Hitchin’s efforts go unrewarded
by Richard Holmes
It was another bitterly cold winter’s day at the King George V playing fields as Hitchin battled to end a poor form of results in previous weeks. It was a match that Hitchin coach, David Marshall described as “a major step forward” for the Hitchin boys and, was more than pleased with the performance the team showed after a bad run. It seems as though the only thing Hitchin have to work on is the end result.
The, once again, young team came out on to the pitch with their heads held high and from the first whistle were putting Datchworth XV on the back foot with 10 Jack Peachey showing great tactical kicking. The fierce Hitchin pressure was too much for 4th place Datchworth resulting in Hitchin winning a penalty on the Datchworth 22 metre line. Talented Peachey stepped up to slot the ball through the posts putting Hitchin into an early lead of 3-0. Fans on the sideline were seeing a totally different Hitchin team showing good flair and confidence. The Datchworth pack found a weakness in the Hitchin defence and started playing the slow ball, the slightly less experienced Hitchin pack found it difficult to deal with and required support from the Hitchin backs. The Datchworth 13 saw his chance and took a gap in the defence to take the lead with a try, not followed up with a conversion, putting Datchworth in front with a score of Hitchin 3, Datchworth 5.
Hitchin, determined not to lose, came back at Datchworth hard. The backs had obviously been working on their moves when great decision making and a scorcher of a run by Richard Gregg on the wing had Hitchin in the Datchworth 22. A cheeky chip over the disorganised Datchworth defence saw skipper Vinnie Kevans scoop up the ball and run it under the posts for a try, the kick was no match for Peachey and Hitchin took the lead by 5 points.
The battle between the two well matched teams went on as the Datchworth forwards overpowered the Hitchin boys in the contact. The Hitchin pack resorted to getting their hands dirty in the rucks and were called up for a penalty by the referee. This gave Datchworth an opportunity to gain yards and use their overpowering and speedy lineout which was too much for even Nick Panton to second guess. The Datchworth forwards were too strong for the Hitchin young guns and disabled Hitchin from winning any ball in the break down. The Datchworth backs showed a glimmer of skill in the Hitchin 22 which allowed them to score a well worked try, unconverted, to put the scores equal.
The score was reflecting the game play on the pitch, there was nothing to separate these two teams and the linesmen were getting a good bit of rest on the half way line. Both teams were equal in their ability and lacked a certain spark to finish off any threat, even the quick feet of winger James Larman were not enough to break the Datchworth defence. Hitchin were losing their set plays and resorted to their kicking game to change the result, this gave Datchworth the opportunity to run back at loose weak tackles from the Hitchin back line. Quick ball and an organised pack in the Hitchin half saw the Hogs go 5 points down at the half way point.
Our boys heads went down and while fans went to warm up their fingers, captain Kevans warmed the Hogs hearts. When the fans came out into the cold once more, they came out to a totally different Hitchin side with the forwards pulling their fingers out and highlighting their true force when they drove the Datchworth pack back about 20 yards. Most of the second half was being played in the Datchworth 22, D’worth found the fresh young legs of Hitchin hard to deal with and gave away a silly penalty within Peachey’s kicking range, he smashed the ball over the posts to tighten the gap to a score of Hitchin 13, D’worth 15.
The D’worth XV equally stepped up their game after this wakeup call and once more frustrated fans watched in anxiety at a game of stalemate. Good running and offload by 9, Carwyn Morgan, gave Hitchin a lineout on the D’worth 5 metre line which failed to result in anything. When powerful play and presentation by Sean McGinnity saw Hitchin have another lineout on the D’worth 5 the boys had another chance to take the lead. Frustration grew and the lineout was spoiled yet again by a well drilled D’worth pack. Temperatures on, and off, the pitch grew as Hitchin found no way of getting past the D’worth defence.
Hitchin found themselves holding on by a thread at one point when a courageous Hogs pack kept the ball from crossing their line. The game livened up in the last 10 minutes but there was still no way for Hitchin to find their silver lining. A failed penalty kick in front of the posts by Peachey in the last minutes of the game signified Hitchin’s loss. The final whistle went after a knock on by Marcus Moore’s tired, beaten hands.
Hitchin must be praised for the effort and tremendous skill they showed throughout the game but failed to receive any final reward. Coach, David Marshall will just have to wait until next weekend for the Hogs to break out of this bad spell of results and climb up to a position they are more than worthy of.
Sean McGinnity, William Corrigan, Richard Stidolph, Nick Panton, Carl Astley, Joe Benucci, Simon Banner, Graham King, Carwyn Morgan, Jack Peachey, Richard Gregg, Vincent Kevans, Jesse Gerhard, James Larman, Chris Betts
Marcus Moore, Chris (Kitkat) Davies
Vincent Kevans (1) C:
Jack Peachey (1) P:
Jack Peachey (2)
Player(s) of Match
1. Simon Banner, 2. Carwyn Morgan, 3. Richard Stidolph