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Under 13Bs v Old Albanians C - Away League on 30 Jan 2011

Published on Wednesday, 2 February 2011

OA U13 ‘C’ 17 vs Hitchin U13 ‘B’ 52 (Herts Middlesex League Division 6)

Team: Charlie, Toby, Dion, Freddy, Sam J, OJ, Taylor, George E, Sam R, Tom, Andrew, Nathan, Jamie S, Aaron, Will J

Subs: Jamie H (for Andrew h-t), Zac (for Jamie S), Huw (for OJ), Connor (for Charlie) – all second half

Tries: Freddy (x3), Jamie, George E (x2), Sam J, Connor

Conversions: Tom (x6)

Sunday saw Hitchin U13 ‘B’ back in action in the league away at Old Albanians in a game that they needed to win to help them start climbing back up the league. The match kicked off with Hitchin up and at their opponents straight from the kick off and it was evident from this barnstorming opening that the problem of slow starting wasn’t going to be quite the same today as in the past few games.

The course of the match was pretty much set from the kick off as Tom collected the ball well from an OA fumble and recycled the ball to Freddy who made good ground running through before being forced into touch. The subsequent line out was well won by Hitchin and the ball fell to Dion who also tried to force home an early advantage before also being repelled by the OA’s defence. Hitchin were playing with great purpose in all areas of the field but still needed to be alert as OA’s broke free from a scrum and threatened to break themselves before being stopped by a great tackle by Will in midfield. In the scramble after this Charlie ripped the ball superbly and passed to Freddy who then ran through to score under the posts. Tom converted well and Hitchin found themselves taking a deserved early lead. This was soon followed by a good collect and run by Charlie again but this time OA’s managed to rip the ball and despite venturing into Hitchin’s 22 for the first time in the half they were unable to progress much further up the field as Hitchin’s tackling kept them at bay. 

The forwards were in top form in the mauls and scrums and it was from a well won scrum that Aaron was allowed to break free to go on a blazing run before being held up but some good recycling and smart movement of the ball along the line quickly. This gave Nathan the opportunity to exploit a gap and make crucial ground before laying off the ball to Jamie who sped through along the touchline to score in the corner for the Hitchin’s second try of the day and put the visitors into a deserved 0-12 lead.

From the restart a great collect and 25 yard run from Will at fullback saw Hitchin straight back at their hosts and the recycling once again was spot on as the ball made it’s way to Freddy who went on his own 30-40 yard run before OA’s managed to halt his progress. But this was not before he released the ball to George who continued Freddy’s great work by forcing his way over under the posts despite some desperate OA tackling. Tom then despatched the conversion with ease and Hitchin stretched their lead to 0-17.

It was at this stage that OA’s began to fight back as a series of errors by Hitchin allowed the hosts to press forward and very soon they were rewarded with a try of their own, managing to squeeze in under the posts following a penalty close to the try line. This brought the score to 7-17 and the Hitchin response was to send Aaron through on another searing run which was well supported by Dion before knocking on. The resulting scrum then saw a long advantage played as OA’s took the ball and moved it down the full length of Hitchin’s half to score again and peg the scores back just before half time. HT 12-17

The second half saw one change with Jamie H coming on at full back and Will moving into the centre to replace Andrew. The team were told at half time to start the next period in the same way as they had started the first and this instruction was duly followed from the off when Will collected well from the kick off and made a good run before going to ground. Good support from Taylor enabled him to scoop up the loose ball and continue the charge to the try line before passing to Dion who continued the attack and came enticingly close before being held up. In the ensuing melee the ball somehow spilled backwards to a grateful OA’s player who was able to put down and force a drop out kick. There then followed a period of play that saw Hitchin encamped in the OA’s half but the home side were able to weather the onslaught as a series of penalties again Hitchin helped them to prevent another score.

Despite this Hitchin refused to be denied and soon the pressure bore dividends as another well won scrum allowed Sam R to play the ball to Tom who exploited a gap in the OA’s defence with a nice jinking run before being halted. Fine support work by Taylor however saw him collect the loose ball and go close to scoring before Freddy once again took advantage by grabbing the ball and going over under the posts. Tom then converted the kick as Hitchin moved the score on to 12-24 in their favour.

OA’s response to this was to immediately force Hitchin to endure a period of play where they were pinned back having to defend resolutely very close to their own try line. This they did magnificently with Nathan in particular doing well to hold up the home side’s big no.11 and stopping him from getting over. Eventually Hitchin managed to win a penalty which Tom kicked well to touch and finally relieve the pressure. Hitchin then tried to break up field with Tom going on a run but from the loose ball OA’s came at them again, although by now Hitchin had regrouped well and were able to restrict the OA’s pressure to the less dangerous area of the middle of the pitch.

It was at this stage that the game started to turn in Hitchin’s favour when Freddy won the ball at a line out and ran through several OA players to extend the lead to 12-31, following another good conversion by Tom.

This spurred the visitors on even more as Tom ‘glory boy’ (Tony’s words not mine!) attempted an audacious kick after being held up following a good run which saw the hosts desperately hacking the ball into touch. The tackling by Hitchin in midfield was still very effective with Will, Nathan and Aaron all benefiting and making strong individual runs. Then however, somewhat against the run of play OA’s won a scrum and their big lad managed to force his way through strongly in the corner to pull the score back to 17-31.

Hitchin’s response to this setback was excellent though as Connor seized a loose ball straight from the restart and broke free with pace to move the play back into the OA’s half although they still had to be alert as a swift OA’s counter attack from a penalty threatened another home try before a great tackle by Zac forced the player and the ball into touch to extinguish the threat.

Hitchin were now playing with even more confidence and the continued good work at the line outs bore dividends as Freddy was able to get away once again. Excellent support from Taylor allowed the move to continue as Hitchin worked the ball nearer and nearer to the try line before Sam J seized the opportunity to place the ball down and score a well deserved try. Tom converted again and Hitchin moved into a commanding 17-38 lead.

By now Hitchin were starting to run riot and sure enough the next try came quickly after as George broke through with a great powerful run to score his second try of the morning and extend the score to 17-45 after another good conversion by Tom.

With OA’s looking to at least get a bonus point for a fourth try, Hitchin held firm and took advantage when the final try of the day came with Taylor once again making good ground before offloading wonderfully to Connor who surged through to score a try that was well deserved for his efforts since coming on. Tom then rounded off a fine morning’s kicking display with the conversion that put the final points of the day on the board and rounded off an emphatic Hitchin win. FT 17-52. This took us up to 3rd in the league. Due to a misunderstanding about HML rules, we recorded the score as 17-45, but we hope to clear this up and have the true score posted. 

 In summary, a fantastic morning’s rugby in every respect – from the brilliant set up at OA’s through to the magnificent support from the sidelines (particularly from Tony, Nick, Jack and George who came down to support the team) and then finally to the play on the pitch. The entire side played fantastically well and finally were able to come away with a result that was perhaps a truer reflection of the performances on the pitch than we’ve seen in recent games. Well done all – let’s keep it going for the match away at Watford next week!

Man Of The Match: George E

Opposition Man Of The Match (awarded by OA’s): Taylor    


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