Hitchin Ladies 31-5 Royston: Hedgehogs victorious in Herts derby to keep up winning start

PUBLISHED: 18:02 23 October 2018 | UPDATED: 21:02 23 October 2018

Hitchin Ladies v Royston. Picture: Dan Mountney

Hitchin Ladies v Royston. Picture: Dan Mountney

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Hitchin Ladies First XV continued their unbeaten start to the season with a 31-5 win over Royston in a physical Hertfordshire derby on Sunday.

Hitchin Ladies v Royston. Picture: Dan MountneyHitchin Ladies v Royston. Picture: Dan Mountney

A large crowd gathered on the Heath to cheer on both sides as the Hedgehogs dominated the majority of proceedings.

They did fall behind to a Royston try early on but struck back almost immediately through a debut try from Melissa Ruffell, before Nicky Cameron’s solo run put the away side well in control.

There was a special moment after half-time when Becky Bolter, who was making her return after giving birth, scored Hitchin’s third try.

Ruffell then got her second of the afternoon before Suzie Gajda-Hilton round off the win with the games last action.

Hitchin Ladies v Royston. Picture: Dan MountneyHitchin Ladies v Royston. Picture: Dan Mountney

Royston almost broke through on a couple of occasions in the opening minutes, but some superb last ditch defending kept them at bay - including a brilliant tackle from Jess Eden.

But the home side did manage to break through not long after to make it 5-0, with Hitchin unable to deal with a powerful run down the middle.

The Hedgehogs responded quickly though, taking a 7-5 lead after some quick passing and sharp feet from Ruffell who crossed over before Cameron kicked the conversion.

Royston then piled on the pressure, keeping Hitchin penned in and defending for their lives.

They stood firm though, with full-back Eden - who had just returned to the action after picking up an injury - making an all important tackle that stopped a certain try.

A lull in the game followed before the away side suddenly struck to extend their lead.

Cameron showed superb pace to escape a number of challenges on the halfway line leaving Royston players in her wake to score, with Katie Allerton successfully converting to make it 14-5.

That’s how the score stayed as the half-time whistle blew, putting Hitchin well on their way to three straight wins.

The Hedgehogs were in control after the interval and although it took a while for them to build on their lead, they finally did when Bolter crossed over on the right-wing to make it 19-5.

It was soon 24-5 as Ruffell showed super feet once again to get her second try of the day.

As the late afternoon sun began to fade, so did Royston, who just couldn’t get out as the away side looked to kill the game off.

They did just that with the last touch of the ball as Suzie Gajda-Hilton powered under the posts before Allerton kicked the conversion to make the final score 31-5.

After the game, scrum-half Casey Burgess told CometSport that the local rivalry between the sides helped motivate Hitchin.

“It helped us to get fired up and get our heads in the game,” she said.

“It’s nice to come up against a team who can meet our physicality and play the way we play.

“It was a tiring game and everyone was blowing at the end, but we kept our heads up and kept at it till the end.

“Royston have come along way since we last played them but we showed we were still able to come away with the win.”

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