Hertfordshire youngsters one match from Twickenham after narrow victory over Gloucestershire
PUBLISHED: 12:26 03 April 2018 | UPDATED: 12:27 03 April 2018
Hertfordshire Stags are one win from Twickenham after reaching the semi-final of the Jason Leonard U20 County Championship with a nail-biting 10-3 win over Gloucestershire.
Two unconverted tries from Jordan MacDonald and Matt Bendin were enough to send the young Herts side through to a final four clash away to Yorkshire.
It was nip and tuck throughout with both sides having chances but the Stags seized theirs while the visitors to Hertford Rugby Club’s Roe Lane same opportunities go astray.
The Stags pack, which included Welwyn’s Josh Milton, had the best of the set pieces, being strong as usual in the scrums and winning almost all their line-out ball, plus a couple against the throw.
In the loose it was very even with solid tackling on both sides stopping strong forward drives.
Behind the scrum there was again little to choose, though early in the game the home side did find a bit of space.
After that the defences of both sides again proved to be too strong and every attack was snuffed out.
Hertfordshire got off to the perfect start when a run from full-back Bendin took play into Gloucestershire’s half.
When a penalty was conceded, the Stags kicked to the corner and after securing the ball, hooker MacDonald touched down.
The conversion attempt hit the post and Stags’ five-point lead was soon down to two with a penalty from Tom Webb reducing the gap.
Another line-out brought the second try, this time though the ball was spun left and Bendin crossed out wide.
Remarkably that was the end of the scoring despite just 25 minutes on the clock.
Both sides missed penalty chances before half-time and the second half opened with the visitors putting on the pressure.
However, the Stags were able to withstand that, even despite a yellow card.
It was then the hosts’ turn to camp in their opponents half but again the defence reigned supreme.
And by the time the final whistle went the Stags had hung on to their seven-point lead to set up the April 15 clash at Doncaster Rugby Club. The winners will play either Cornwall or Cheshire.
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