Hitchin's hopes of lifting the Herts President's County Cup for the first time were dashed at the hands of Hemel Hempstead.

Played on the artificial surface at Cheshunt, the Hedgehogs were beaten 24-10 by the champions of their Counties One Herts Middlesex division.

Hitchin kicked off and made some strong early hits but a long punt into the 22 first won a line-out and then when the maul was stopped, they found a gap to open the scoring.

That proved to be the only try of the first period although both teams did come close.

Hitchin's Simon Taylor was denied by a last-gasp tackle while Ruiri Shanahan had to make a similarly excellent intervention two metres from his own line.


The teams did trade penalties before the break though, Ben Wiggins scored the second of them from 40 metres.


An off the ball incident resulted in a Hitchin yellow and a Hemel red but it was Camelot who reacted better, crossing the line while the side's were still evenly matched at 14 each.


Hemel kept pressing and took their lead to 21 points with 12 minutes to play thanks to a third converted try but Hitchin kept pressing.

James Bolter nearly caught the defence napping, but he too was stopped at the last, but they did get the try they deserved after winning a five-metre scrum, Shanahan running through on the blind side.

There was not enough time to stage a recovery though.

Hitchin are at home to Ashford on Saturday in round two of the Community Cup Counties One Plate South.