Cents gave their best performance of the season on saturday when they deservedly overcame a strong Berry Hill side who came looking to extend their lead at the top of the table.
Before Christmas Cents visited Berry Hill and came away with a deserved 40 point thumping on the day.This weekend Cents were looking to overturn this heavy defeat and try and claim their third victory in a row over the top three sides in the league.
This was a great match to watch and in the good weather conditions both sides were prepared to run the ball from anywhere on the pitch.The game was played at a fast pace with hardly any interuptions for injuries etc.The first 40 mins flew by and there was plenty of incidents at both ends of the field of play.
Old Cents were first to score on 23 mins when Liam Hemming converted a penalty but within three mins Berry Hill scored a well worked try by their winger when the away side created an overlap after a series of drives near the home try line.The conversion was missed,score3-5 to Berry Hill.
Cents scored next on 32 mins when Prop Sam Preece scored from a driving maul after a lineout 5 metres from the away side's try line.The try was well converted from near the touchline by Liam Hemming for a score of 10-5 to Old Cents.Cents lead did not last long because Berry Hill converted a penalty on 35 mins and this was followed near half time when the away sides scrumhalf dummied his way over from close range.The try was not converted but a further penalty on half time was and at half time the score was 10-16 to Berry Hill.
Although trailing at half time Old Cents were very much in the match because their scrum and lineout were holding up very well with the game being taken to Berry Hill in every aspect of the forward play.Cents had created chances and had Berry Hill stretched on more than one occasion.Old Cents tackling had been spot on apart from the two tries but they were down to good play by the away side.
The second half was more of the same with both sides playing an entertaining style of play at a frantic pace which never let up until the end of the match.Old Cents lost the services of Rob Tucker through injury near the end of the first half,so they had to reorganise without a recognised scrum half replacement and firstly Joe Preece stepped into the breach then Nathan Young who has just joined Old Cents from Matson.Both players did a good job and this did not disrupt Cents too much.
Old Cents regained the lead on 48 mins when Joe Preece scored a try after good work by both the forwards and backs.Liam Converted the try and Cents now led 17-16.However this was short lived because Hill came back and took the led with a converted penalty.
This was the last time Cents were behind in the match because in the last quarter the home side blew Berry Hill away when they scored three converted tries to run out easy winners.The first try was scored after 55 mins when Rich Pinkney rounded off a good move started by Lewis May taking a good high ball punt and setting the home side away.The next try came on 65 mins when Liam Hemming touched down after an interception by Rich Pinkney near Cents try line.Berry Hill had tried to run the ball from a 5 metre lineout but were caughtout.The last try was again scored by young Liam Hemming when he rounded off a move started by Old Cents deep in their own half.Liam converted all three of the tries for a personal points tally of 23 points.
This in the end was a convincing win for Old Cents although they were made to work hard for it by a Berry Hill side who showed patches of why they are top of the Western Counties league and on the day they met an Old Cents in good form themselves after beating two of the top sides above them in the previous weeks.
The Old Cents forwards laid the foundations for this latest win when they dominated the Berry Hill forwards in the tight and also had a good day in the linout.They also competed well in the loose and hit the big Berry Hill forwards back in the tackle area around the fringes of the rucks and mauls.The backs also tackled their hearts out and were inventive throughout the match.The Old Cents man of the match award decided by the Vice Presidents was given jointly to Joe Preece and Liam Hemming.
Old Cents now look forward to their next match at Cirencester which will be another hard fought battle as not many sides come away with a victory from there.