Hitchin ease through the mud to move into strong position in promotion race

Hitchin's Will Evans makes inroads through the mud against Finsbury Park.

Hitchin's Will Evans makes inroads through the mud against Finsbury Park. - Credit: MARTIN WIGGINS

Hitchin kept themselves firmly in the title race at the top of the Division Three North West after a comfortable win over Finsbury Park.

The 31-0 success leaves them in fifth but they are now just four points behind leaders Finchley after they suffered defeat to St Albans.

And with at least two games in hand on the five teams above them, the Hedgehogs could well find themselves as favourites as the season enters its final stages.

The match was played away from the first-team pitch, that was too soggy to use, but Hitchin attempted well to the change of surroundings, running in three tries in the first half.

James Bolter got the first, picking up from the back of a five-metre scrum and bouncing off the defenders on his way to the line, and a quickly-taken penalty allowed Will Evans to put Greg Ranson into the corner for number two.

Ian Crompton finished off a move that went the length of the pitch, Phil Ryan supplying the final pass.

The ball continued to be difficult to grasp after the break but a good pick-up from Ryan off the floor gave Hitchin momentum and Crompton had the gas to go round his man and bag his second on 45 minutes.

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He was a given a 10-minute rest shortly after after a tackle infringement but the remaining six backs fashioned try number five, Ryan getting the final touch after Evans and the Finsbury Park full-back had failed to make contact on a kick ahead.

That was the final score of the game and with this pitch now turning into a quagmire, strong defence from the Hedgehogs ensured they collected a clean sheet.

They almost got one more through Crompton again but the cover defence of Park did just enough.

The second team had an early kick-off against Hertford, played in the worst of the rain, and fell to a 27-7 defeat, Jon Welsford getting their only try.