Westcliff 12 - 19 Hertford
Rescheduled from 9/12/17
Hertford hung on to this game for a crucial win on the road despite being down to effectively 11 men against 14 for the final 5 minutes. Heroic defence for 15 phases saw Sean Taylor and Jack Mitchell hold up the Westcliff number 3 over the line and the referee bought an end to proceedings. A very eventful game which saw 5 yellow cards and lots of off the ball skirmishes and the rain started hammering down just on kick off. The partisan home crowd also made lots on noise!
Hertford started by kicking off and the ball was bought back the half way line as it went dead. Westcliff mounted attack after attack but the Hertford team defended very well with double hits and stopped the opposition on the gain line time and time again. The wind was very much in Hertford's favour in the 1st half and they made use of it by dominating the scrums and playing in the opposition half.
Herford moved the ball well despite the torrential conditions and a very heavy pitch.Sean Taylor opened the scoring on 20 minutes with a well worked backs move and as he has done all season he made the ground for the try and then converted. 0-7 to Hetford.
Westcliff then got back in to the game and after 4 consective penalty awards went for a lineout catch and drive on 27 minutes and when this was thwarted there number 3 managed to squeeze over for a deserved score.7-7.
The game then got a bit scrappy with numerous incidents off the ball and no quarter was given or taken. Herford mounted another attack on their 10 metre line from a well worked lineout and after 4 phases were awarded a penalty on the Westcliff 22. The referee gave the Westcliff captain a talking to and when he was finished Sean Taylor tapped and went for a solo score under the posts which caught the home team completeley unawares..7-14.
Westcliff came straight back in to the game on 37 minutes as a dropped ball was fly hacked by the Westcliff number 15 from the half way line and he managed to dot the ball down over the try line. The conversion was missed so 12-14 at half time.
The 2nd half continued in the same vain with Hertford dominating the scrums and the Hertford backs continuing to make half breaks. The elements were now against Hertford. Both teams went at it hammer and tong and kept the crowd entertained.On 56 minutes James Keens saw yellow after a deemed tipped tackle. Hertford defended this period well and did not allow Westcliff a score. Once Keens was back off the sin bin Hertford mounted another attack from a scrum on the half way line and Ben Creasey scored the try of the match from a set move. He dummied and then beat the cover for pace and scored in the right hand corner. 12-19. 67 minutes.
Hertford probably should have then secured the bonus point as the Hertford backs again lauched a devastating counter attack from a loose Westcliff kick and Jack Mitchell was denied by an excellent cover tackle.
Westcliff then started to use the wind to good effect and started playing in the Hertford 22 as the conditions got worse. Tim Mathews saw yellow after an offside incident on 78 minutes and the game then descended in to chaos as Josh Corcoran and the Westcliff number 8 both saw yellow on 79 minutes with plenty off injury time still to play. On 80 minutes Geoff Hughes saw yellow after a lineout infringement and it was 14 vs 12 for the last few minutes. The Herford team defended as though their lives depended on it as Westcliff launched wave after wave of attack. Chris Joyce the Hertford hooker also went down with what at the time looked like a serious injury and with the Hertford pyhsio on the pitch the referee waved play on. Effectively it was 14 vs 11 for the last few phases and if ever a game was one by blood guts and character and a willingness to get up and fight for your mates then this was it.