Two-ton Datchworth rack up the centuries on an incredible day for the club

PUBLISHED: 09:44 11 March 2020

Datchworth Rugby Club's first-team after beating Grasshoppers 101-15:
Standing: Andy Riley (coach), Ian Reid (head coach), Ben Palmer, Tom Bennett, Stuart Young, Franco Caroleo, Will Williams, Nick Moore, James Watt, Connor Harris, Tom Blackwell, Marcus Potter, Simon Little (coach)
Kneeling: Alex Lloyd-Williams, Geoff Clapp, Nick Gudgin (capt), Tom Johnson, Tom Bambra, James Hankin, John Simons.

Datchworth Rugby Club's first-team after beating Grasshoppers 101-15: Standing: Andy Riley (coach), Ian Reid (head coach), Ben Palmer, Tom Bennett, Stuart Young, Franco Caroleo, Will Williams, Nick Moore, James Watt, Connor Harris, Tom Blackwell, Marcus Potter, Simon Little (coach) Kneeling: Alex Lloyd-Williams, Geoff Clapp, Nick Gudgin (capt), Tom Johnson, Tom Bambra, James Hankin, John Simons.

Archant

It’s a rare event for a rugby team to score 100 points or more in a game but Datchworth Rugby Club made a mockery of that with a ‘hold my beer’ moment.

Ben Palmer led the way for Datchworth at home to Grasshoppers with 40 points. Picture: KARYN HADDONBen Palmer led the way for Datchworth at home to Grasshoppers with 40 points. Picture: KARYN HADDON

Both their first and third teams managed the feat on Saturday with the two squads running in a total of 30 tries, 28 of them converted.

The first-team's 101-15 victory at home to Grasshoppers was their first of 2020 after a barren spell which saw five straight defeats.

It also means they have pulled 16 points clear of relegation in London Two North West and with only five games to go, they could send neighbours Welwyn down with one more victory.

Star of the show against the west London outfit was young scrum-half Ben Palmer who ran up a personal total of 40 points with a hat-trick of tries, 11 conversions and a penalty.

He was closely followed by the club's top try-scorer this season James Watt, who added another three to his tally, while there was a brace for Nick Moore.

Tom Blackwell, Geoff Clapp, James Hankin, Tom Johnson, Stu Young and Tom Bennett also bagged one try each with the latter kicking three conversions.

There was mitigating circumstances with Grasshoppers starting a man short but it is still rare, even in that situation, for one team to unpick another with such clinical precision.

The visitors had even taken the lead before Datchworth stepped it up a gear.

A thumping hit on first-team debutant Franco Guiseppe Caroleo gave them a penalty but Palmer opted to go for the corner instead of the easy three points and with Dom Negri and Connor Harris in imperious form at the line-out, the ball as gathered allowing Young to put them in front.

Watt got his first of the day before Clapp galloped in from half-way after great work by Alex Lloyd-Williams.

Johnson, Moore, Blackwell and Bennett all got their scores before half-time too as the hosts turned round with a 55-10 lead.

And the second half was a similar story to the first with the Grasshoppers beginning to struggle with their lack of substitution options.

Now running down the hill Datchworth started making some impressive breaks, none more so than from skipper Nick Gudgin who was stopped eventually on the five-metre line.

Grasshoppers showed great heart, playing at some points with just 13 men on the field as a result of injuries, and managed to get over the line themselves for a third try.

But the prolific duo of Moore and Hankin once again made the opposition pay with a couple of tries before Watt and Palmer took over.

The winger got to his treble as space began to open up and Palmer grabbed his hat-trick in short order, finishing off great work from his colt team-mates to end a perfect day for the team.

Datch go to Hampstead in a rearranged match on Saturday.

The third team meanwhile were involved in a hugely-entertaining run out at their St Albans counterparts, eventually returning with a 108-28 success.

And despite the score, skipper Phil Solomon admitted it wasn't an easy afternoon at Boggymead.

'That was certainly not the case as the forwards were put to the test in every area of the game,' he said. 'A very physical St Albans pack made the scrums the toughest battles we have had all season.

'In defence, the boys in green had to work incredibly hard to stop some excellent carries by the opposition and the breakdowns were fiercely contested.

'However, with a nine and 10 combination that was on fire, the ball was efficiently distributed to the backs who took full advantage of the space available to them.

'Full credit to the hosts for sticking at it for the full 80 minutes despite facing an unassailable lead.'

Mitch Constable was the top scorer on the day for the thirds with four tries while hooker Darren Barsby scored his first of the season with a jinky run past an unsuspecting full-back.


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