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1st XV - Match centre

Hertford
Tunbridge Wells
Sat 17 Feb 15:00 - London & SE Division - London & SE Premier Full time

Hertford 43 v 17 Tunbridge Wells

HERTFORD cantered to a seven try victory at home to sixth placed Tunbridge Wells, securing another five points in their quest for a play-off berth come the end of the season.

HERTFORD cantered to a seven try victory at home to sixth placed Tunbridge Wells, securing another five points in their quest for a play-off berth come the end of the season.

The first half made for magnificent viewing for the packed stand, with the hosts turning on the style with a tremendous display of running rugby.

The floodgates opened as early as the sixth minute, with hooker Chris Joyce throwing in the ball short at a line out just past the Tunbridge 10m line. It was passed back to him and he raced up the blind side for a great score in the corner. Sean Taylor’s touchline conversion kick split the posts to put Hertford 7-0 up.

Hertford -v- Tunbridge Wells first half
75 photos

The second try on 13 minutes was a fine effort, starting with Joyce making good ground up the middle, supplying MacDougall who then off-loaded for wing Allan and Taylor to do the rest, with the full back crossing the whitewash. The extras were missed but it was 12-0 and Hertford were playing with a fluency that was a joy to behold.

A spectacular burst from the hard-working Elston then saw him leave his would-be tacklers for dead to score, with Rory Seymour having effortlessly fed the ball to James Kinsley to set up the play. Taylor’s conversion made it 19-0

The bonus point was collected when Geoff Hughes emerged with the ball in the far corner following an excellent rolling maul.

Even better was to follow on 27 minutes when a number of phases - started by a run from deep in his own half by Richard Streets – with the ball going through countless hands ended with Joyce bamboozling the visiting defence to score. Taylor was again successful to stretch Hertford’s advantage to 31-0.

Such was the intensity of Hertford’s play that Tunbridge struggled to get out of their own half, with another stunning run from Aaron Lowe seeing him off load to Taylor, who was tackled just short of the line. It was breathless stuff. However you sensed it couldn’t last and the visitors finally started to regain their composure and ended the half in the ascendancy, but basic errors meant they weren’t able to get on the scoreboard.

Tunbridge rallied well after the break, going over for three tries, whereas Hertford added to their tally just twice.

Hertford weren’t able to rise to the heights of their first half display and Tunbridge finally got off the mark in the 54th minute after a good set of phases ended with Mike Hathaway scoring and Frank Reynolds converting.

More Tunbridge pressure ensued, but the hosts added their sixth try just at the right time to dash any comeback hopes from the visitors courtesy of an alert Ben Creasey, who picked up a loose ball and went through a huge gap in the middle to score under the posts. Taylor added the extras and it was 38-7.

Shortly afterwards Creasey finished off another fine move which began with another midfield surge from Lowe, who fed Allan on the left and he showed a clean pair of heels before finding his scrum half who went over in the corner, but the conversion was missed.

Tunbridge finished with a flourish, scoring two more tries through Matt Spicer and Max Hobbs, but this was most definitely Hertford’s day.

Skipper Josh Corcoran said: “The first half we came out of the blocks and undoubtedly played some of our best rugby. “We took our foot off the pedal a bit in the second, we had a couple of line outs where we coughed it up to them and they got the scores.

Head coach Kanwaijit Basra - a perfectionist at the best of times - did concede his side played some of their best rugby of the season in the first half, but was slightly disappointed they didn’t go in for the kill after the break.

“We made a few mistakes in the first half and maybe left a number of tries out there with some handling errors and poor communication. “Yes, we scored some great tries, but if we want to be pushing for that top two we’ve got to be even better.

“We knew we needed to start the second half well because they score a lot of tries in the closing stages,” he said. “Their defensive record isn’t great but they are a good ball handling side. Conditions suited us, as they did them.

“The second half was a bit disappointing – we made two changes at half time with Harry Morgan on for John Patton and Stuart Smart for Richard Streets and then a third change with Tim Matthews coming on for James Kinsley shortly afterwards. “I didn’t think we added much with that, but that was my call so maybe I have to have a look at that.

“We took our foot off the pedal a bit in the second, we had a couple of line outs where we coughed it up to them and they got the scores.
“They are a decent team, when we played at their place they came back with two tries and they did the same today.

“I thought Torran MacDougall, Josh Corcoran and Jack Elston were absolutely outstanding. Our strength is our back row, they play as a very good unit. “Torran was my man of the match, but he didn’t get on the score sheet.

“We’ve got a week off now and most of the boys have had seven hard games in a row, so will need a rest . We will start again on Tuesday planning for the next game.

“We want to go up and we have to keep our standards high.

We’re in a good place only one point behind Tring and three points behind Barnes with both still to play top of the table Guernsey and each other.

“We’re right in the mix and going to push hard until the end of the season. “Every game is now a cup final for us – we need five pointer every time and that’s the bottom line.”

Videos and photos

Hertford -v- Tunbridge Wells first half
75 photos

Team selection

Taylor, Sean Taylor, Sean
Mitchell, Jack Mitchell, Jack
Lowe, Aaron Lowe, Aaron
Streets, Richard Streets, Richard
Allan, Michael Allan, Michael
Seymour, Rory Seymour, Rory
Creasey, Ben Creasey, Ben
McDougall, Torran McDougall, Torran
Corcoran, Josh Corcoran, Josh
Elston, Jack Elston, Jack
Keens, James Keens, James
Kinsley, James Kinsley, James
Hughes, Geoff Hughes, Geoff
Joyce , Christopher Joyce , Christopher
Patton, Jon Patton, Jon

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League table

# Team Pl Pts
1. Barnes 26 111
2. Guernsey 26 110
3. Tring 26 105
4. Hertford 26 105
5. Tunbridge Wells 26 77
6. Westcliff 26 75
7. Shelford 26 59

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