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Under 16s v Hertford Rugby Club - Home League on 23 Sep 2012

Published on Friday, 28 September 2012

Hitchin u16 22 v Hertford U16 5

Much to the surprise of the Hertford coach, the main pitch was an immaculate playing surface (thank you Brian) for this first and important league fixture against one of the stronger teams in the division.

We came away with a hard fought win and bonus point to get the campaign off to a good start. It wasn’t champagne rugby; the ball was a bit greasy and perhaps over enthusiasm and a bit of rustiness affected both teams with a number of handling errors. However that would be natural this early in the season with so much at stake and both teams needing a good start in what is likely to be fiercely contested season.

The early changes saw Hartford strong as usual in the scrum, causing us problems, but when we got the ball to the backs we managed to gain ground or made it difficult for Hertford. If a couple of balls had gone to hand either team could have scored early on, but it was Hertford who struck first when a loose ball was kicked through for a chase and a touch down, 5 nil to them.Clearly a wake up call for us, we had to up the work rate and concentrate on commitment and running lines. It wasn’t straightforward Hertford quite rightly had their tales up; the tackling from both sides was big. It took us until 5 mins from half time to get on the board. We converted a lot of pressure on our line into a well created try for Robert Austin to finish for 60 meters, not much to do then. Hitchin turned over a ball, moved very quickly with simple passing at pace across the backs and gave Robert a 5 meter gap to burn through and he did the rest.

Hertford fought back but we seemed to be applying ourselves now and again from strong running we got Simon in their 22, we thought he was going slink in but instead he decided to have hand off practise just short of the line, so it was left to the support runners to stop the messing around, Harry Tunicliffe piled in and went over low.
At half time both teams knew they were in a game, there was nothing in it, it was important to get an early strike in the second half.
The half began, and then stopped and began and then stopped! It was a battle out there and both teams suffered injuries; it wasn’t dirty just hard fought. We were waiting for something to give. Hertford coach admitted afterwards the game breaker was out 3rd try.We soaked up a lot of pressure on our line a credit to Hertford putting the pressure on, but an immense effort to hold them up and still look for opportunities to run it back from Hitchin. We turned their ball over deep in our 22,cleared down the line, chased hard and transferred the pressure, eventually good hands put Jordan in for a superbly timed and strong run in for our 3rd try.

The injuries were taking there toll, we began to get stronger and more organised in the scrum, our fitness and power running began to wear down Hertford. The final try came from
good ruck ball fed from Harry Cartwright to Ru who slipped delicate pass to Simon, from 25 meters he still had a lot to do but took a good angle and powered through for touch down and a conversion from Ru.The game took about another 10 minutes to finish, there was a hand bag episode, but we worked out there was 15 minutes of stoppage time due to casualties, not from the hand bags by the way. Fortunately the injuries picked up don’t look too severe and we should have Brandon back in a couple of weeks.

When you look back a good effort and we came away with what we wanted, no doubt Hertford will turn some of the opposition over in the coming season.
Good that we tried to keep playing, one or two try saving tackles and good technique to turn the ball over. Dan Wiggins took one for the team when he came over and was honest enough to tell us he had to come off because his hand injury wasn’t getting better.
We were impressed with the how the substitutes and positional changes did not impact on our display, everybody fitted and a kept the structure
Well done Jack Jones and Oscar Thorne on your debuts, we new it would be good to have you board, you just proved.
Plenty to work though, but that is a matter for the training paddock not for discussion here.
And finally a word for the young ref, I’m sure his assessor will be giving him some technical input, but from our perspective he handled a full on game very well, his body language was good, his decisions clear and he kept up with play, sometimes over running it!
Training Sunday, followed by Dunstable away the following week, league game, they beat Twickenham 32-0 so they had a good start. Let’s get up for it.


Herts / Middlesex U17 Div.1 The league: Herts / Middlesex U17 Div.1



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Hitchin Rugby Limited, King George V Playing Fields, Old Hale Way, Hitchin, Hertfordshire SG5 1XL England, Charity No. 1159772
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