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5th (Vets) XV - Match centre

Pinner and G 2nd
Hertford Termites
Sat 11 Nov 14:00 - Hertfordshire and Middlesex Rugby Merit Tables - MERIT TABLE 5 Full time

Hertford 22 – 17 Pinner

Backs bag bonus (but it was the forwards what won it!)

Match report by Alfred Church

Backs bag bonus (but it was the forwards what won it!)

Hertford 22 – 17 Pinner

The prologue

Let’s deal with the elephant in the room up front: Hertford’s very own Pissed-Poet Laurette, Chippy Collins, was not available for the Termites this week as he had a self-diagnosed “achy” toe. The team wish him well with his strawberry daiquiri recovery programme. As such, what you may gain in grammar and punctuation in this week’s report, you will lose in aftershave inspired stream of consciousness.

The main event

The Termites continued their good league form with a hard fought victory over Pinner that was in the balance until the very last play of the game. The Hertford backs showed some excellent attacking play and committed defence, with the forwards providing the foundations for the backs performance.

We started the game at a canter with some good flowing rugby, sweeping into the Pinner 22 through numerous phases. The ball made it down the line, with Bishop committing the last defender and releasing Mayes to finish off in the corner. Unfortunately, his decision (probably!) to grubber kick through didn’t quite work, so the score remained 0-0 until the last few minutes of the first half.

The only try of the first half came after a dogged break by Captain Gawthorne who shrugged off a number of tackles before being hauled down by his scrum cap (Captain G: Ref ref, I will hit him if he pulls my scrum cap again; Referee: And I will send you off; Captain G: Understood sir.) We then spread the ball and Grace finished off in the corner.

The first half finished 5-0 and the momentum seemed to be with us. Lots of good words were said at the break, and we were well set to work on this in the second half.

As ever, we didn’t do what we’d said we would, and Pinner stormed into the second half. They completely dominated the first 5 minutes scoring a decent converted try.

The second half then ebbed and flowed as we tried to get back on top. The backs made some great breaks, with Preece floating through the Pinner defence on numerous occasions in the best of the Welsh traditions; with hips going one way, the eyes another, and Pinner grasping thin air. Preece was well supported by the centres, with Bishop providing some good bash and Cox the crackle, and by Jacob at full back who made some crunching tackles.

We eventually managed to get some ascendency in the forwards, which led to us scoring three unanswered tries from the backs. First up came a try from Cox after a quick penalty was taken on by the forwards. Then after multiple phases in the Pinner 22, Gawthorne sniped under the defence to score. Finally, Storey (a back row forward this week) went on one of his galloping gurns before offloading to the supporting forwards, who worked their way to within inches of the line, to allow Neaam from the backs to bag the bonus.

At 22-7, we would have happily headed off to the bar. Pinner, however, had other ideas. Spotting some beer inspired complacency on our behalf, Pinner scored two quick tries to make it 22-17 with just a few minutes to play. Game back on.

With the 80 minutes completed, but with restart after restart as the ball never seemed to go dead, we were desperate to get hold of the ball and finish the game. With just a 5 point cushion we were on the verge of throwing the game away. Pinner kept hold of possession and kept probing. They were awarded another scrum and were looking to make the break to win, but the front 5 came to fore. An absolutely fantastic drive meant that we got the turn-over at the scrum and were able to hoof the ball off the pitch – at last. The forwards embraced and made it well known that it was them what had won it. There is nothing better (for a forward) than winning a game with a scrum.

Team: Gerhard (Ellis), James, Humphries (Nelson), Mayes, Bingham, Storey, Church, Chris; Gawthorne (c), Grace, Preece, Bishop, Cox, Neaam, Jacob

The best partial touch judge commentary award goes to Ross Nelson. Very entertaining, and it didn’t really stop when he came on as a sub.

Team selection

Team selection has not been published for this fixture yet.

League round up

Other MERIT TABLE 5 results

Tabard 2nd
Cuffley 2nd
Finsbury Park 2nd
O.Albanians Grizzlies


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League table

# Team Pl Pts
1. Cuffley 2nd 17 68
2. O.Albanians Grizzlies 16 63
3. Hertford Termites 16 59
4. Chesham 2nd 16 54
5. Finsbury Park 2nd 13 50
6. Berkhamsted 1st 13 39
7. Pinner and G 2nd 14 36


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