Hertford 1stXV 17 V Barnes 1stXV 23
Hertford fell to their first defeat of the season on Saturday at Hoe Lane against a composed well organised Barnes side that were comfortable in possession of the ball and determined in defence without it.
Both sides showed an admirable resolve to play running rugby and the spectacle, despite the result for home supporters was worth the admission fee, with Hertford putting in a performance that on another day may have yielded a victory.
Both teams contested the early stages well but on eight minutes a high clearance went unchallenged by the home side, two passes and missed tackles later Barnes were in for the first five pointer which would have been seven but for the intervention of the woodwork.
With this wake up call Hertford began to work to get a foothold in the game and after a period of possession did so when Sean Taylor was on the mark with a penalty to reduce the deficit to two points.
Two minutes later the home side were reduced to fourteen as winger Jack Mitchell received Hertford’s first yellow of the season for a tackle offence. Despite Barnes having the numerical advantage it was Hertford that were pressing for the majority of the ten minutes punishment and indeed they may well have scored as hooker Luke Ellis nearly crowned his debut game with a try but was tripped with a flailing leg as he endeavoured to do so. With no sanction from the official the injustice was compounded as a loose carry was seized upon by the visitors and they broke downfield, the pressure engendered eventually told as they made the extra man count for a converted score.
With Hertford restored to a full contingent Barnes stretched their lead further when the Hertford scrum coughed up a penalty on their 22, not deterred the hosts continued to take the game to their opponents and from a scrum deep in the Barnes red zone the ball found its way to fly half Ben Lloyd whose well weighted long miss pass allowed wing Michael Allen to scoot in for the score. Taylor was on the money with a difficult conversion as he banked the extras. 10-15 H.T.
On resumption of the contest Hertford had their best spell of the game in terms of ownership of the ball and territory but were unable to find the clinical edge to break through the visitors defence until on sixty five minutes scrum half Ben Creasey won a high kick well just into the Barnes half, good presentation saw lock Matt Perks take it on before sublime passing skills from Torran McDougall and Michael Allen put Creasey into finish just to the left of the posts for a converted score.
Hertford needed to remain composed as they led for the first time in the game, but a galvanised Barnes drew another penalty minutes later to restore their precedence. With Hertford still well in the game some perhaps unwise game management then took place as the Hoe side desperately tried to get on terms, this allied with loose handling putting the brakes on any momentum generated. The task of rescuing the game was then made more difficult as an unconverted interception try took the visitors lead out to six points and despite great efforts by the home side that remained the arrears when the final whistle blew.