Stags Scrum crushes Kent
Kent U20 12 Hertfordshire Stags 23
Hertfordshire’s U20s, the Stags, totally out scrummaged their Kent counterparts to such an extent that Kent conceded double figure penalties at the scrums, a penalty try and a push over try to give the visitors victory in the opening match of the Jason Leonard U20 County Championship.
On a bitterly cold afternoon at Cranbrook, Kent had much the better of the first half leading by a goal to two penalties at the break. The Stags had struggled for possession at the lines out, losing a number against the throw and although the scrum was solid there was little indication of what was to come in the second half. The Kent backs were looking more of a unit but both side struggled with handling in the cold and wind.
The Stags drew first blood with a penalty from fly half Dominic Lilley after 10 minutes, but the lead did not last long. Within minutes Kent won a 5-metre line out, but then conceded a scrum. The Stags won the ball and tried to run out of defence. A pass went loose and centre Hugh Roberts (Old Elthamians) pounced on the ball to score, Steve Evans (Blackheath) adding the conversion.
The Stags reduced the deficit 10 minutes later after rare good ball from a line out gave the opportunity to attack and Kent conceded a penalty on the 22 to give Lilley an easy kick. With Kent dominating the lines out the Stags were somewhat fortunate to be only one point behind at half time
As the second half developed the Stags took control of the scrums and Kent began to concede penalties on a regular basis. The Stags elected to scrum rather than kick these penalties to touch and kept a grip on the game. Eventually midway through the half, a scrum penalty was within Lilley’s range and the Stags took the lead.
By now the referee was running out of patience with Kent and after another penalty, Kent lost a man to the sin bin. A few minutes later more penalties resulted in a penalty try to the Stags to give them a 16-7 lead.
Within minutes the Stags conceded a penalty at a ruck and Kent kicked for the corner. There their lineout superiority resulted in a catch, drive and a try for no 8 Jordan Stebbington (Medway). However, a Kent mistake at the restart put the Stags back into home territory and soon the back pushed over the Kent line for Calvin Hibbard to touch down. Lilley converted to make the score 23-12 and shortly after the final whistle came to give the Stags a well-deserved win.
The Stags are next in action on Sunday, 25th February, when the visitors to Hertford RFC will be Surrey, who top the table at the moment after a bonus point win over Easter Counties.
Josh Rudling (Northumbria Uni & Hertford); Curtis Woodham (Fullerians), Julian Manieson (Oxford Uni & Fullerians), Tom Smith (Old Albanian) (Capt), Cairo Sango (Enfield Ignatian);
Dominic Lilley (Loughborough Uni & Bishop’s Stortford), Harry Glennon (Hertford).
Daniel Hood (Univ of Surrey), Jordan MacDonald (Leeds Becket Uni), James Gallagher (Loughborough Uni), George Carter (Nottingham Trent Uni), Alex Curtis (Bath Uni & Old Albanian), Ethan Renny (Univ of West of England & Clifton), Josh Milton (Welwyn), Brad Etherington (Bishop’s Stortford).
Replacements (all used): Steve McKenzie-Cardy (Oaklands Coll), Ben Mills (Enfield Ignatian), Calvin Hibbard (Old Albanian), Alex Cox (Oaklands Coll & Old Albanian), Rohan Finnegan (Portsmouth Uni &Fullerians), Alex Brown (Durham Uni & Old Albanian), Caswell Sparks (York Uni & Old Albanian).
Kent: Tries – Roberts (18m), Stebbington (70m); Conversion – Evans (18m)
Hertfordshire: Try – Hibbard (75m); Conversion – Lilley (75m); Penalty try (65m);
Penalties – Lilley (10m, 26m, 60m