Champs hold nerve

Stevenage Town under-17s became county champions at Old Albanians on Sunday. Sponsored by A1 Trophies and Walter Clark, Town s youngsters won the county trophy against near neighbours Letchworth by a point. First on the board were Letchworth with a succes

Stevenage Town under-17s became county champions at Old Albanians on Sunday.

Sponsored by A1 Trophies and Walter Clark, Town's youngsters won the county trophy against near neighbours Letchworth by a point.

First on the board were Letchworth with a successful penalty, but Stags replied with two unconverted tries firstly through Alex Nolan and then Mattie Plummer.

Letchworth scored an unconverted try before the end of the half.

The second half was a tense affair with the early scores coming through an exchange of penalties. Firstly Letchworth took the lead again and then a Craig Brown effort for Stevenage clawed the lead back.

Letchworth were awarded a penalty to take back the lead but a determined try by Alex Banna, this time converted by Brown, restored the lead for Stevenage.

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Letchworth scored a try in the corner but the conversion was too difficult as Stags won 20-19.

The coaching team of Andy Malins, Colin Childs, Martin Mitchell, Andy Gould and Martin Nolan will now take on the challenge of continuing their good work as next season's colts.

* Town's colts went down to their counterparts from Welwyn in the county final.

Played at Old Merchant Taylors on Sunday, the young Stags were beaten 22-12.

Sponsored by MBDA and coached by club stalwart Keith Golds and Kevin Lewis, Town were first to make their mark with a well-worked try by Kyle Lemon who failed to convert.

Stevenage enjoyed much of the territory in the first half before a well-worked try through the backs saw Welwyn end the half level.

Welwyn were more assured and composed in the second half and the normally resolute Town defence was stretched out wide on three occasions, one converted, as they led by 17 points.

Lemon created space in midfield to waltz in under the posts and to convert to complete the scoring.

Coach Golds said: "Although the result didn't go our way, we are very proud of the way our lads conducted themselves in what was a very tough challenge against a very good side.

"I'm looking forward to next year where I can continue to coach the lads as they take up the mantle in the senior sides.

"Some have already shown a good account of themselves this year in these senior sides."

* Town's under-12s also reached the final of this year's Herts Rugby County Festival held over two days at Hertford Rugby Club.

Sixteen clubs from around the county were represented, with each entering teams from under-nines up to under-12s.

Despite being the competition underdogs, Stevenage managed to win their way through the qualifying rounds to the semi-final of the bowl competition where they were drawn against Hitchin.

After a 0-0 draw, the toss of a coin saw them through to the final against one of the pre-tournament favourites, Bishop's Stortford. An exciting final saw Stortford, who run three sides at under-12, narrowly winning by two tries to nil.

Stevenage hooker Jo Abbott missed the semi-final and final due to an injury in the last qualifying match.

This resulted in a trip to the QE2 Hospital but he was discharged the same day, as his injury was not as serious as first feared.

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