Hitchin Rugby Club 13-8 Finsbury Park: Table-topping Hedgehogs beat North Londoners in tough clash

PUBLISHED: 19:34 06 December 2018 | UPDATED: 19:34 06 December 2018

Sean McGinnity hands off a player in the match between Hitchin and Finsbury Park. Picture: DANNY LOO

Sean McGinnity hands off a player in the match between Hitchin and Finsbury Park. Picture: DANNY LOO

©2018 Archant

Hitchin Rugby Club’s first XV beat Finsbury Park 13-8 at the weekend in a hard-fought Herts Middlesex One match.

Matthew Trussell with ball in hand in the match between Hitchin and Finsbury Park. Picture: DANNY LOOMatthew Trussell with ball in hand in the match between Hitchin and Finsbury Park. Picture: DANNY LOO

Park visited Old Hale Way for a top-of-the-table clash, which was always going to test the Hedgehogs, with just one point separating the sides.

With both sides averaging around 30 points per match, it was the defences that held the day, with just one try for each team, as Hitchin ran out winners to take a four-point lead over their rivals.

Matthew Trussell with ball in hand in the match between Hitchin and Finsbury Park. Picture: DANNY LOOMatthew Trussell with ball in hand in the match between Hitchin and Finsbury Park. Picture: DANNY LOO

The difference between the sides was probably the Hitchin pack, who dominated most of the set-pieces, with excellent scrummaging often pushing back their opponents by 10 metres or more which was a credit to the coaching team.

Finsbury Park kicked off and Hitchin immediately took the ball into the visitors’ half.

Ben Wiggins kicks for goal in the match between Hitchin and Finsbury Park. Picture: DANNY LOOBen Wiggins kicks for goal in the match between Hitchin and Finsbury Park. Picture: DANNY LOO

A penalty to Hitchin five metres out resulted in James Bolter going over a try which was disallowed as the referee was unsighted.

The pressure continued from Hitchin, resulting in several penalties against the visitors but Hitchin couldn’t capitalise on the possession until Ben Wiggins put one over the posts for a 3-0 lead.

Armel Baufume runs with the ball in the match between Hitchin and Finsbury Park. Picture: DANNY LOOArmel Baufume runs with the ball in the match between Hitchin and Finsbury Park. Picture: DANNY LOO

The pressure told again a few minutes later when Hitchin were awarded a penalty try for a collapsed maul.

Hitchin continued their attack on the Finsbury line but could not break through, despite the visitors being down to 13 men for a period, due to two yellow cards

Chris Martin touches the ball down but the referee is unsighted to the grounding in the match between Hitchin and Finsbury Park. Picture: DANNY LOOChris Martin touches the ball down but the referee is unsighted to the grounding in the match between Hitchin and Finsbury Park. Picture: DANNY LOO

After the break Ben Wiggins extended the Hitchin lead to 13-0 with a penalty but the visitors hit back with a well-worked try, which went unconverted.

Both sides were keen to get the upper hand and Hitchin were stretched at times to stop the dangerous Park backs.

Chris Martin carries the ball into a tackle in the match between Hitchin and Finsbury Park. Picture: DANNY LOOChris Martin carries the ball into a tackle in the match between Hitchin and Finsbury Park. Picture: DANNY LOO

After 44 minutes Hitchin were penalised in front of their posts, allowing Park to slot the penalty and obtain a losing bonus point.

But Hitchin coach Adam Shaw was pleased with what he described as an ‘ugly win’.

Chris Martin touches the ball down but the referee is unsighted to the grounding in the match between Hitchin and Finsbury Park. Picture: DANNY LOOChris Martin touches the ball down but the referee is unsighted to the grounding in the match between Hitchin and Finsbury Park. Picture: DANNY LOO

Hitchin: Sean McGinnity, Thomas Tidey, James Bolter, Jonathan Welsford, Matthew Trussell, Ryan Arbon, Ruiri Shanahan, Armel Baufume, Daniel Wiggins, Ben Wiggins, Rory Blackburn, Jonathan Whitby, Carwyn Morgan, William Rooney, Alistair Southward.

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