Eight tries against Cornwall at Bishops’ Stortford combined with Surrey’s defeat of Gloucestershire takes Hertfordshire to the final of the Bill Beaumont County Championship next Sunday. At Twickenham they will take on perennial finalists Lancashire.
Tring players Elliot Byfield, Harry Green, Nick Stevens, Nick Radley and Sam Barnes joined the team with Harry and Nick scoring crucial tries.
It was a record breaking win with Cornwall unable to get any points on the board in response to the home side. For much of the game it was not as one sided as the final score suggests, but four tries in the last quarter sealed the comprehensive win.
In contrast to last week’s match at Lydney the Herts pack was able keep the upper hand in the loose play and their driving mauls from lines out resulted in three tries for the forwards.
The two sets of backs cancelled each other out throughout the first half with solid tackling on both sides preventing any real clean break. But as the Cornish men tired and the pacey Herts replacements came on, play opened up in the last quarter.
On a hot sunny day at Silver Leys, Hertfordshire opened and closed the first half with tries from drives at attacking lines out. Within four minutes of the start hooker Steff Jones was driven over the line from a line out some 15 metres out. Then on the stroke of half time No 8 Chris West touched down from a 5-metre line out.
Between these two tries both sides moved the ball whenever possible but neither set of backs made a significant break. However, after some 30 minutes play prop Karl Garside burst through from a tap penalty on the Cornish 22 to make space for lock Harry Green to score under the posts. Sean Taylor converted the first two tries to give Herts a 19 – 0 lead at half time.
The second half opened in a similar way with both sides probing for the break through, but again it was Herts forwards ascendancy at the catch and drive that resulted in a try for replacement hooker Ollie Walliker after 13 minutes of the half. Taylor added the conversion to take the lead to 26 points and Cornish hopes of a comeback were dying.
Mid-way through the half the backs finally made the score line, when centre Jimmy Rea made fine break, sold a lovely dummy and touched down, giving Taylor an easy conversion.
The final ten minutes then saw a flurry of tries, two from pairs of fresh legs. Replacement scrum half Ben Creasy scored, sniping round an attacking ruck. 5 minutes later replacement wing Luke Barber beat the cover for try and on the stroke of the final whistle flanker Nick Radley rounded off the scoring. With Taylor converting the first of these tries, the final tally reached fifty points – by far the highest score Herts have recorded against Cornwall.
Sean Taylor (Hertford); Elliott Byfield (Tring), James Rea (Bishop Stortford), Richard Streets (Hertford), Sam Barnes (Tring); Dan Watt (Old Albanian), Tom Banks (Bishop Stortford) (Capt.);
Louis Castiglione (Hertford), Steff Jones (Hertford), Karl Garside (Ampthill),
Rob Conquest (Cambridge), Harry Green (Tring), Nick Radley (Tring), Nick Stevens (Tring) Chris West (Old Albanian).
Replacements (all used): Oliver Walliker (Old Albanian), Tom McCrone (Bishop’s Stortford), Dave Archer (Hertford), Jack Elston (Hertford), Jack Scantlebury (Bishop’s Stortford), Ben Creasey (Hertford), Luke Barber (Harpenden),
Updated 09:46 - 22 May 2018 by Peter Walter
Hertfordshire: Tries – Jones (4m), Green (30m), West (40m), Walliker (53m), Rea (63m), Creasey (70m), Barber (75m), Radley (80m); Conversions – Taylor (4m, 30m, 53m, 63m, 70m)