Barnes 34 -v- 16 Hertford
FROM the moment skipper Michael Sargent was sent off for a tip tackle in the 13th minute Hertford knew they would have a mountain to climb ...........
Match report from Chesty:
FROM the moment skipper Michael Sargent was sent off for a tip tackle in the 13th minute Hertford knew they would have a mountain to climb at fellow high-fliers Barnes, but they displayed great resolve to lead at half-time and only succumb to two late tries which gave the final scoreline a flattering look.
Hertford made an encouraging start, when, despite losing an early lineout, they regained possession and a brilliant burst up the middle from hooker Chris Joyce saw them deep in Barnes territory.
The ball was recycled and Hertford won a penalty as Barnes strayed off side under pressure, which fly half Ben Lloyd slotted over for a 3-0 lead.
As play switched from end to end, with the visitors dominating the scrums and Lloyd kicking well to touch, what proved the pivotal moment in the match came in the 13th minute.
With the ball close to halfway, Sargent went in over enthusiastically on an opponent for the ball and ended up making what referee Michael Woods deemed a dangerous tip tackle as the Barnes player landed on his shoulder.
Hanbags followed the incident and after things calmed down, Mr Woods produced a red card from his pocket to send Sargent to the sidelines.
Hertford head coach Kanwaijit Basra said: “From where I was and didn’t see it.
“If Mr Woods said it was a red card, then it was – he’s a good referee.”
“After that obviously we were always going to struggle.”
The sending off proved costly as Barnes immediately went over for two tries.
Barnes kicked to the corner from the resulting penalty and the ensuing powerful shove from the lineout saw hooker Jack Garrett go over in the corner.
Wicks missed the conversion.
On 17 minutes Barnes were 10-3 ahead when Hamish Reeves squirmed free of a couple of would-be tacklers and scrambled over the whitewash in the left corner.
The conversion was again missed.
To their credit, Hertford didn’t let their heads drop and rallied in tremendous fashion.
An excellent series of phases engineered by Lloyd and acting scrum half Jack Mitchell, with play switching from left to right, ended with Richard Streets outpacing the Barnes defence to score in the corner.
A sweet strike from Lloyd saw the extras added to level the score at 10-10.
Hertford wing Mike Allan was instrumental in Hertford’s next score, from the boot of Lloyd, forcing penalty after a great burst into the Barnes 22.
The hosts dominated the next period of play with some fine shoves from rolling mauls, pushing Hertford back on several occasions.
But Hertford’s defence held firm, forcing plenty of turnover ball.
Full back Stuart Smart was doing plenty of running and tackling, and played with his heart on his sleeve – as did the rest of his team-mates.
Barnes had Hertford on the back foot, but the half-time break saw the Hoe Lane aide go in with a narrow 13-10 advantage.
Shortly after the re-start Lloyd had a pop at the posts from just past the halfway after some fine pressure resulted in a penalty, but the kick fell short and wide.
Hertford’s tiring defence held firm in the face of some relentless Barnes pressure close to the line, and they got a reprieve when the hosts knocked on following another powerful shove.
But gaps began to appear out wide and lock Collins eventually darted over for Barnes’ third try in the 54th minute. Wickes was again wayward with the conversion.
On the hour mark Barnes racked up the bonus point try as wing Martey went over close to the posts, Wickes adding the extras for a 22-13 lead.
Hertford were still up for a fight though, with Allen and Smart again proving more than a handful for Barnes, while Dan Belton was warrior like in his determination to gain valuable yards for his team.
With 69 minutes gone, Lloyd split the posts with a penalty with a great strike to make it 22-16.
Hertford got a second wind and strung together impressive phases, with replacement Rory Seymour bursting through, but his final pass didn’t quite go to hand.
Lloyd continued to work the channels, but the ball was turned over too frequently to sustain the momentum.
Barnes put an end to hopes of an unlikely Hertford comeback with two tries from Foster and Garrett in the closing stages, one of which was converted.