Heiko’s hat-trick helps Stevenage clean up against Staines
- Credit: Archant
Stevenage managed to turn an abject first half performance against the league’s bottom side into a second half full of enterprise and five well-worked tries.
Staines were nothing like the side that Stevenage had hammered 92-0 in the reverse fixture earlier in the season and with a number of players returning, looked far stronger than their league position would suggest.
Stevenage lost influential second row Richard Penny in the first minute of the match and as early as the second minute, Staines showed their hand with a forward surge from a line-out on the left resulting in the opening try.
Stevenage could have made an immediate riposte when Heiko van Zwieten found himself with only the full back to beat but didn’t back himself to score on this occasion.
Stevenage had plenty of possession but were unable to make good use of it due to a succession of handling errors and wrong options being taken.
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It was whilst Town were looking to find a way through the Staines defence that a long pass was intercepted by flanker John Humphreys, who despite being offside was allowed to run 60 metres to score a second try for the hosts. Harry Vidler added the conversion.
Stevenage had more chances to score; Michael Wilson found himself with just one man to beat but opted to look for support and a series of five metre scrums failed to result in any reward for Town, despite calls for a penalty try.
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Stevenage eventually got on the scoreboard in the 37th minute with van Zwieten’s first try in an afternoon which was to bring him an excellent hat-trick.
Having clawed the score back to 12-5, Town were punished for a further error when from a penalty for a deliberate knock-on Vidler extended the half time lead to 15-5.
The second half game plan for Town was to move the ball wide quickly and stretch the big Staines forwards so that they tired. This worked as Stevenage also largely cut out the unforced errors.
But before Stevenage took control of the match, they conceded a third try after Edge had reduced the errors with a penalty in the 43rd minute.
Staines full back Andre Thomas Richards took advantage of some woeful Stevenage tackling to waltz through the defence to score under the posts. Vidler added the conversion to stretch the lead to 22-8. That was to be the final score by the home side as Town mounted a revival to score 34 unanswered points.
In the 52nd minute, Stevenage put together a flowing move from a positive break by Wilson, who linked with Ian Crompton and he put van Zwieten in under the posts for his second try which Edge converted.
Stevenage were on top at this stage, despite losing van Zwieten to the sin bin for 10 minutes, and clawed back to within two points as Crompton finished a flowing move.
Van Zwieten returned from the bin in time to score the try, which put Stevenage in the lead for the first time, secured the try bonus point and completed his hat-trick. Alex Banna made a decisive break out of the Town 22 and slipped the ball to van Zwieten, who had plenty to do to break three tackles and run the ball in from 40 metres.
It was then Staines’ turn to lose a man to the bin with 12 minutes to go. At that point, Town led 25-22 and any concerns they may have had were eased by a penalty by Drew Malins and two further tries by David Bamber and Edge.
Bamber completed a catch and drive move from a line-out and Edge chipped ahead after a good run by Banna.
This weekend Town take on Tabard from the league above in the Presidents’ Tankard.