Herts U23s are beaten by neighbours

PUBLISHED: 16:32 21 April 2008 | UPDATED: 22:12 26 October 2009

Middlesex U23 37 Hertfordshire U23 15 A HERTS Under-23 side featuring a host of Welwyn players battled hard but didn t have enough to defeat a stronger and more mature Middlesex team last Wednesday at Harrow. Welwyn hooker Ben Solez, back row Tom Jankows

Middlesex U23 37 Hertfordshire U23 15

A HERTS Under-23 side featuring a host of Welwyn players battled hard but didn't have enough to defeat a stronger and more mature Middlesex team last Wednesday at Harrow.

Welwyn hooker Ben Solez, back row Tom Jankowski and second row Will Freeston all started the match against Herts' county rivals, with inside centre Dean Stoner used as a replacement from the bench.

Former Herts U23 coach and Welwyn boss Peter Engledow said: "I'm really happy to see a number of Welwyn guys taking part.

"The squad is set up to give an opportunity to those who have the potential, but are too old for the younger age range, to represent their county.

"After our success in staying up, it's great to see Welwyn represented at county level, and the talent shows we are doing something right."

Despite looking as though they may be overwhelmed, with the half-time score at 25-5, Herts put in a much better performance after the break, albeit with the wind in their favour.

They matched Middlesex try for try in the second half.

Herts' younger forwards struggled in the scrums and at times they ran out of numbers in the loose, with the consequent defensive errors giving Middlesex some scoring opportunities.

The backs did well with a limited supply of ball and Herts skipper Tim Gray had an outstanding game at centre.

Gray played a major part in both the visitors' second-half tries.

Both wings also showed their paces when given the opportunity.

Middlesex took advantage of the wind in the first half and were soon 12 points up.

Herts replied with a try by Tring second row Gareth Briggenshaw after winning good ruck ball.

That was Herts' only try of the half and with Middlesex adding two unconverted tries and a penalty the score was 25-5 at the break.

Middlesex increased their lead with another try immediately on the resumption, but then Herts made good use of the wind to take up some attacking positions.

Gray was involved twice in the movement that eventually put Fullerians' Greg Bezzer in for try after seven minutes.

Middlesex replied with a converted try, but Herts had the last word and salvaged some positive consolation from the game when Gray made a great individual run and put Hemel's Aaron MacDougall over for try.

Engledow stepped down from his job as coach of the U23s to give others the opportunity to develop their management skills, but still helps out with the co-ordination of matches and tournaments.

He added: "There is quite a lot of potential there. Jankowski has had a fantastic season and it's easy to forget he is only 18.

"Solez and Stoner again are both young guys, and with them it's all about developing their communication on the field.

"Freeston is an exceptional talent and has been playing in the second row for us this season.

"If we get him fit he can only go on to bigger things.


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