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Dover 10-18 Gravesend
Realising that they were facing superior opposition, as they were allowed little room or ball to play with, home side Dover resorted to the usual desperate tactics of trying to close the game down to lessen their agony. With little other idea than to kick what little possession they did get, straight back to the safe hands of the Gravesend backs.
On what is probably the largest playing area in London SE One, and a pitch that should have been all that Gravesend wanted to play their fast moving expansive game, they came up against a home side that were content in spoiling G’s game plan.
Early missed opportunities from both teams place kickers, was rectified on fifteen minutes when Gravesend’s David Dorton slotted one between the posts for 0-3.
Although initially in charge at the set pieces, Gravesend’s line-out was not hitting the target, while neither XV seemed able to take charge at the break down.
Kicking the ball out of hand seemed to be the call for the day, much to the frustration to both club’s coaching teams, and the touchline crowds despair.
The better of the chances were going the way of the visitors, but some dour defending by the home backs, well supported by their loose forwards kept their line intact, until the seventeenth minute.
Having again got to within five metres of the home twenty-two, quick hands a accurate passing made the time and just the space for Tom Goss to cross wide on the right.
Dorton’s kick slid wide of the upright, but Gs had extended their lead to 0-8.
Another miss from the boot of Jack Ayling at the end of the first quarter was the nearest that Dover had got to scoring then with Gravesend’s defence out wide looking decidedly weak, a run from Blair Charge made more than enough space for Nathan Annakie to race in to touch down.
This time the easy conversion sailed through the sticks to narrow the scores to 7-8.
Any real pressure that was being put on was from G’s pack as their front rows drove forward but were met by some solid defending form their opposite numbers.
CJ Ozazuwa made some telling runs with ball in hand, but was closed down before he could reach the line. Ziggy Stevens and Adam Aigbokhae continued to force the game at the home pack, and it was from one of these drives that the latter was forced across for the touch-down.
Dorton who was having a nightmare of an afternoon added the conversion to edge Gs away to 7-15 with four minutes of the half remaining.
But Dover’s constant kicking game paid off just before the break as Ayling slotted over his third successful kick of the day, turning round 10-15.
Continuing their spoiling tactics throughout the second forty minutes, Dover must have been pleased to see Gravesend become the authors of their own undoing as time and again they spoilt good chances to increase their lead.
Stand out player of the afternoon, Adam Aigbokhae and his forwards worked tirelessly to keep Gs with ample possession, but little was made of this.
Admittedly Dover never looked like threatening the Gravesend line as they also showed they had limited options going forward, but excelled in a spoiling defence.
A sixty-fourth minute penalty was all that was added to the scoreboard to increase G’s advantage at the whistle and a 10-18 win.
Gravesend showed today that they have a lot to learn if they are going to go forward in this division, but they should also recognise that they have the abilities to come away with better results from better performances.
Also the unnecessary back chatting to the referee showed a lack of discipline and on another occasion may well have cost points, or a sin-binning.
Team: 1 Charlie Cutting, 2 Warren McKee,, 3 Marc Klus, 4 Aaron James-Nicholls, 5 David Brooke-Smith, 6 Ziggy Stevens, 7 Adam Aigbokhae, 8 Chukwuma Osazuwa, 9 Michele Zanirato, 10 Gary Gray, 11 Dave Dorton, 12 Chris Meddings, 13 Ashley Moorey, 14 Tom Goss, 15 Matt Bressons, 16 Temi Okenla, 17 John Luck, 18 Junior Rocket
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