Dominant Dagenham get off to stunning start to delight of director of rugby Wren
PUBLISHED: 16:00 24 September 2019
Dagenham got the new Essex League Division One season off to a superb start with a convincing 47-12 win at Canvey Island.
The D's expected a tough test against a side relegated from London Three Essex last season by a single point and seen as favourites for a swift return this time around.
But fourth choice hooker Christopher Warner, 19, produced a man of the match display for the Central Park club as they romped to a bonus-point win.
With a strong wind behind them in the first half, Dagenham couldn't get their game together, but the pack began to win some of their own ball and number eight Mitchell Sinfield drove his way over for the first try, converted by Frankie Neale.
The hosts hit back with a try in the corner, but D's defended well and forced turnovers, with Lewis Pruce finishing off a flowing move to make it 14-5.
Another turnover led to a try from the speedy Billy Driver, which was also converted to put the visitors 16 points up.
But Canvey opened the scoring in the second half with a converted try of their own, before Sinfield powered over for his second try,superbly converted by Neale to make it 28-12.
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Flanker Matt Viera was next to touch down from a powerful run and Perry Cook produced a superb finish before captain Nathan Farrell went under the posts for another seven-pointer.
Director of rugby Brian Wren said: "Preparation for the game wasn't the best, we've had a number of injuries and some unavailability throughout the week which caused a few concerns. We knew we would be in for a tough test and the conditions, in terms of wind, but also a horrible pitch, didn't help.
"Canvey have a huge pack who were very effective for around 60 minutes and constantly put us under pressure. Our back line gets lots of plaudits and rightly so, but our forwards had to dig deep against a very well-organised and drilled opposition.
"While Canvey had the upper hand our pack stood firm and eventually our fitness and pace out wide told for what is a fantastic win against a side I fully expect to be there or thereabouts at the end of the year.
"Our back line is a match for anyone in Essex and I mean anyone and once again they showed how clinical they can be.
"Frankie Neale had a superb day with the boot and controlled things well, and our back row competed superbly throughout. While I wouldn't say this was our best performance by any margin, we should credit constant Canvey pressure for this, you can't argue with a bonus-point win in your first league game."
Dagenham face Clacton this weekend.
Dagenham: S Jones, C Warner, T Bramley (S Clarke), J Garwood (J Darkwa), D Kitenge, M Viera, J Jones, M Sinfield, J Cook, F Neale, N Farrell, L Pruce, B Driver, B Allington, J Calverley (P Cook).