London 3 North West. 1st October 2016
Hemel Hempstead 50 Cheshunt 10
After a promising first quarter, Cheshunt were eventually comfortably beaten, by a powerful, well organised, top of the table unit from Hemel, who kept up their 100% record and must remain favourites for the league title. It started so well for the visitors, early pressure from C’s caused a knock on inside the 22, the home side then were penalised at the scrum and Reece Shoobridge fired over the penalty to open the scoring after just 4 minutes.
Cheshunt continued to enjoy the better of the opening salvos and spent more time in the Hemel 22, but were unable to press home the advantage and add to their score and when they were penalised at the breakdown the home side kicked up the line and into the Cheshunt 22 for the first time. Cheshunt kept them at bay and aggressive tacking pushed them back to the 10 yard line, a loose pass was seized upon by Marvin Brown who outsprinted the covering defence and ran in under the posts, with the extras C’s had stretched to 0-10 after 19 minutes.
Hemel were getting into their stride and were starting to look a threat from all over the park, they broke out of defence and into the Cheshunt half but some superb defending from full back Sam Rule halted the attack. Hemel turned down a couple of penalties opportunities, trying to find a way to cross the Cheshunt whitewash, but when given a chance right under the posts they converted on the half an hour mark to get on the board.
Only some desperate defending was keeping the home side from adding to their total as Cheshunt were struggling to retain any possession, Hemel looked dangerous with every sweeping attack, forwards and backs combining to test the Cheshunt line. Dave Lever made a crunching tackle in mid-field and Dan Saunders was able to temporarily relieve the pressure with a kick down field, but back came the hosts and they kept the ball through many phases, finally C’s ran out of defenders and Hemel levelled the scores with a converted try after 38 minutes.
Cheshunt had already lost their influential captain Tom Claridge and he was soon joined on the touchline by Aydan Duligall, the pair were responsible for much of the good defensive work in the first half an hour and C’s started to struggle to contain the rampant Hemel team.
When a lineout was turned over from the re-start, the home side quickly put the ball through hands and play was stretched from touchline to touchline and they were able to get over in the corner, the conversion put the home side in charge at the break 17-10. Although Cheshunt started the second period brightly, Hemel soon scored another well worked try following some excellent support play, they broke from their 22, down the right wing, constant supporting players were on hand to keep play going and they were soon in under the posts. Cheshunt then kept the Hemel team out until they lost Connor Pearce to the bin, the home side immediately took advantage of the extra man and pushed the scrum over, more extras put them clear at 31-10. The last ten minutes became very hard work for Cheshunt; a dominant Hemel team running in 3 late tries to give the score line a rather unbalanced look, as they racked up 50 unanswered points in the last 50 minutes of the game.
The opening four fixtures have seen Cheshunt play 4 of the top 5 sides, they will hope the fixture list begins to get a little easier in the next few weeks, this Saturday they welcome Finchley to Andrews Lane.