Dagenham resumed the league campaign in 2024 on the road to Holt, hoping to get their season back on track after a series of disappointing results. Unfortunately, the hosts were equally eager to gain revenge for the big defeat they suffered in the previous meeting of these two sides at Central Park. Holt started the brighter of the two sides, with a smart tactical kicking game keeping the visitors pinned in their half. Eventually, a penalty provided good field position and Holt drove over the line for the first try of the game; the conversion was missed. As the rain began to fall, the two teams contested possession around halfway, with some heavy tackles going in from both sides. Holt soon had the opportunity to extend their lead through a kickable penalty, 8-0. Dagenham responded well, with line breaks from Ben Davis and Dylan Pena stressing the hosts defence. This lead to a penalty in front of the posts, which centre Lewis Pruce stepped up to convert to reduce the arrears. The half ended with Dagenham ferociously defending their own line, man-of-the-match Will Knowlden putting in a number of key tackles before Evan Westcott won the relieving turnover to bring the half to a close.
Trailing by only 5 points at the break, Dagenham would have felt relatively confident that the win was still within their grasp. Unfortunately, the challenge was soon made harder after they were reduced to 14-men after being shown a yellow card for a high tackle. This was further compounded when the referee again reached for his card for another high tackle shortly after. Now down two players, the D’s were going to be hard-pressed to defend their line against a confident Holt side. Despite this, they made a valiant effort, until eventually the deadlock was broken; a series of good offloads by the Holt backline sent their winger over under the post for an easy conversion. To their credit, the D’s struck back quickly - captain Farrell making a great break to be hauled down just short of the line. After a couple of recycles, Ben Davis crashed over for a well-earned score. Pruce’s conversion attempt just pulled wide of the uprights, to leave the score at 15-8. After another protracted period of contested possession, Holt managed to extend their lead through a try conjured from nothing; their centre put a long kick through and managed to beat the cover to dot down under the posts. Despite the set-back, Dagenham continued to battle hard; late call-up and first-team debutante Paul Grint making a positive impact off the bench. Unfortunately however, it was Holt with the decisive score - a good maul drive setting the platform for the ball to be spread and their winger to score under the posts again. Dagenham did manage to respond shortly after, with a score from Earl Gorman running a good line, but time was against them. An excellent final defensive set from Holt prevented the D’s from taking a losing bonus point, with the game ending 29-15.
Dagenham will look to regroup ahead of hosting Thurrock at Central Park on Saturday.