Rugby: Dagenham make mark on Mersea Island
PUBLISHED: 08:52 05 October 2018
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Dagenham defied the odds to claim a hard-fought 34-30 win at Essex League Division One rivals Mersea Island.
Buoyed by their first win of the season a week earlier, their back line was hit by injury and unavailability.
But the reshuffled side dug deep, with new signings Dave Kitenge and Josh Cook impressing at second row and scrum-half.
A young pack put up a superb fight against their Mersea rivals and Dagenham hit back from conceding an ealry penalty to move 12-3 up.
Jermaine Darkwa went over on the right for a try, before Cook broke on the blindside from a scrum and dummied his way to the left of the posts to allow Jordan Calverley to convert.
Mersea cut the deficit to two with a converted try of their own, but Darkwa went over again after a fine move to make it 17-10.
The hosts slotted a penalty before the break to pull to within four points, but after a sloppy start to the second half from both sides, Dagenham went 22-13 up as Jordan Darkwa touched down after good work from Scott Ballard.
The gap was back at two points as Mersea ran in a converted try, but a superb driving maul led to Damien Collins going over for the visitors, before the try of the match put Dagenham 34-20 to the good.
Mersea won their own ball from a scrum and looked to attack on the blind side, but replacement number eight Jake Yellop intercepted a pass and sprinted clear to touch down near the posts, with Calverley adding the extras.
Another penalty and converted try saw Mersea get back to within four points as the match went deep into a lengthy period of stoppage time.
But a great steal by hooker Jack Warner led to a penalty for Dagenham and the ball was played into touch to seal an excellent win.
Yellop was named man of the match for Dagenham, who host high-flying Mavericks at Central Park this weekend.
*The seconds put up a fight in a 41-27 loss to Kings Cross Steelers thirds, as Billy Kelly, Jason Lindsey, Jack Andrews, Henry Fricker and Mark Newson all scored tries.
Dagenham: Wonderling, J Warner, Davenport (Garwood), Kitenge, D Wren (Rawlinson), G Wren (Yellop), Cook, Calverley, Ballard, Darkwa, Darkwa, C Warner, W Evans.