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U13 - Match centre

Hertford RFC A
Hemel Hempstead (Camelot)
Sun 14 Jan 10:00 - League Full time

As Fail to become Kings of the Castle against Camelot

HRFC U13s | Match report

We welcomed Hemel Hempstead - aka Camelot - to Hoe Lane for a much anticipated fixture in the new Youth set-up. Whilst OAs has the usual local rivalry, our games with Camelot always brought added spice given they have been the team to beat in the County across the past few years.

We had talked before the game about getting out of the blocks early. However, as with Rosslyn Park, we appear to want to give an already strong opposition a head-start; on this occasion, it was two tries in the first 5 mins as lack of discipline in holding our positions left a 3-on-1 situation, followed by no cover for a chip over the top for one of their quicker and stronger players to latch onto. Whilst we did respond with a try from Isaac Deacon and a typically strong burst in midfield, we again left ourselves open with another chip from Camelot - same wing, same player, same outcome - taking the score to 5-15.

Then the momentum switched and Hertford played some fantastic rugby, with our forwards rucking well and winning the scrum. A typical front row charge released Keiran Edwards to take the ball forward before off-loading to 'snake hips' Ben Southall, who left three defenders in knots before passing back to Keiran to bundle over in the corner. Isaac then made the scores all-square and we were in the ascendency.

Frustratingly, all the good work to get level was then undone by gifting the opposition a couple of simple tries through a combination of missed tackles and poor covering.

HT: Hertford A U13 15-v-25 Camelot U13

A much better start after the break from Hertford. Good work in the pack and quick ball allowed Finn Isted to finish off a good move in the corner and whilst we allowed Camelot an immediate response, the same player finished off a set-play to bring us within one try. Then a moment of controversy as we thought Joe Robinson - who had not been feeling great overnight and understandably had been quieter than usual in the first half - found some hidden energy reserve to back up a well-constructed move with a forceful dive over the line. Alas, he was judged to have gone into touch and the try was disallowed.

Given our dominance of the scrum in the first period, Camelot had resorted to pushing early, which was having an impact on our front row in particular. As a precaution, Noah Verdin came off with a sore neck, with George Parry slotting in at hooker. Sam Aylwin was putting in his usual shift, with both Luca Goodwin and Keiran Edwards going about their business with no fuss.

In pushing for an equaliser, we left gaps and Camelot sneaked in for an undeserved score to reinstate the two-try deficit. From the restart, we then proceeded to kick short and straight into the arms of their #15, who ran the ball back over the try line, leaving the score at 25-40. Despite regaining the initiative through further tries by Sam and Isaac, Camelot also grabbed one of their own.

FT: Hertford A U13 35-v-45 Camelot U13

The result left us kicking ourselves. We were the better rugby team but gifted them more than half of their tries. We again suffered from a slow start. However, many positives and specifics to work on, especially the restart.

Andy Verdin

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