Datchworth ease relegation fears slightly with important bonus-point win over Hitchin
PUBLISHED: 09:51 30 January 2018 | UPDATED: 09:52 30 January 2018
Danny Loo Photography 2018
A bonus-point 25-17 win over Hitchin saw Datchworth leap up to eighth in the London North West Three table and slightly ease their relegation fears.
With four teams separated by just three points they are by no means safe but they head into Saturday’s clash at St Albans, one of their rivals at the bottom, full of confidence.
In a fixture that is never easy for either side, the villagers started very strongly with the lion’s share of possession, territory and attacks.
Even with Hitchin a man down – the over-zealous Dale Baines seeing yellow – individual errors kept the score at 0-0 for the first quarter until young prop Tom Austin powered over for his maiden senior try.
With half an hour gone, Datchworth tried again to move the ball quickly and Tom Bennett carved the defence in two, beating two men for pace along the way. Despite being tackled short of the line, he got the offload away to Alex Nolan who arced round and finished under the posts.
Tom Wood was successful with the conversion for a 12-0 lead.
Hitchin hit back with a penalty before the break but Datchworth responded superbly after the interval and a crossfield kick by Sam Brunton was gobbled up by Bennett and Datch led 17-3.
Wood added a penalty before the hosts went up another gear.
Another Nolan turnover put Henry Mountain, fresh from a long injury lay-off, into a gap and he made a good 60 yards, before a mistimed offload gave Hitchin a scrum. But the Greens soon regained possession and Nick Moore again found himself in space, this time going over for the bonus-point score.
Hitchin are still scrapping for their own future at this level and they came straight back with a well-worked forwards try as Nolan saw yellow for a high tackle.
Down a man Datchworth struggled to string together any attacks and leaked another try just before Nolan returned, making it 25-17, with Hitchin showing a never-say-die attitude.
Back to a full complement Datchworth couldn’t muster another score but they did retain possession for the remaining 10 minutes, as they played out the clock for what could prove to be an important win.