Datchworth delight at Herts Tankard success

PUBLISHED: 11:42 06 May 2016 | UPDATED: 11:42 06 May 2016

Nick Gudgin goes over for a score

Nick Gudgin goes over for a score

Archant

Datchworth and Stevenage served up an exciting end to the season in the Presidents’ Tankard final at Saracens’ Allianz Park.

In a tense game, which could have gone either way, Datchworth ended as worthy 31-24 winners as they were more clinical with their finishing and made fewer unforced errors.

Town started strongly and had the better of the early exchanges.

They took the lead in the eighth minute when Ian Crompton latched on to a through kick by Gareth Lewis and rounded the Datchworth defence for a fine score.

This was the spur for Datchworth to take control of the match and they scored three tries in a devastating period of 13 minutes.

Firstly, in the 15th minute, Matt Winters made a surging run, which Stevenage halted by clearing for a line out. Kris Jones controlled the catch and drive before allowing scrum half Grant Roe to finish. Tom Wood added the conversion.

Such was the Datchworth control at this point that eight minutes later after a series of forward drives, the ball was released to Wood to score under the posts before the same player converted his own try.

Datchworth extended their lead to 19-5 when play was switched from left to right and winger Richard Mills scored in the corner.

Having conceded three quick tries, Stevenage showed resilience to claw their way back into the game with a penalty try right on half-time.

Crompton made a break and fed Sean Penny, who was held up short of the line, but Datchworth conceded a penalty in doing so.

Stevenage opted for the scrum, rather than an attempt at three points and were rewarded with the penalty try. Penny converted to make the half-time score 19-12.

Towards the end of the first half, Stevenage had begun to take control of the scrums and this continued into the second half.

The retreating Datchworth pack allowed Stevenage scrum half Chris McGrath to cause more disruption to the Datchworth possession at the base of the scrums and Stevenage levelled the scores in the 44th minute.

Joe Butcher completed an excellent carry and Town were awarded a scrum seven metres from the Datchworth try line. From the scrum, Michael Wilson completed a switch move with Crompton and he broke through the defence to score his second of the afternoon. Penny added the conversion to level at 19-19.

In a topsy-turvy afternoon, Datchworth again seized the initiative. Wood missed two penalty attempts, but he made up for that in the 59th minute with a carry from a quickly taken free-kick. It was recycled for Nick Gudgin to score with Wood added the kick.

Having fought back once, Stevenage dug deep and reduced the arrears to two points with their fourth try.

Wilson rounded off a flowing move involving himself, Butcher, Lewis and Penny before Crompton broke through and timed a decisive pass for the fly half to score a fine try in the corner.

With 14 minutes to go, Datchworth made sure of victory in the 73rd minute with their fifth try of an exciting encounter.

During a period of intense Datchworth pressure, they moved the ball deftly from the right out to left wing James Watt, who still had plenty to do to make the corner and seal victory for his side.

Stevenage Town: Penny, Cnnor Turner, Crompton, Lewis, Jones (Wall 58), Wilson, C McGrath, Crucefix (R McGrath 66 (Crucefix 69)), N Bamber, D Bamber, Banna (Mitchell 45 (Banna 74)), Butcher (Ripley 66), van Zwieten, Moore, Quarmby.

Datchworth: Winters, Mills, Brunton, Nolan, Watt, Ward, Roe, Bambra, Jones, Gudgin, Holland, Simons, Young, Potter, Mountain.

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