Shelford 52- Hitchin 39
With this game coming with so much anticipation; will the boys get revenge on the team that they lost to 75-0 a couple of months ago, and would the team they faced be a legitimate 4s team or would it be a culmination of 2s, 3s and 4s. With the team warming up, a number of familiar faces were noticed but not the whole 15.
The game started with the high intensity the team maintained throughout the game and the outcome was definitely not going to be the same as last time.
With the ever vocal Colclough playing 9 and Iggy playing at fullback (and contributing more like an additional 10) the backs were able to get good clean ball and the link up with the forwards resembled the game play worked on during training. This forwards/backs link up meant the Dermot Coughlan would steam through in the corner to open the scoring for the day.
Although Hitchin managed to create a number of opportunities and continue to attack, Shelford managed to run in a number of tries to leave Hitchin trailing with half time approaching. With one of the last plays of the half Matt 'Lippy' Lippard who was a live wire all game ran in a try to reduce the deficit.
The second half began with Hitchin putting in tackle after tackle to ensure the game could still be won. With the whole team putting 100% effort into every phase of play any substitutions that were made were most definitely not down to performance but more about fresh legs or injury prevention. All 19 players were awesome and definitely deserved a win from the game.
The first of the many 2nd half tries came from captain Joff following a superb move along the back line incorporating the forwards from the fringes of each breakdown. Dave King offloaded the ball to Joff to go through a few of the Shelford defence to score.
The comeback was on with a neat move within the 5m line to touchline between Dermot, Rob King put Sam Underwood through to smash over to score, and this put Hitchin team to within 4 points of Shelford. Knowing this, the intensity of the game increased as Hitchin sensed that they were able to win the game if they continued in this style of play.
With every Hitchin try came a Shelford kick off, and every ball was received and possession was maintained and meant Hitchin could proceed up the pitch from the slick passing from Iggy and the direct running from the King brothers, Keiran Barringer, Dermot and Lippard. Wherever possible the forwards were able to match the backs in game play with powerful running from Hobbs, Aaron Johnson, Dave Turner and Andy Lockley.
The game took a turn for the better when the whirling dervish that was Lippard was unleashed again, however this time Lippard was not content on running in a straight line by managing to keep the defence guessing by changing direction more times than a downhill slalom skier.
With Hitchin sensing a win over a very strong Shelford team there was still 10 minutes left and with the try count the way it was it was inevitable that more tries would be scored.
A lapse in concentration and an overlap meant Shelford could run in one try followed by another following a misjudged bounce. Hitchin found themselves down by two converted tries. With not long left Lippard completed his hat trick with another try down the wing.
With more positive play making sure that Hitchin were not giving up, every player gave their all. However Shelford ran in 2 further quickly taken tries but it was Hitchin who made sure they finished on a positive and went down fighting with another swift backs move that found James 'Pumba' Drury on the wing to run in and score.
The performance by the team deserved a win and on any other day against anybody else this team would have won convincingly but Shelford were very well drilled and a few decisions went against Hitchin which stifled a number of Hitchin attacks. Each and every player can be very proud of their performances.
Dave Turner, Andy Lockley, Kevin Edwards, Philip Hobbs, Rob Pankhurst, Joff Lord, Samuel Underwood, Max Clayton, Ryan Colclough, David King, Dermot Coughlan, Ryan Bloomfield, Kieran Barringer, Matthew Lippard, Dominick HornSubs
Mark Tidey, James Drury, Aaron Johnson, Richard Lucas, Robert Vivian, Ross Howard, Michael Starling, Ian Thomson, Edward BellamyScores T:
Matthew Lippard (3), Samuel Underwood (1), Joff Lord (1), Dermot Coughlan (1), James Drury (1) C:
David King (2) League Tables