A tough day at the seaside for Darts
By Dave Phillips
This week we were back on our travels to league leaders Brighton
This week we were back on our travels to league leaders Brighton. On a sunny autumn day and a firm wide pitch the team arrived in good spirits aware of the challenge ahead. Brighton were out of the traps quickly and before the team had a chance to settle found ourselves 14 points down with less than 5 minutes on the clock. Brighton had demonstrated early why they were undefeated, each match with a try bonus point, so far this season their confidence was high and handling secure. A tough game had just got tougher. But Darts engineered an attacking platform and when the home side conceded a penalty Mike Briggs stepped forward to slot the 3 points to get Darts on the score board. This gave Darts a new lease of life and while Brighton were still asking questions of our defence Darts were working themselves into the game and produced a more even contest. Brighton extended their lead with a well worked try but Darts were looking strong in the scrum, often getting a good shove on which allowed pressure to be built on the Brighton try line. After several phases Danny Taylor found a gap and dived over for an unconverted try; narrowing the gap to 21-8. However as the half drew to a close Darts suffered to two telling blows, firstly Brighton scored another well worked converted score to extend their lead and secure the try bonus point; and the from the restart Simon Briggs was shown a yellow card to reduce Darts to 14 men for the early part of the second half.
Half time 28-8
The man advantage was well worked by the home side who managed 2 converted tries during the early exchanges of the half. But when Darts were restored to a full complement they did put together a period of pressure, but small mistakes or good home defence allowed Brighton to withstand the pressure. So it was pleasing when Darts once again mounted another assault on the home try line to see Simon Briggs go over for Darts second try; which reduced the deficit to 42 - 13. In the next ten minutes Brighton scored three unanswered tries, their offloading games being very effective at creating space once they had breached our initial defence to extend their lead to 61 -13. As the half headed towards its conclusion Darts continued to press and managed to create a well worked try for Ollie Edwards; with Mike Briggs adding the extra points the deficit was reduced to 61 - 20. The team were determined to try a secure a try bonus point, but it was Brighton who finished the scoring with another converted try.
Full time 68-20
Today was another lesson in life in this league, Brighton were a strong side playing an attractive brand of rugby; but we did show them glimpses of what this young side are capable of. After 5 games we have played 3 of the strongest sides (2 away from home) and while the results have not gone our way we have learnt some good lessons which will stand the side well as the season continues. The players continue to believe in their individual and collective ability; but importantly are proud to play for each other and the club. Man of the match for Darts was Danny Taylor who epitomises the spirit in the club.
To those who once again travelled to support the side, on behalf of the players and coaches a big thank you. A familiar friendly face has been welcomed when things are tough and your continued unwavering support is fully appreciated.
Next week we are again heading south as we are away at Chichester who won their first game against Havant this weekend.