Cornish the cream on a clotted pitch
Injury-hit Dorking struggled to threaten but defended well.
After playing on last week's near perfect pitch at Old E's this one looked very difficult for running rugby. Barnes' minis had had some trundles in the mud on nearby pitches earlier.
The home team kicked-off down the slope into the opposition 22. Two more kicks followed then the visitors' backs had a run before the ball was dropped giving Dorking the first scrum put-in. This resulted in a penalty for Barnes, whose kick did not find touch. They fielded Dorking's third kick and got the second penalty at halfway after two recycles. The kick took them only to 11 metres into the half. From the line-out Barnes attacked wide and got the third penalty 7 metres out after recycling 3 times. This one was kicked for the second line-out 5 metres out. The ball was kept close at first then released to outside centre Cornish who crossed at 7 minutes. The conversion was wide.
The visitors kicked back the restart; Dorking ran the ball with 3 phases to get their first penalty just past halfway. The kick took them to a line-out 27 metres out. Their pack set for a drive; this broke up in the 22 and the ball was recycled to centre then 7 more times by the forwards before prop Obana got over not far from the posts at 10 minutes. The conversion missed.
Dorking attacked again after Barnes threw the line-out not-straight. A serious injury to one of their players interrupted the game for about 8 minutes. Barnes repulsed the attack and got back into the other half for a short while then Dorking's pack started a very good drive from a line-out and made 20 metres before being awarded a penalty. They ran this; were very soon turned over then quickly forced an error to get the ball back. They then advanced very powerfully putting together a dozen close phases to send fly-half MacDonald over near the posts at the end of the first quarter. He added.
Dorking cleared the restart to touch then stole the line-out. Up-and-unders were exchanged then Dorking put together 5 phases to get a penalty that was kicked for a line-out 30 metres from their opponents' line. Now the visitors stole a line-out; they soon tried an up-and-under that the opposition dropped. Dorking got a free-kick at the scrum and ran the ball and were given an extra 10 metres they then chose a scrum. They advanced further from that recycling close 3 times with 2 breaks to another put-in just outside the 22. After that they advanced again putting together 6 phases before the ball was dropped. Advantage was played and Barnes went wide. Cornish ran 3/4 of the pitch then seemed not to realise that he had support close and took a tackle in front of the posts. The ball was quickly recycled to wing Carlisle who ran wide towards the corner at 29 minutes. The conversion was wide.
Dorking restarted long; Barnes cleared to touch; Dorking took a quick line-out and kicked well to touch to 16 metres from the opposition line then stole the line-out. They went wide but not forwards then were penalised. The kick took the visitors to just inside the other half. Cornish made yards from the line-out before Barnes were forced into touch 13 metres out. Their pack stole a line-out and at first kept the ball close. After recycling they were forced back then the opposition were penalised 21 metres out. The ball was put into touch for a line-out 6 metres out and the pack drove over with hooker Alteirac on the ball at 35 minutes, further away from the corner but the conversion was wide.
Barnes secured the restart but then kicked out on the full giving Dorking a line-out just outside the 22. From it they put together 12 strong phases advancing some yards to get a penalty that they ran. They recycled close 3 metres out then after an offload the defence forced an error that caused the ball carrier to drop the ball at the half-time whistle. A key moment perhaps as they would next play up the slope in the second half without any points advantage.
At the start of the second half Dorking held their own then defended well before breaking into the other half with the help of a penalty. Then they stole a scrum against the head at 11 minutes and recycled 7 times close to get a penalty 11 metres into the opposition half and MacDonald kicked the points at 13 minutes to draw level.
Dorking continued to compete well and with the help of a turnover got back into the other half. They hacked on a chip through to the visitors’ line that resulted in a 22 drop-out. After a break by MacDonald, Dorking were turned over and Barnes kicked down field. A Dorking three-quarter then kicked the ball straight at the opposition scrumhalf Franklin who gratefully ran to the posts for his team to retake the lead at 19 minutes. Fullback Alkin added.
A few minutes after the restart the visitors won a turnover and sent wing Greenwood away into the other 22. The defence held 8 metres out to get the next scrum; after kicking for territory they lost a man for 10 minutes when a Barnes' player was tackled. Dorking defended well by stealing a line-out then a bit later got another put-in 5 metres out. The visitors got the ball from this scrum and got over the line but were held-up. Dorking got a free-kick at that and cleared to touch 30 metres out. The line-out resulted in a Barnes' scrum at the same place. The visitors' pack kept the ball in for a few metres advance to get a penalty that was kicked for a line-out 13 metres out. Dorking stole another one and cleared to touch at their 22. The visitors' pack again drove; this went down 6 metres out and fly-half Williams-Davies then chipped over the defence and, depending upon your allegiance, a lucky or unlucky bounce favoured Cornish who touched down not far from the posts at 32 minutes. Alkin added.
Dorking responded well and stayed in the opposition half for most of the rest of the game. They ran two penalties in succession before being turned over before the final whistle.
Dry, bright and sunny with 99% blue sky; windy across the very soft pitch but not very cold.