Hertford A 7-10 Bishop's Stortford A
An outstanding performance from a brave Hertford A side who were leading until the final play.
A scoreless first half saw Hertford playing into a bitterly cold wind and the defensive display of the season from the home side as the boys wrapped and chopped their way through a Bishop's Stortford onslaught. Several excellent multi-phase defensive sets saw Hertford defend, turnover and clear their lines as Bishop's Stortford threatened to score.
In the second half the wind had dropped, our defensive line was quick and our box kicking was accurate - we were forcing errors in the Bishop's Stortford attack and Hertford started to develop an attacking threat of their own. After multiple phases and penalties within 5m of the Stortford line finally, George Giblett crossed the line to earn Hertford a well deserved lead. Finley Morgan's excellent touchline conversion kick bisected the posts and Hertford were leading 7-0 after 45mins.
A lapse in concentration led to a period of sustained pressure for the visitors - rewarded with an unconverted try at 50 mins...Herford were still holding the slimmest of leads at 7-5 as the final minutes of the match expired. A penalty to Hertford outside our 22m line should have provided the chance to close out the game, however Hertford lost the ball at the lineout and then conceded a penalty and the ball was duly put into touch on the 5m line. Stortford kept knocking on the door as Hertford were caught offside and the referee indicated penalty advantage, so a straightforward penalty kick at goal for the match was the minimum reward at that stage, however with full time long gone Hertford's stalwart defence was finally broken and Bishop's Stortford scored to take the game.
Both sides played the game hard and fair for the duration and it was a high quality game to watch in tough wintery conditions - it's a shame we weren't allowed to play it on the main pitch because it deserved to be watched and enjoyed by more people!
This was probably the cruelest of all defeats that this side have experienced (and we've had more than our share) and personally it was upsetting to see the disappointment in our boys' faces - as we all dared to believe that we would overcome the unbeaten league leaders. However, what inspires me was the quality, effort, sportsmanship and teamwork of our performance, it was one of, if not the best that this side have put together and I know that the coaches and parents are incredibly proud of each and every one of them. Every ounce of skill and effort was expended by all of the boys, I couldn't have asked for more.
Sadly, I fear that a return for the day of 1 losing bonus point is not enough to keep us in league 2 , whereas the win would have meant safety, we are now entirely dependent on the results of other teams especially Letchworth and Finchley.
So we'll lick our wounds and get back to training this week, safe in the knowledge that we are more than capable of competing with and beating the best - this will stand us in good stead for the County Cup where a tough, but beatable Letchworth await Hertford A and Welwyn await the Scorpions.
Training at Hertford
Training will take place at Hertford this Wednesday and will run from 18:30 to 20:00
We will also be training at Hertford on Sunday 10:00-12:00, do please mark your son's availability for both sessions so that we can design training sessions appropriate to the numbers especially with half term coming up.
Updated 15:41 - 11 Feb 2019 by Gavin Howell