Hertford 1stXV 47 V Guildford 1stXV 20
Seven try Hertford start the League campaign with a win.
Hertford welcomed Guildford to Hoe Lane on Saturday for the first league fixture of the season and won handsomely after finally releasing the shackles the side from Surrey had imposed on them. In a blistering last thirteen minutes the hosts amassed twenty eight unanswered points to post a score that looked unlikely previously.
In near perfect conditions for Rugby, Hertford spurned an early chance to gain three points as Sean Taylor was awry with his penalty attempt, in contrast Guildford’s Gareth Davies on ten minutes split the sticks from a decent distance out to open the scoring 0-3
Hertford’s repost was almost immediate as an athletic break in midfield by centre Arron Lowe was a catalyst for some neat inter play which saw left wing Kyle Lemon dive in wide out for an unconverted score.
Guildford regrouped and after good pressure scored when Ollie Millward powered over from a close quarter driving maul, Davies was on target with the extra’s and the same player stretched the visitor’s lead further with another penalty as Hertford infringed at the breakdown 5-10
Not long before the interval Hertford reduced the deficit to one point as from a line out maul deep in Guildford’s red zone, flanker Chris Joannou peeled off to force himself over the line to score; Taylor improved this further with the two. H.T. 12-13
The supporters who were enjoying the sunshine and celebrating the 50th birthday of the clubhouse had hardly the time to replenish their libation, as three minutes into the second forty the home side scored again. Right wing Jack Mitchell made a splendid break from within his own twenty two before releasing centre Stuart Smart who in turn unleashed replacement wing Michael Allen to score with his first touch. Taylor arrowed the ball through the sticks to snare the two points.
Once again the home side failed to prevent a quick reply as Guildford displayed great hands to put Luke Rust in under the posts and give Davies a routine conversion 19-20
Coming into the home straight it looked as it could be a nervy finish but on sixty seven minutes scrum half Ben Creasey with a neat show and go found a gaping hole in the visitors defence to scamper in behind the posts and give Taylor a tap in conversion.
Hertford buoyed by this seemed to find another gear, great kick off reception by Dave Archer regained possession and a number of phases later Creasey launched a long clearance kick that was not for the first time hungrily hunted down by Mitchell forcing Guildford into touch around their twenty two mark. With the lineout maul engaged practiced skills allowed the ball to be transferred to Mitchell who put Smart in for the score which Taylor duly converted.
The Hoe Lane side were now going for the jugular, sixty seconds later a perfect field of the restart gave Creasey the opportunity to set Allen on a trademark jinking thrust deep into opposition territory where the supporting Taylor completed the expedition with a converted score to the left of the poles.
With the game all but over flanker Ollie Cain made a muscular twenty metres to get Hertford on the front foot and a couple of ruck’s later Creasey used good feet to dance through a tired defence to claim his brace under the uprights, Taylor split the same to close out the scoring. 47-20
Tough on a Guildford side that had contested the issue through out in a game well officiated and played in great spirit.
Five debutants in this game who all acquitted themselves well, Ollie Cain and Jack Mitchell from our youth system along with lock Tim Matthews, centre Arron Lowe and t prop Harry Morgan who showed great energy when he came off the bench. A mention also for Kyle Lemon his first appearance for the 1st XV for over two years having fought a battle against injury and likewise Torran McDougall a year out, I have been privileged to observe these two players amongst others who under the watchful eye of our physio Charlotte have put in hours of rehab, having to deal with the setbacks, the nagging doubts, but enjoying the small step victories such a simply being able to jog again, welcome back lads.