Herts open Shield campaign with thumping win over Eastern Counties

PUBLISHED: 15:34 13 May 2009 | UPDATED: 22:08 26 October 2009

HERTFORDSHIRE'S rugby side beat Eastern Counties 65-21 in spectacular fashion at Hoe Lane, Hertford on Saturday in their opening County Championship Shield match. Herts scored nine tries as they demolished their opposition. The visitors took the initiativ

HERTFORDSHIRE'S rugby side beat Eastern Counties 65-21 in spectacular fashion at Hoe Lane, Hertford on Saturday in their opening County Championship Shield match.

Herts scored nine tries as they demolished their opposition.

The visitors took the initiative from the Herts kick-off and their backs looked dangerous. It took a short while for the Herts defence to tighten.

After five minutes of play, Tom Newton made the first of what was to prove to be many spectacular breaks from the halfway line.

The ball was taken on by Ian Crompton and Paul Gustard was on hand to score the opening try.

Richard Gregg added the conversion and then increased the lead two minutes later with a penalty.

Newton then ran the ball from the restart, Gustard took it on and Mark Evans fished off the try in style, Gregg again converting.

The burst of scoring wasn't over.

At the end of the first quarter a clearance kick from Newton bounced awkwardly.

A defender failed to catch the ball and Evans seized on it and sprinted over for another converted try to send his side 24 points up.

Eastern Counties rallied, put some pressure on the Herts defence and were rewarded with two penalties, both kicked by fly-half Tom Hughes.

However, the home side were soon back in the visitors' half and won a penalty that Gregg converted.

Then Luke Sloan made a break from the halfway line and put Crompton over in the right corner.

Even though they were 32-6 down at half-time, it was Eastern Counties who made the running in the opening stages of the second period.

After four minutes Alex Kelsall crossed the line and then second row Matt Edison scored in the corner after a missed tackle, but neither try was converted.

Herts replied immediately with a Newton try.

Next the home forwards drove Jim Remfry over following a line-out.

Gregg added the conversion and Herts led 44-16.

The visitors kept going, winning turnover ball in midfield and wing Tom Holt crossed the line.

But this burst of scoring wasn't over because from the restart Sloan broke through from the halfway line.

He put fellow centre Steve Small over under the posts for an easy Gregg conversion and a half century of points for the hosts.

Further tries came. Firstly, Nico Burger got one and that was added to by replacement prop Giles Wallis, who also crossed the line.

Gregg converted both before retiring amongst the final series of substitutions.

That was the end of the scoring as two tired sides welcomed the final whistle after a very pacey game which Herts dominated 65-21.

Herts are next in action on Saturday when they take on Hampshire in the County Championship Shield.


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