Herts /Middlesex 1. 26/09/2015
Cheshunt 22 Verulamian’s 22
Cheshunt snatched a draw with the last move of the game, although relieved to take 3 points from the match, will reflect on how it perhaps could have been more. Cheshunt dominated territory and possession in the last 30 minutes, but a resolute V’s defence kept them from converting chances and the visitors looked to have robbed Cheshunt yet again. Neither side, early on, were able to create anything constructive within the opposition 22, attacks coming from deep often looked promising, but fizzled out when approaching the danger zone, James Lennon was the first to carry the ball into the V’s half when he broke from deep, he was finally hauled down 30 yards short and the visitors cleared after C’s were guilty of holding on. Another penalty at the breakdown gave V’s a chance to kick to the corner, the first catch and drive was adjudged to have been stopped illegally and Connor Pearce was sent to the sin bin, the second attempt was successful and with the conversion the visitors had opened the scoring after 15 minutes. Cheshunt began to look more threatening; Dan Saunders put Cheshunt deep into the 22 with a well-judged kick along the touch line, although the visitors cleared initially, C’s regrouped and Tom Claridge made a break and tore through the midfield, but couldn’t find support. Verulamian’s were more efficient with any opportunities that came their way and on their next visit to the Cheshunt half on 28 minutes, converted a penalty attempt from 30 yards, when Cheshunt were offside. Cheshunt pressed from the re-start, Marvin Brown and Jake Phillips both instrumental as the home side drove into the Verulamian defence, as they approached the line, Charlie Langford was on hand to accept the pass and dive over in the corner to half the deficit. Verulamian’s put the re-start straight into touch and from the scrum on halfway, Connor Pearce fed scrum half Lennon, he raced to within 10 yards, but his pass was knocked forward. The Cheshunt scrum was beginning to get on top, the front row of Ollie Martines, Charlie Bagley and Phillips consistently driving back the V’s scrum and they turned the visitors ball over, a couple of chances came and went and Cheshunt once again left the V’s 22 without adding to their total. The home side were then relieved not to go further behind before the break as the V’s right winger found himself in some space, after the number 8 had created an overlap following a scrum on halfway, captain Claridge was on hand to make the last ditch tackle and the ball was knocked forward to signal the end of the first period. V’s however soon extended their lead at the start of the second half; early pressure got them over the line, another conversion stretched to 5-17. As the game progressed the Green and Whites were now enjoying more and more ball in the V’s 22 and after several penalties close to the line, they were awarded a penalty try after Lennon had been stopped illegally after a quick tap and go, he then added the extras to reduce to lead to 12-17, with a quarter left. The forwards had the upper hand in most departments and were well supported by backs scott drew, Declan walker and replacement Richard Valentine who all kept the ball moving forward when given the opportunity. Cheshunt were now dominant and attacked immediately from the re-start, keeping possession and working slowly up field, Aydan Duligall took the ball towards the 22, then Pearce got behind the V’s defence, his pass found Reece Shoobridge who touched down to level the scores. V’s took the most of their limited opportunities and after C’s had knocked on, a break through the middle and quick passing out to the left wing saw them re take the lead, with the clock against them, Cheshunt trailed 17-22. But, the last ten minutes were all spent in the V’s 22, after Mike Henderson had initiated the attack shortly after the re-start, they remained close to the line and a series of lineouts and scrums were often only denied illegally. The referee went to his pocket and issued a yellow card after another scrum was collapsed as it marched towards the V’s line, then finally from the base of the scrum, with V’s players committed in trying to halt its progress, Lennon picked and raced over in the left corner to once again level the scores, the conversion from the touch line just faded to the right of the posts and C’s had to be content with a bonus point draw. A couple of difficult away trips to UCS old boys then London Welsh await C’s in the next few weeks
Team – Bagley, Phillips, Martines, Brown, Willcocks, Duligall, Langford, Pearce, Lennon, Shoobridge, Amani, Claridge, Drew, Walker, Saunders. Replacements – Angell, Henderson, Valentine.