Hitchin Rugby Club 1st XV 20-23 Verulamians RFC: Valliant Hedgehogs lose with moments remaining

PUBLISHED: 15:11 06 November 2017 | UPDATED: 15:15 06 November 2017

James Bolter carries the ball. Credit Amy Louise Photography

James Bolter carries the ball. Credit Amy Louise Photography

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Hitchin Rugby Club 1st XV lost 20-23 to Verulamians RFC at the weekend but can be proud of their battling efforts against the league leaders.

Tom Tidey carries the ball for Hitchin earlier this month. Credit Amy Louise PhotographyTom Tidey carries the ball for Hitchin earlier this month. Credit Amy Louise Photography

This clash between the top and bottom sides of the league produced a great game of rugby, with Hitchin never behind on points until the 75th minute. Scoring three tries to Verulamians’ two, penalties accounted for the end result.

Ten minutes into the game, Hitchin’s player of the match Rhys Gregory broke away on the left flank to run in a try, converted by Ben Wiggins against the wind. As the first quarter of the match drew to a close Hitchin, enjoying most of the territory, won a lineout leading to a second try from flanker Joe Barnes, unconverted.

Hitchin were given a yellow card on 26 minutes but they managed to keep their defence secure with a man short, and after 35 minutes a promising Hitchin attack broke down in the V’s 22 and play returned to halfway. The 12 point lead had looked safe, but the outstanding V’s fly half broke down the right flank, and a lack of concentration allowed him to run in under the posts to make the half-time score 12-7.

From the kick-off after a three-pointer Hitchin got back into V’s 22 and themselves awarded a penalty, found touch near the V’s line. From the resulting lineout they drove to the goalline, Tony Williams being credited with a try as the maul collapsed on the line.

Although the conversion failed, a seven-point lead was restored at 17-10.

The V’s came back with a break through the middle to score under the posts to draw level.

Emotions were running high and a tussle on the touchline saw yellow cards awarded to two V’s and two to Hitchin.

The V’s then converted a penalty to take the lead for the first time in the match but Hitchin’s Alfie Burkett kicked a penalty to draw level at 20-20.

With seconds remaining another penalty was conceded to the visitors as they converted to win the game by three points.

Hitchin: Sean McGinnity, Thomas Tidey, James Akrill, Ryan Arbon, Max Stallard, Anthony Williams, Joe Barnes, James Bolter, Rhys Gregory, Ben Wiggins, Charles Wood-Jones, Carwyn Morgan, Alfie Burkett, Jake Ware, Elliot Gibson

Subs Harry Elleston, Samuel Underwood, Ross Merrilees, Adam Shaw, Mark Tidey, Mark Hoffman

Scores T: Joe Barnes (1), Rhys Gregory (1), Anthony Williams (1) C: Ben Wiggins (1) P: Alfie Burkett (1)

Player(s) of Match 1. Rhys Gregory, 2. Thomas Tidey, 3. Ben Wiggins

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