Seal of Approval
Hitchin 6 Hammersmith/Fulham 23 Hitchin began the New Year with a tough fixture against top of the table visitors in Hammersmith and Fulham. Despite losing, it was a spirited performance in atrocious playing conditions against a team who scored 67 points
Hitchin 6 Hammersmith/Fulham 23
Hitchin began the New Year with a tough fixture against top of the table visitors in Hammersmith and Fulham.
Despite losing, it was a spirited performance in atrocious playing conditions against a team who scored 67 points against the Hedgehogs earlier in the season.
With the referee deciding only one pitch was playable, both sides began the match determined to play rugby in spite of the driving rain and slippery surface.
Hitchin began absorbing huge amounts of pressure and put in some superb tackles and managed to turn over ball and counter attack in the visitors' half.
Throughout the game, there were many creditable performances notably from debut prop Simon Banner and the whole back row.
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The balance of the game was affected when the home side lost ex-skipper and talisman Aiden Barnett after a first-half collision.
Replacement prop Mark Burgess came on and young Banner moved to the back row.
Despite this, Hitchin went in front after a Hammersmith discretion allowed full-back Dan Squire to kick a penalty.
This stirred Hammersmith to raise their game and a drive by their forwards with the backs coming into the move at pace allowed the visitors' centre to score a try out wide.
Undeterred, Hitchin came back at their opponents and forced another penalty, which was successfully kicked by Squire.
An offside decision followed this in favour of the visitors to allow them a penalty goal to close out the half four points ahead at 10-6.
The beginning of the second half gave the watching Hitchin supporters hope that their team could provide an upset.
But a well-organised defence did not allow Hitchin any flexibility and despite their efforts, Hammersmith scored two further penalties and a converted try.
New coach Rico Van Wyk was pleased with the efforts of the young Hedgehogs.
He said: "We definitely have the ability to beat any team in our league; now we need to iron out our problems on the training park."
Hitchin are away at fellow Hertfordshire team Fullerians from Watford this Saturday.
Other scores: Hitchin II 12 Dunstablians III 25, Hitchin III 17 Royston II 19, Hitchin IV 15 Sawston II 45.