London 3 North/West 11 th February 2017
Cheshunt 8 St Albans 3
Cheshunt just about hung on to record a narrow victory, in a tense and nervy finish. The victory
takes them back into to top half of the table, a position they will hope to cement when they visit
Hitchin next week.
Cheshunt certainly had the better chances and had two tries disallowed, but it was their defence at
the end which carried them to victory, refusing to let wave after wave of St Albans attacks break
through the line as the visitors desperately tried in vain to snatch the points.
Early Cheshunt pressure came when St Albans dropped the ball on halfway, Sam Rule was quick to
kick the ball towards the line and when the visitors failed to clear, Cheshunt bundled the ball over
the line but were adjudged to have knocked on in the process.
Against a stiffening breeze St Albans could only clear to half way and when C’s attacked again they
were caught offside and Reece Shoobridge opened the scoring with a well struck penalty from 35
St Albans had their best chance of the first half when they had a couple of 5 metre scrums, but Jake
Phillips won the second against the head and for the rest of the first period C’s kept the visitors
pinned back in their own half.
Shoobridge saw his long range effort from a penalty on the 10 metre sail wide, but the Green and
Whites were enjoying all the territorial advantage. Aydan Duligall initiated a turn over and C’s
attacked again, they consistently got themselves into the danger zone, but failed to win the ball in
the opposition 22, the visitors would win the ball back, kick to halfway and the process would start
They nearly found a way over the line right at the end of the half, Bobby Bolton spinning through
tackles and back into the 22, a penalty was kicked up the line for a 5 metre scrum, the catch and
drive couldn’t get over and when the ball was spun along the line the move was halted by another
penalty, a quick tap and go was unable to get over and eventually St Albans cleared to signal the half
The second period was probably shaded by the visitors, although a try always looked unlikely they
were soon level when they converted a 30 metre penalty.
The game was in deadlock, neither defence giving away any ground until a moment of inspiration
from Bolton found a way. An extended Cheshunt attack had been in and around the 22 metre line
for many phases, neither forwards or backs able to make any real headway towards the line, but
when play had been concentrated down the left touchline for a while, Bolton was quick to notice
Richard Valentine in space wide out on the right, his perfectly weighted kick was caught by Valentine
who rounded the last defender and dived over in the corner for the only try of the match.
It was now the visitors turn to have a prolonged attack, they maintained possession through the
phases but when they spilt the ball Cheshunt soon hacked the ball up field, Tom Claridge kicked
again towards the posts, the retreating defender messed up the clearance and Tom Cooper was first
to touch the ball down, but again the referee adjudged the ball to have gone forward of a Cheshunt
Play went from one 22 to the other, another penalty from Shoobridge just sailed outside the posts
with 5 minutes remaining and both sets of exhausted players fought for every scrap of possession.
Remarkably, when the referee called last play, the match went on for a further 8 minutes, a couple
of missed touches, several penalties and the visitors kept coming and coming, but the Cheshunt
defence remained intact and they were relieved to finally get the ball into touch.
Only a point separates Cheshunt in 6 th position from Hitchin in 7 th , so next Saturday both sides will be
determined to be in the top half of the table.