Beavers Fightback Though Lose at Darlington

So near and yet so far.  For the second week running Beverley were down and out and then came back superbly to get to within a single score of victory.  In the end they probably lost this one because they gave away too many soft scores in the middle period, principally through poor tackling and wayward kicking out of defence.

Once again they completely dominated the first quarter of an hour when Darlington could hardly get their hands on the ball as wave after wave of Beverley attacks bore down on the home line.  But once again for all their possession they could find no way through.  Too often the ball was moved along a flat backline to Goran Jelencic and Glen Walden on the wings who invariably found themselves with nowhere to go.  Eventually Beverley did get going but when it came the score was from the forwards.  A chip over the defence by Jelencic led to an attacking five metre scrum.  The pack drove over and touched down.  , playing at fly half for the injured Duboulay, added the conversion.

Once Darlington began to get possession their backs showed plenty of pace and, alarmingly for Beverley, found yawning gaps in the Beverley defence.  Within five minutes of going behind Darlington drew level with a lovely try from centre Robin Eatough from thirty metres out, fly half Gavin Painter adding the conversion.  Beverley began to lose their early momentum.  They fell further behind when a poor kick out of defence allowed home hooker Andrew Tonkin to wriggle out of a half-hearted tackle and run unopposed to the line for a second try.  Painter’s conversion took it to 14-7 and he very nearly added to it a minute later when a penalty attempt went narrowly wide.

Despite looking somewhat disjointed in the backs with too many passes going astray Beverley were making a good fist of it up front.  They turned round without conceding any further scores and at the interval trailed by only a converted try with the advantage of the stiff wind to come in the second half.  Sadly they immediately gave away another soft try when yet another poor kick out of defence went straight into Darlington hands and winger Matt Goforth raced down the wing from his own half to put Painter in at the corner.  This was just what Beverley did not need.

Darlington with their tails up increased the lead with another converted try from Eastough who left a trail of would-be tacklers in his wake as he swept to the posts from midway inside the Beverley half.  26-7 down it looked all over for Beverley but once again they mounted a terrific fightback.  The backs started to get it together and began finding openings in the home defence.  More importantly the passing became more assured and accurate.  The introduction of Chris Brant and Manu Kirkwood from the bench brought a revived momentum to the pack in which Dave Brant, playing in the second row, was having a particularly rousing game.

With the match going into its last quarter Beverley increasingly got the upper hand.  They took a Darlington lineout five metres from the corner and Tony Riby-French touched down as the pack drove over.  Dale added the conversion and suddenly it was all Beverley.  They gave it everything.  Direct from a scrum thirty metres out the irrepressible powered his way to the line to touch down for a third try. Dale converted to leave Beverley only one try adrift.  They came mighty close to getting it in a thrilling finish as Darlington desperately tried to close the game down.  For the second week running the final whistle brought relief for their opponents, but this was not much comfort to Beverley who are now beginning to need a couple of wins to lift them into the upper half of the table.

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