Hitchin are caught on the Hop
Grasshoppers 38 Hitchin 33 The cliché of a game of two halves really could be applied to this match. It was a case of too little, too late for Hitchin against a Grasshoppers side with little regard for the position the teams occupied in the league befor
Grasshoppers 38 Hitchin 33
The cliché of a 'game of two halves' really could be applied to this match.
It was a case of too little, too late for Hitchin against a Grasshoppers side with little regard for the position the teams occupied in the league before kick off.
For Hitchin it was Groundhog Day as they slipped back into their old ways of starting slowly and waiting to see what the opposition would do.
From the kick off it was one-way traffic as Grasshoppers laid siege to the Hitchin line.
Poor tackling and bad positional play saw Hitchin staring down the barrel of a whitewash in the first half.
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Although Hitchin did manage to get into the Grasshoppers half, a curious decision at a drop goal attempt by Adam Shaw was as close as they got to a score.
Hitchin went into the break 24 points down following four tries and two conversions without a reply from an increasingly confident Grasshoppers side.
The second half was as peculiar as the first.
From the restart it was Hitchin who stormed up the field following a scintillating break from Shaw.
Shaw more than redeemed himself, playing at fly-half, following a backline reshuffle.
Fantastic off loads from backs and forwards alike eventually led to number eight Craig Blewett crashing over for the first of their five tries.
The try was converted by Paul Howard who had to leave the field shortly after with a thigh injury.
Hitchin allowed Grasshoppers in for another soft try under the posts against the run of play following some more disappointing tackling.
Belief was evident within the Hitchin team that something could be gained out of this game. More surging runs from the back row and the injection of supersub Dale Baines saw man of the match Bradley Walters carve through to score close to the touchline. The conversion was missed.
Hitchin went on the rampage again from the restart with more of the same with Grasshoppers shell-shocked.
This time the try was scored by Baines himself, powering through and scoring under the posts. Shaw converted.
Unfortunately, a poor pass inside their own half saw the Grasshoppers centre capitalise and put his winger away to ease the increasing pressure being applied by Hitchin.
This try was converted to leave Grasshoppers leading 38-19.
Throwing caution to the wind, Hitchin were now running from all parts of the field with all players involved. Shaw finished off this team try and converted it himself.
With only minutes left on the clock, flying winger Ritchie Sinclair chased down a well-judged grubber kick to score another try in the corner, converted spectacularly by Shaw.
This took the score to 38-33 but it was the last act of the match, with the referee blowing his whistle to the obvious relief of stunned Grasshoppers and their supporters.
Captain Aidan Barnett said: "I'm proud of the boys and the spirit they showed in the second half.
"But I can't hide my disappointment from what was a horrendous first-half defensive performance.
"We left ourselves with a mountain to climb in the second half and nearly climbed it. We need to be switched on from the start and not take half an hour to get going.
"We've got three games league left starting with Hammersmith and Fulham this weekend and I expect more of what we produced in the second half from the start.