Herts President’s Tankard (prelim round)cup win
Cheshunt 26 Datchworth 14
Cheshunt got their season off to a flying start, with an excellent first half performance, in which they scored 3 tries, effectively winning the game after 20 minutes against the current cup holders. Kicking with the strengthening breeze, they struggled in the opening minutes to clear their lines and when Datchworth won a penalty on the Cheshunt 22, the visitors took the lead after just 4 minutes. Cheshunt first decent possession came after a Datchworth scrum on halfway, the front row of Ryan Hussey, Jake Phillips and Marvin Brown drove the visitors back at a rate of knots, demolishing their scrum, Joel Bailey picked from the base, tore through a couple of attempted tackles and fed fellow back row, Connor Pearce, who raced in from the 22, Reece Shoobridge converted to extend the lead to 7-3. They soon doubled their score, the visitors under pressure on halfway gave away a penalty, C’s went up the line to just inside the 22, a catch and drive took them close, then Dean Gardener peeled off the back and crashed over close to the posts, more extras from Shoobridge took the score to 14-3. With just 20 minutes on the clock the Green and Whites got their third and Pearce’s brace. Another scrum turn over, led to Datchworth conceding another penalty around halfway, another kick down the line gave C’s an attacking lineout, although the catch wasn’t clean, Pearce took the loose ball and brushed aside would be tacklers to touch down near the posts, again Shoobridge added the conversion. Cheshunt conceded a couple of penalties which gave the visitors a chance to kick down the line, but they couldn’t hold on to any decent possession in the face of some ferocious defending and the try line was never threatened. As half time approached, it looked like the tide might turn, first Phillips, then Brown received yellow cards and the last few minutes of the half left C’s with just 13 men, they held out, the visitors still unable to break down the sturdy defensive line. However, as in the first half, Datchworth were soon on the board at the start of the second period, a penalty reduced the advantage to 15 points against the depleted home side. Datchworth had their best period of the game in the next ten minutes or so, but centre pairing Tom Claridge and Bobby Bolton marshalled the mid field and with help from Aydan Duligall they didn’t allow the visitors to make any ground with ball in hand, they resorted to kicking down field, but Dave Lever and Dale Gardener were safe under the high ball. Cheshunt were frustrated to concede another penalty around half way and Datchworth were just able to keep interested in the game with a nicely struck penalty, with 20 minutes on the clock they had crept back to 21-9. Finally C’s put together a string of phases that worked play up field, Dan Saunders noticed some space and his kick was followed up by a line of Green and White shirts, Datchworth slowed the ball down at the breakdown and C’s were where they wanted to be, deep in the Datchworth 22, with another attacking lineout. This time the ball was fed along the line, but a fumble in midfield allowed Datchworth to clear to halfway, Cheshunt soon won the ball back and an inside pass from Saunders to Omid Amani saw him storm through a gap in the line, he raced in from half way to the line, to seal the victory. There was still time for Datchworth to snatch a consolation try, a kick ahead was gathered by the fly half who completed the scoring at 26-14. Cheshunt start their league campaign on Saturday, they entertain Grasshoppers at Andrews Lane, hoping to continue their early season good form.