With two late withdrawals Daggers, as frequently has been the case for away matches this season travelled to Wimborne for their final league game short on numbers with Coach Ayo Fraser as the only substitute. They came up against a full strength Wimborne side and as they have so often done this season away from home they quickly fell behind. However, showing their now characteristic resilience and determination they gained a losing bonus point and were denied a fully deserved draw when in the final play of the game they were held up on the line to lose 22-15.
Daggers couldn’t have got off to a worse start when Wimborne ran the ball back from the kick off, forced a scrum from which they moved the ball down the line to score in the corner.
Daggers responded with some good possession rugby keeping Wimborne pinned down in their own half. After a series excellent scrums from the Daggers pack Charlie Samways forced a penalty which Jordan Neil converted to narrow the gap to two points.
The game was now evenly balanced and whilst the Wimborne half backs were creating problems with their intelligent passing and running the Daggers defence held firm. They got themselves into Wimborne’s 22 and a couple of quickly taken penalties were repelled by the Wimborne defence.
When Neil was forced into touch on halfway after good handling by backs the Wimborne flyhalf made a clean break and with quick recycling the ball went down the line for a score in the corner which was well converted. This was quickly followed by a third try when again the Wimborne backs ran good lines to score again in the corner, leaving the Daggers 17-3 down at half time.
The second half started with Daggers dominating possession and the scrums taking two against the head in quick succession and with backs and forwards handling well they were playing the game in Wimborne’s 22. After another dominant scrum the forwards took the ball forward and Stuart Burton was held up just short. Quick ball from the ruck allowed Samways to feed Andy Easton to score an unconverted try in the corner.
Daggers kept up the pressure from the kick off and when Samways put a long kick through into Wimbornes 22 Daggers sensed an opportunity to add to the score. Jude Appleton made a good linebreak but the ball went loose allowing Wimborne to clear their lines. Daggers infringed and from the subsequent line out their backs again ran good lines to score an unconverted try putting Daggers two scores down.
Daggers showed their resilience enjoying their best part of the match with Jed Gravelle and Samways working the ball well from a dominant scrum and with the forwards going through the phases, forcing Wimborne to infringe. From a quickly taken penalty close to the posts the forwards drove Hugh Vivian over. Daggers now went in search of the equalising try with the whole team involved keeping Wimborne in their 22. However despite all their efforts the opponents defence held firm to the point where they held Daggers forwards up on the line with the last play of the match denying a draw which their second half performance richly deserved.
The result means Daggers finish in fifth place but they can be pleased with the spirit of the team overall especially in their away matches where the punishing schedule after Xmas took its toll with injuries surely denying them some more victories. Their home form was excellent with notable victories over league pace setters Weymouth and Oakmedians.
They are now waiting for the cup draw when hopefully they will get some home fixtures.