DARTMOUTH RFC were drawn against Fareham Heathens RFC in the quarter-finals of the Papa Johns Cup, writes Dick Evans.
Dartmouth had to endure an eight-hour round road-trip to play the Heathens, who play in the third division of the Hampshire League.
Although Heathens were only formed in 1974, they can field three sides and have a large junior section.
It is said that their club name relates to them originally playing on a Sunday, when a lot of people were in church.
The draw was only made on the Monday and Dartmouth had five days to select a team and arrange travel to Hampshire.
Dartmouth took a strong side, but due to other commitments some key players were unable to make the long journey.
Heathens put out their strongest team of the season for this cup match.
The first half was a fairly even affair and Darts kept themselves in the game. At half-time, Heathens had a three-point penalty lead.
At the start of the second half, Dartmouth found themselves under the cosh and were losing by 17-0.
However, the Dartmouth forwards gathered momentum and scored two great tries from number 9 Tom Carter and Ryan Burrows.
Dartmouth were unfortunate to get a player yellow carded and played on with 14 men.
Heathens kicked another penalty and went on to eventually win by 20 points to 14.
Andrew Tomkinson, the Dartmouth manager said after the game: “Its Just the luck of the draw, that we had to travel so far.
“We underestimated our opponents who put a strong side out today. We did come back after being 17 points down but I felt that a home advantage in this game definitely favoured the Heathens. If we had played at Dartmouth, the score could gave gone our way.
“We wish the Heathens all the best in the semi finals.
“We learnt from this game and we will be a stronger team after this narrow loss. The Dartmouth team are all staying together next season and are committed on gaining promotion.
“We will now regroup and are looking forward to playing Plymouth Arguam in the final of the Devon RFU junior bowl.”
Player of the game was Dartmouth Prop Matt Meacock.
A big thank you to John Pope of the Dolphin Inn for providing players with energy drinks.
Dartmouth’s squad against Fareham Heathens.
Matt Meacock, Tom Clark, Dec Hammond, Tony Deburgh; Ryan Burrows, Lian Hitchcock, Ricky Seymour (captain); Phill Rawle, Tom Carter, Sam Churchill, Xav Picot; Jake Bridgwood (vice-captain), Jack Gordon, Josh Squires; Richard Lobb, Jack Paddon, Brogan Taylor, Luke Boot; Ben Bruckner, Leo Willey, Robert Varney.