THE first game of the new season at Heathbrook brought a thriller as DK and last season’s league champions Bromsgrove shared eight tries in an entertaining pre-season friendly.

Though neither team were at full strength due to a variety of holidays and illnesses, it was nevertheless an encouraging start to the new campaign for both with some excellent rugby being played.

DK controlled the opening minutes, forcing Bromsgrove onto the back foot. Gareth Bown was just wide with a fourth minute penalty and Bromsgrove gradually settled down and began to gain some good possession by virtue of their heavier pack.

However, it was DK that opened the scoring after 18 minutes with a quality try. Quick ruck ball inside the Grove 22 was moved quickly down the line for right wing Robbie Jones to crash over in the corner for an unconverted try.

Bromsgrove then managed 10 minutes of concerted pressure and with DK left short of cover their outside centre outflanked the cover to score.

Fly-half Ben Copson added the conversion for Grove to lead 5-7 after 29 minutes.

DK then regained the lead against the run of play in first half injury time when the ubiquitous Pete Knight turned over a Bromsgrove ball inside their 22.

It was quickly spun out to the impressive Simon Fletcher, whose flamboyant dummy helped him step inside to score. Bown converted to make it 12-7 in DK’s favour.

Still in stoppage time DK scored arguably the try of the game when a superlative 50 metre midfield break from Simon Fletcher led to quick play between Ian Langford and Nick Biddlecombe on his outside, the full back cleverly switched the ball inside for fly half Gareth Bown to touch down DK’s third try for a 17-7 lead at the half.

Bromsgrove were quickly back in the game with a try in the first minute of the second half, before pushing on to taking a 19-17 the lead on 48 minutes, as big centre James Lloyd Jones was allowed to trundle through a desperately weak tackle to score near the posts. Ben Copson converted and Bromsgrove were back in business at 17-19 up.

DK hit back immediately as Fletcher went over for his second try of the game to restore the lead.

But the home side suffered a setback12 minutes from time as hooker Adam Blackford received a yellow card for playing the ball on the floor.

Bromsgrove immediately made their advantage count. After driving the depleted DK pack back onto their own line, the home side’s desperate defence conceded a penalty from which a replacement Bromsgrove front row forward was driven over from the resultant tapped penalty.

DK’s Stefan Shillingford then nearly won it for DK in stoppage time as he broke clear, only for visiting centre James Lloyd Jones to make a superb match winning tackle.

Next week DK are at home to Hereford in the North Mids Cup (1st round)