in the later stages but to be fair to Clacton they are a decent side with some good players and they deserved some scores from the game.
We need to focus a little more on our work around the breakdown and not play so much rugby. We tend to get a little carried away when we get a few scores up and our structure falls away but another hat full of tries can’t be sniffed at ‘
So with the league season rapidly coming to a close Dagenham will need to settle for 3rd spot which is a little disappointing considering what might have been if we’d had the squad together from the start of the season
Team: S Jones Parkin Warner (Rawlinson) Wren Kitenge Westcot Darkwa J (Genovesa) Jones J Cook Darkwa Pruce (Cook P) Driver Farrell Calverley
MOTM - Josh Cook - Imperious