Essex League Division One B: Old Brentwoods defeat can’t wipe the smile off face of Dagenham’s Mark Collins
PUBLISHED: 17:00 12 September 2017
Gavin Ellis/TGSPHOTO c/o 27 Plaiters Way, Braintree, Essex, CM7 3LR - Editorial Use ONLY - FA Premier League and Football League
Central Park club began new campaign with tight loss, but were competitive throughout opening-day contest
Dagenham director of rugby Mark Collins was in good spirits despite watching his team lose 28-15 at home to Old Brentwoods in the Essex League Division One B on Saturday.
The D’s were hoping to make a positive start to the new campaign, but were unable to pick up any points last weekend.
Collins’ team were all set to bag a losing bonus point, but a late try at the death saw them finish empty-handed, yet there were encouraging signs.
“I was reminded after the match that the last time we played Old Brentwoods we lost 65-19, so our result on Saturday was not too bad,” said Dagenham’s director of rugby.
“We have made an improvement of around 40 points in terms of what we conceded and I couldn’t fault the attitude of the players.
“From the time they arrived they were as professional as I have seen us over the last three years, so that was great.”
Dagenham actually made an excellent start at Central Park and were leading 15-7 at the end of the opening 40.
After a solid first half, however, the D’s were unable to back it up and struggled in the second period.
Collins added: “We were 15-7 up at half time and we had squandered a few chances, but we were on top and moving the ball well.
“We matched them in the scrum, so it was all hunky dory at the break and we deserved to be in front.
“I was impressed with our start and we got a try early on, but didn’t convert it and then quickly got another and added the extras this time.
“They hit back with a try of their own and converted it, but we got a penalty before half time and scored that to give ourselves a nice gap.”
But despite a warning from Collins during the interval, his squad were unable to keep up their intensity following the break.
While the D’s director of rugby couldn’t knock the effort of his players, he was left disappointed with some aspects of the defeat.
“I did stress during the break that we need to continue to play for the 80 minutes, but we had a couple of contentious decisions go against us,” said Collins.
“We felt the ball had been held up on the line, but the referee didn’t and so gave them the try and you can’t argue with that.
“Then at the death it was a blatant knock-on and yet the referee didn’t see it, so we lost our bonus point.
“We said afterwards we felt we had missed an opportunity, but we did play well and did a lot of the small things we haven’t been doing previously.
“The guys are a whole year wiser and I couldn’t fault them on Saturday because we proved to everyone we are not going to be a push over this season.”
Dagenham are sixth in the table with Ilford Wanderers bottom due to a 10-point deduction at the beginning of the campaign.