Datchworth victory is hard graft

PUBLISHED: 11:05 16 February 2006 | UPDATED: 09:37 06 May 2010

Datchworth continued their promotion drive with a 24-11 win at home to Grasshoppers. Even though this was not the village team s best performance of the season, the two points were the most important outcome of this dour game. With Datchworth playing into

Datchworth continued their promotion drive with a 24-11 win at home to Grasshoppers.

Even though this was not the village team's best performance of the season, the two points were the most important outcome of this dour game.

With Datchworth playing into the wind and up the slope in the first half, it was the visitors who opened the scoring.

A missed tackle in midfield saw the Hoppers centre make the break. The ball was offloaded in the tackle to the supporting fly-half who touched down on the right for the unconverted try.

Datchworth clearly had the upper hand up front and were able to make significant inroads into the visitors' territory. Richie Howells opened their account with a penalty in front of the posts.

Ill-discipline then cost the home side as they conceded three penalties in quick succession, one of which was in range of the posts from which the Hoppers fly-half increased their lead.

Datchworth responded with a try of their own. Skipper Rob Botterman opted to go for the lineout five yards out.

This proved to be the right decision as Botterman touched down for the try after a good driving maul was set-up through clean ball at the front of the lineout and drove its way over the line.

From the restart, Datchworth failed to clear their lines and gave away another penalty in sight of their posts from which the three points were added before the half-time whistle.

Stern words at half-time looked to have stirred the home side into action as they put pressure on the visitors at the restart and turned over ball in the Hoppers 22. But the ball was taken in short when it should have gone wide and good defence saw the scrum awarded to the visitors from which they were able to clear their lines.

With Hoppers unable to secure their own ball at lineout and under significant pressure at scrum time, Datchworth had the lion's share of the territory but were unable to drive their advantage home.

The only points that came were through the reliable boot of Howells, who kicked one penalty in front of the posts and then slotted a third penalty from the halfway line to take the villagers into the lead.

With a five-point lead, a second Datchworth try sealed the win.

Good rush defence by winger James Watt saw the ball spilled and collected by blindside flanker Matt Francis, who showed good strength to get away from three tacklers and sprint 30 yards for the unconverted try.

Howells added a further penalty before the end of the match.

Datchworth will need to put in a much better performance than this to keep their promotion chances alive when they visit struggling Harrow this Saturday.

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