Dorling upbeat despite play-off loss
TORQUAY Athletic's promotion hopes disappeared in the second half of their play-off game against Old Centralians.
The Tics led 7-0 until shortly before half time thanks to a penalty try awarded for a line-out offence by the home side. Matt Jackson kicked the goal.
It was not until 10 minutes in that Cents actually crossed the half way line for the first time and fully 24 minutes before they visited the Tics 22 courtesy of a penalty on half way when Torquay were penalised for a too early chase after James Wood's kick ahead.
Matt Lloyd had two near misses in the first half, which was halted for some time while flanker Jon Oliver was treated for a bang on the head.
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Oliver went off and was replaced by Tom Whitford with Alex Smith moving to the back row.
Cents started to dominate in the run-up to half time, keeping Paul Wood busy knocking them down.
Five minutes before half time the Tics were pinged for not rolling away. From an ensuing scrum five several low drives by their forwards ended with flanker Pete Willetts burrowing over. A difficult conversion out wide right was kicked by Liam Hemming.
Cents started the second period on the attack and when Tics were penalised on 43 minutes Hemming had a straightforward penalty to put his side 10-7 up.
Two minutes later Carl Turner replaced Simon Mabin at hooker, although the latter was to return to the fray later when Binmore retired with a leg injury and the pack was reshuffled. Another penalty for Hemming extended the lead to 13-7.
Quick ruck ball saw home No. 8 Rich Pinkney dive over to score his first of two tries. Hemming converted.
Two minutes later fly-half Dave Knight scored from long range under the posts after breaking tackles. Hemming's conversion made it 27-7.
To complete Cents' whirlwind comeback, Pinkney lined up on the blind side to take another pass from quick ruck ball to score from short range. Hemming made it 34-7.
On 70 minutes Cents scored their final try from a scrum five. Dave Knight scuttled over on the blind side to score.
Disappointment for the travelling Torquay supporters should not detract from an encouraging season, during which Torquay maintained a 100 per cent home record and lost games on the road only four times
Encouragingly, in a party of 21 players who travelled to Gloucester 17 had come through junior or colts ranks at the Rec.
Torquay finished sixth last season, so second spot and the play-off was a marked improvement.
Chris Dorling, the club's head coach, said there was nothing to be embarrassed about missing out on promotion.
"We prepared well, started well but were beaten by a better side," said Dorling. "That I can accept.
"This year has been a huge success for Torquay and I am proud to be part of it.
"I can only see positives from what we have achieved in such a short space of time.
"Watch this space as big things are going to be happening at the club."