Hope still springs eternal
Verulamians 15 Hitchin 27 Hitchin are alive – just – in the London Four North West after this victory over the bottom side. But their fate could already be sealed before their final league game at home to Old Hamptonians on April 14. Despite several chang
Verulamians 15 Hitchin 27
Hitchin are alive - just - in the London Four North West after this victory over the bottom side.
But their fate could already be sealed before their final league game at home to Old Hamptonians on April 14.
Despite several changes caused by absence and injury, a confident performance defeated an experienced home side that relied on a heavier pack to try and batter them into submission.
Hitchin began strongly, using quick possession from scrum-half Carwyn Morgan to allow Dale Baines to commit both V's centres to pulling him down.
Baines floated the ball out of the tackle to Matt Hawtin who accelerated into the widening chasm to put Chris Martin away under the posts for an unconverted try.
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The pattern of play continued with Baines providing excellent defensive and positional kicking.
Further work in the backs allowed James Bull to beat several covering tackles to score Hitchin's second try.
Hitchin were left smarting by two disallowed tries when Martin was adjudged to have been dropped in grounding and Aaron Johnson went over the line and grounded the ball only to be deprived of the points by an efficiently placed hand.
As the half proceeded, V's began to compete more effectively and hit back with a penalty. Hitchin responded immediately with a bulldozing break through the centre by Baines who scored and converted the try to leave the Hedgehogs 17-3 up at half-time.
The second half opened with loose defence from Hitchin allowing the home side to gain significant territorial advantage and required some heroic last-ditch defence to prevent a score.
Hitchin regained the initiative and began to pressure the V's defence.
But first blood of the half went to the home side when their fly-half intercepted a poor pass to dash half the length of the pitch to go over in the corner.
Joe Benucci then broke clear of the V's pack and powered through to score an unconverted try under the posts.
The home side continued to play their same direct game and forced the Hedgehogs back on to their line, eventually breaking down the defence to score a converted try.
Hitchin used their previously successful pattern of play to make a series of attacks out wide.
These failed to deliver points as they failed to complete final passes on several occasions though.
Finally the pressure told and Hawtin, again assisted by Baines, sprinted over for a final converted try under the posts.