Dagenham started their Regional 2 Anglia League season with a 22-20 loss at Brentwood.

In a tightly-contested game, Dagenham had their first experience of level six rugby and will be reassured by their performance.

Playing downhill in the first half, the tone was set early with some big hits going in from both sides as Brentwood opened the scoring with a penalty.

Dagenham soon levelled after a fantastic line by centre Earl Gorman saw him hauled down just short of the line, before the home defence infringed and Tommy Cameron duly slotted a penalty.

The visitors began to assert some dominance with their forward carries, offloading game and powerful scrum through the front row of Taylor, Duke and Davis.

They were denied on the line on a couple of occasions by good defensive work by Brentwood, whose counter-attacking gained field position and set a platform for them to retake the lead with a good try from a lineout.

Dagenham responded quickly, again breaking the line through captain Nat Farrell and back row Brad Retigan, with a clean break by Farrell and pass to Gorman to go over in the corner.

Cameron added the touchline conversion to make it 10-10 and Dagenham took the lead just before half-time as strong work at the maul from the pack set the platform for Retigan to crash over from short range.

Brentwood started the second half the brighter, but resolute defence from Dagenham repelled several attacks before a fairly frenetic period saw both teams keeping the ball alive and counter-attacking in a great show for the spectators.

Dagenham moved 20-10 up with Josh Groom providing a show-and-go to score, with the conversion drifting just wide of the posts.

But Brentwood began to get back into the game with some smart tactical kicking taking advantage of the hill to gain field position.

The visiting defence remained strong but discipline started to suffer and Brentwood eventually scored a try in the corner after a quick tap five metres out.

Dagenham looked to be managing the lead well going into the final quarter, with good tactical kicking from Cameron and man-of-the-match Josh Cook.

But a small lapse in defensive concentration allowed Brentwood to make a line break and good passing found a mismatch for their centre to run under the posts with an easy conversion leaving the score at 22-20.

Dagenham battled hard for the final 10 minutes, but struggled for territory in Brentwood's half as good defensive pressure by the hosts kept them contained until the final whistle.

Despite defeat, Dagenham will take the positives of a losing bonus point away from home and a strong performance they can build on, but rue some small errors at crucial times.

They return to their Central Park base to host Stowmarket this weekend.