Herts/Middlesex 1 09/01/2016
Verulamian 3 Cheshunt 22
Cheshunt turned in a fantastic second half performance, to wrestle the game away from their hosts
and claim the bonus point win, which moves them up to second place in the league. In awful
conditions, moving the ball around was never easy, but despite, in places, ankle deep mud and a
slippery ball, C’s skill level remained high, which paid dividends as Verulamians tired in the second
period. A game of two halves, the Green and Whites defended tirelessly for the first 40 minutes and
when V’s had run out of ideas and energy, they exploited any space or weakness.
Cheshunt struggled to get out of their half at the start of the game, the bigger home forwards
keeping possession and initially had the upper hand in the scrum and the lineout, they drove at the
Cheshunt defensive line and C’s were forced to concede penalties and with a second attempt at goal
V’s took an early 3-0 lead after just 7 minutes.
Neither side were able to construct any meaningful attacks and most of the game settled into a
kicking exhibition, both sides waiting for the other to make a mistake, but it was the home side who
continued to dominate territory. A brief excursion into the V’s 22 was halted when a Cheshunt pass
was intercepted and the home side were quickly back in the Cheshunt danger zone.
Any Cheshunt possession remained limited and they often gave away cheap turnovers with some
poor decisions which allowed V’s attacks to remain on the front foot, they should have gone further
ahead after 22 minutes, but a simple penalty attempt was pushed wide.
Aydan Duligall and Mike Henderson led the tackle count for C’s, continually cutting down wave after
wave of Verulamian attacks and when the home side spilt the ball just outside the 22, Cheshunt
were quick to feed it along the line to debutant winger Dale Gardener, he sped down the left wing to
raise Cheshunt hopes, but was well tackled into touch on the V’s 22. Cheshunt were then awarded
their first penalty of the game after 25 minutes, a quick tap led to nothing as the slippery ball went
The pattern of play was repeated for most of the rest of the half, the bigger Verulamian side tried to
arm wrestle through the Cheshunt defence, but it remained intact and occasionally, with turnover
ball, the away side sparked into action, but were also unable to threaten the line. That is until
moments from the half time whistle, finding themselves in the V’s half, Johnno Wicks kick ahead
was knocked into touch by the covering fullback a few metres from the line, C’s thought this to be
deliberate and wanted the penalty, however from the lineout they remained close to the line and
when V’s tried to clear, Gregg Morris was up quickly and charged down the kick, it didn’t roll far in
the wet conditions and he was first to the ball, to record the first try of the match, an excellent
conversion from Reece Shoobridge gave the visitors and unexpected 3-7 advantage at the break.
From the kick off at the start of the second half, Cheshunt won their second penalty, a long range
effort from Shoobridge sailed just wide, but the game had completely turned around, Cheshunt
were now winning all the loose ball and the set piece had at least reached parity, the penalty count
too was beginning to swing back in Cheshunt’s favour. When they turned over a V’s lineout in the 22,
Alex Clark took the ball towards the line, as the defence came in, quick ball was fed along the line,
Omid Amani and Gardener were on hand to feed the ball to fullback Scott Glynn, who dived over in
the corner, 10 minutes into the second period C’s led 3-12.
The forwards were now taking the game to V’s, Connor Pearce, Ben Hounslow and Clark consistently
making the hard yards through the heavy conditions, when the ball was released to the backs, Tom
Claridge and Omid Amani relentlessly tore up the middle. Making the most of their newly found
dominance, Cheshunt started to put together some tremendous passages of play, following another
penalty, Wicks chipped to the corner, Gardener collected but was stopped illegally just metres from
the try line, another quick tap from Shoobridge, who now had the V’s defence in tatters, was passed
amongst the Cheshunt attackers and Dave Angell dived over the line, but the referee was unsighted
and play continued, Wicks touched the ball against the base of the post, but again they were advised
to play on, when Marvin Brown was on hand to crash over, the referee awarded the try and C’s were
nearly out of sight at 3-17 with a quarter of the match left.
Cheshunt were now completely on top, all the play confined to the V’s half and most of it in the 22
and it wasn’t long before they had the bonus point try, another move was stopped illegally and the
V’s second row was yellow carded, everybody thought C’s would call for a scrum under the posts,
but scrum half Shoobridge noticed a gap, he took a quick tap and he soon made his way to the try
line to complete the scoring.
The rest of the game was spent deep in the V’s half, but the visitors were unable to add to their
Two crucial home games are next up for the promotion hopefuls, this Saturday, Cheshunt host
fourth placed UCSOBs, the Green and Whites will be eager to avenge their defeat from earlier in the
season. The following week London Welsh visit Rosedale in what promises to be a promotion
Angell, Morris, Hussey, Clark, Hounslow, Henderson, Duligall, Pearce, Shoobridge, Wicks, Gardener,
Claridge, Amani, Walker, Glynn. Replacements:- Brown, Willcocks, Valentine.