Hertfordshire U18 26-26 Eastern Counties U18

Hertfordshire snatched a draw with Eastern Counties in a dramatic finish at Cheshunt on Sunday, a conversion with the last kick of the match following a late try levelling the scores. Moreover, the kick was taken twice because of an early charge by the defenders.

Five minutes earlier, the home side were still 14 points behind but late pressure brought two scores in the closing minutes. Firstly, replacement hooker Alex Osborne crashed over after a quickly taken tap penalty, then on the stroke of full time replacement prop William Grovestock was driven over after a good move from the backs had been stopped short of the line. Centre Daniel Hoyes converted both tries.

Although Hertfordshire showed great resilience to level the scores, Eastern Counties could consider themselves a little unlucky not to win the match. Midway through the second half they had put the Hertfordshire side under great pressure and twice came very close to scoring, but were a little unfortunate when the rub of the green went against them.

Hertfordshire’s forwards had a good game overall, winning one strike against the head and being pretty secure on their own line-out throw-ins. However, at times their distribution was poor and the passing rather frenetic, resulting in a number of errors. Atlthough things improved as the game went on, we wished for a wise old head on one of the young shoulders to control the game.

Hertfordshire had started where they left off agvaint Essex last month with a well worked try in the opening minutes with full back Tristan Barrie coming into the line and scoring wide out, the conversion attempt hitting the post. From then on the visitors had the best of the first half scoring two converted tries.

Within minutes of the restart Eastern Counties extended their lead to 19-5 with a try by their wing. Herts responded with an unconverted try by No 8 Sam Whitby following a tap penalty.

A period of pressure by the visitors resulted in one score and a couple of near misses, extending their lead to 14 points with about 15 minutes left. Then Hertfordshire showed their character and resilience which resulted in them snatching a draw in the last five minutes.

Hertfordshire:

Tristan Barrie (Old Albanian); Jamie Smith (Royston), Alfie Robbins (Tring) , Daniel Hoyes (Hemel Hempstead), James Norman (Hemel Hempstead); Johnny Chalkley (Harpenden),

Louie Jackson (Tring).

Charlie Reboul (Old Albanian), Murray Davidson (Bishop’s Stortford), Tain Richards-Farr (Bishop’s Stortford) , James Corner (Tring), Josh Caldwell (Fullerians), Jacob Knibbs (Welwyn) (Capt), Harvey Creighton (Weybridge Vandals), Sam Whitby (Datchworth)

Replacements: Alex Osborn (Harpenden), Oakley Rennie-Sivell (Verulamians) , William Grovestock (Datchworth), Pablo Delgado (Chess Valley), Danny Hay (Hemel Hempstead),Ben Burgess (Ampthill), Will Spencer (Oaklands Coll), Adam Bowers (Chess Valley).

Scorers:

Hertfordshire:  Tries – Barrie 5min, Whitby 47min, Osborn 65min, Grovestock 70min; Conversions: Chalkley 47min, Hoyes 65min, 70min.