Stags give Hertford run for their money
Hertford 10 Stevenage Town 3 The favourites won the day but Stevenage Town gave National League Hertford a real battle in the final of the Herts Presidents Cup. Sunday s final at Croxley Green saw perfect conditions and a good pitch against the team fro
Hertford 10 Stevenage Town 3
The favourites won the day but Stevenage Town gave National League Hertford a real battle in the final of the Herts Presidents' Cup.
Sunday's final at Croxley Green saw perfect conditions and a good pitch against the team from three leagues above the North Road side.
Stags kicked off and the pack immediately put Hertford under pressure to bombard their line.
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After a number of phases retaining possession well, Town broke wide through scrum-half Ian Crompton who fed big second row Adam Amos to grubber kick the ball through for flying winger Michael Wilson to chase.
The ball just beat Wilson to the touchline giving Hertford a lineout on their 5m line.
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Hertford began to assert themselves on the game and had the lion's share of possession.
Stevenage were often deep in their own 22 and were forced to relieve the pressure through the boot of Gareth Lewis.
Hertford nearly scored in the corner through their experienced ex-Stevenage winger Richard Justice, after creating an overlap, but big Amos got across and smashed him into touch in the corner to deny the try.
As the game went into stoppage time at the end of the half, Hertford continued to attack the Stevenage line and after multiple phases managed to force their way through to the right of the posts. The easy conversion was missed.
Stevenage coach Terry Penny merely called for more of the same from his men in the second half.
This half took the same shape as the end of the first, with Hertford having most of the possession and the Stevenage defence standing firm against the onslaught.
When Stevenage did have the ball in attack they did look dangerous and a break from livewire Crompton could have put Lewis through but for good covering defence.
Hertford went for three points from a penalty in front of the posts but it was missed.
They persisted with their crash ball tactics, bringing on a Bradford rugby league player at number eight to add some impact.
Stevenage dealt with this well until, with 15 minutes to go, Hertford managed to force their way over from a yard out through the defence. Again the easy conversion was missed.
Stags surged forward from the kick-off and managed to assert more pressure on Hertford.
After getting into the Hertford 22, their opponents were penalised and Stevenage went for the three points on offer and Lewis calmly stepped up to show the Hertford kicker how it was done.
Trailing 10-3 with five minutes to go, Town were still in the hunt but their late efforts were to no avail.
Stevenage Town chairman Steve Mudd said: "We are all immensely proud of our players' efforts this season and the final perhaps exemplified the true spirit of our club.
"This is a great testament to our coach Terry Penny and the captain Neil Bamber who have provided the motivation and inspiration for the side.
"With more talented youngsters coming through and now fielding four senior sides and a veterans' team, our aim is to build on this ready for next season.