The Under 14’s 10 game unbeaten run came to an end with a heavy 43-12 defeat away at Hertford on Sunday.
The margin of defeat was not a reflection of the balance of play after a tight first half edged 12-7 by the home team. Equally the majority of play across the whole match took place between the half way line and the Hertford 22. And despite the slight territory advantage Enfield’s pockets were picked time and time again with each of the Hertford tries being scored from long range following a turnover and featuring some fine weaving runs from those Hertford dodgers!
A sobering result for the boys to digest and the coaches will be reviewing the situation. Coach Alfie reminded the group that they should have been ahead at half time against what was a decent ‘A team from Hertford. Hertford did have some terrific players especially 9,10,14 and 15 and moved the ball well across the backs. They also tackled and rucked well. Our tackling and commitment was terrific at times but at others Hertford runners evaded three to four missed tackles. Ignatians themselves made lots of ground with individual runs. Elsewhere In attack we didn’t get our passing game going enough and our first half forward dominance faded in the second period. The result was fair, the scoreline harsh.
Right from kick off Hertford moved the ball well across their back line. They carried with pace and determination but were met with an excellent defensive set from Ignatians. Strong tackles from Ciaran and David kept Hertford at bay in what was the home sides best and most sustained attack of the entire game in our 22. With the ball back in our hands, some good runs from Forwards; David, Cian and Adam carried Enfield to the Hertford 22. Following that David scored the first try of the game. His ran with his usual entourage of opposition boys hanging off him (!) as he pushed successfully over the line. Glorious! 0-5 8mins.
With potentially more ‘A’ team backs rather than forwards in the Hertford line up, it was Enfield’s forwards and physicality that was earning possession and territorial ascendancy. A couple of strong runs from Cian moved the away team close, then earning the boys a penalty. With 27 of our squad watching England play at the club house Saturday the boys were inspired by George Ford to ‘take the 3 points’! Alas the chance was not converted.
On 17 minutes Hertford replied with a Try. Not for the last time it came from Enfield possession. A smart kick down the side line from George moved us up the pitch into the Hertford half. Alas the home team’s excellent scrum half picked up on the line and ran across the pitch untouched. He played a team mate in on the opposite side of the pitch to score. Too easy. 7-5
As the first half was drawing to a close we were enjoying watching a really good contest. David could consider himself unlucky when denied a second try. He had charged towards their line from a tap penalty. Within seconds of defending under their posts a break from their own half created to a Hertford try. Their second counter attacking try saw some great offloads but also missed Enfield tackles. 12-5. Half Time.
The second half was different in terms of the scoreboard although the pattern of how scores were derived remained the same. Our tackling was less effective and Hertford’s runners came out on top. First though a great Cian run inside the Hertford 22 was well defended by Hertford. Their defence turned the ball over, and a good pass from the Hertford 9 and a run from his own half created a break away try. 17-5. 30mins. 4 minutes later and a fourth ‘pick pocket’ Hertford try from their own half. Enfield ball was lost on the ground, picked up, seconds later following a rapid run Hertford had scored. 24-5. 34 mins.
Enfield got on the scoreboard again on 37 minutes. A good passing move from a line out, saw a run from Chenitha. We lost the ball during the passage of play but won it straight back.Adam collected and burst through the middle to score. 24-12.
We needed to score the next points and again had the ball in the Hertford half. However a Hertford player dived into a ruck, ‘won’ the ball and the home side were away, again scoring from distance with defensive tackles missed. 31-12 41mins.
The last 10 minutes were scrappy, tempers fraying with the result no longer in doubt. Some yellow cards were shown. Two more tries were also scored. I’d like to write something different but another Enfield pocket or two were picked, scores coming from counter attacks. The first following a scrum on the Hertford 22. The second after Enfield played with an offside advantage but when the ball went loose the Hertford winger ran half the field to score. Please Sir, give us no more! So Alfie blew the whistle and that was that. FT 43-12.
Our thanks to Hertford for being excellent hosts, and to Alfie for agreeing to officiate as Hertford were unable to on this occasion, and as always to all the parents who made the trip to provide their much appreciated support.