Darts entertained Hove in a must win encounter against a team who have had some great performances in the last few weeks without much reward. Playing against a strong wind Darts needed to keep control of the ball and not allow the visitors easy yards to release their back line and after some initialcagey play Darts were awarded a penalty which put play into the Hove half. A good line out followed by a number of good controlled phases which eventually gave room for Tom Ball to crash over under the posts. Jonny converted. 7-0. From the kick off Darts put pressure on the Hove attack and forced a knock on and from that turnover it was Sam Allen who raced 50 metres to score Darts second try. 12-0 It was now all pressure from Darts and the confidence looked high and another promising position looked like it would be another try but a great interception saw the Hove winger score under the posts.12-7. Darts were unperterbed and hit back with strong continuity play but were held up over the line but were awarded a penalty which was taken quickly by Jonny who fed skipper Si Briggs who went over for the thrid try. Jonny again converted. 19-7. Darts were rampant now and despite Hove trying everything they could they couldn't withstand the pressure and it was Alex Vousden who scored the bonus point try again converted by Jonny. 26-7. Hove were moving the ball well but great line speed and strong tackling was keeping them at bay and when a clearing kick was well taken by Kieran Ryan he went on a mazy run from which Hove never recovered and after a number phases it was Smiler who went over for another converted try. 33-7. Darts were at this stage quicker in all areas and despite determined defence Darts were playing some great rugby and after some more good phases Jonny found himself in space out wide to score and convert to end the half with Darts holding a commanding 40-7 lead.
The first 10 or so minutes of the second half was a little scrappy with both teams continuing to throw the ball about but making some mistakes in the process. Darts went back to some tighter play going through the phases pushing Hove back into their 22. A 5 metre scrum awarded to Darts was driven strongly and this allowed Sam Allen to score his second try with Jonny adding the extras. 47-7. The tckling was committed from both teams and it needed a little chip through from Jonny to find space behind the Hove defence and Mike Briggs picked up the ball and scored. Jonny converts again. 54-7. It seemed a more even match now despite the score and as the spaces started to appear it was obvious that more scores would be forthcoming and it was Darts who pounced on a loose pass with Ollie making good ground and feeding Smiler who was held. Another great scrum saw Sam Allen score his third try and another conversion from Jonny. 61-7. Although it was a tough situation for Hove to find themselves in they continued to battle hard and push Darts deep into their own 22 and it needed good defence to keep the visitors at bay. When it looked like the visitors would get a score the good defence forced a turnover and Tom Selley received the ball after good passing from the backs and went on a great run before popping Jo Wheeler who went into contact. The ball was set up well and given to Paddy Briggs who looked like he would get the next try but he unselfishly gave the ball to Liam Brencher who scored in the corner. Jonny converted yet again. 68-7. As the match was getting to the end the visitors were looking tired having put in a great shift against a Darts side who on good form and when Jonny found space he attacked the line but great covering stopped him scoring but after a number of phases it was Mike Briggs who scored the final try and Jonny completed the scoring . 75-7.
A big performance from Darts against Hove who despite having had a tough season never stopped working and trying to take the game to the home team. The entire team played well but Player of the Match was Sam Allen who not only scored 3 tries but was involved in most of Darts attacking play as well as putting in some great tackles.
Darts have a week off now and hopefully will be in good shape to face another tough match away at Cobham.
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