Cup delight for Hertfordshire at Twickenham

PUBLISHED: 09:45 28 May 2012

OAs' Chris May was the Herts hero at Twickenham. Photo: David Buxton

OAs' Chris May was the Herts hero at Twickenham. Photo: David Buxton

David Buxton

OLD Albanian player Chris May grabbed a brace to help Hertfordshire to a comfortable 38-20 victory over Lancashire in the Bill Beaumont Cup Final at Twickenham, exacting revenge for their 2011 Final defeat to the Red Rose in the process.

Lancashire enjoyed the better of a cagey opening quarter, but after Chris Johnson and Hertfordshire’s Tom Newton had exchanged missed penalties, the northerners fell behind to May’s first try on 23 minutes.

Hertfordshire’s centre pairing of Chris Lombaard and England U20 international Ben Ransom combined well in the middle of the field to release winger May, whose perfectly weighted kick ahead allowed him the space to touch down in the corner.

Lancashire, seeking their fourth straight title, retaliated within six minutes as May’s opposite number Warren Spragg cut a superb angle and weaved his way over the try line, with Johnson on-target with the extras.

Replacement Tom Coleman edged Hertfordshire back in front with a 30-metre penalty as the interval approached, but Johnson’s strike on the half-time whistle ensured that the competition’s most successful county held a two-point lead at the turnaround.

Hertfordshire’s start to the second period was as blistering as the South West London heat as Newton raced home under the posts just 43 seconds into the half, converted by Coleman.

Their opponents then lost substitute Simon Griffiths to the sin bin and it proved costly as Hertfordshire bagged 10 points in the giant prop’s absence.

Coleman slotted his second penalty before Saracens’ impressive Irish second row Eoin Sherriff burst through from the subsequent restart for five more points, which the former converted into seven.

Johnson and Coleman traded penalties upon Griffiths’ return to the field to make the score line 28-13, before May all but sealed the win with his second effort of the day on 65 minutes.

The promising Ransom was the architect as he tapped a penalty deep inside his own half, stormed up the field and timed his pass to the supporting May expertly, Coleman making no mistake with the simple conversion.

A tiring Lancashire team grabbed a score back nine minutes from time as centre Stephen Briers burrowed over from close range, with Johnson’s drop kick conversion providing a small lifeline.

But a fourth Coleman penalty four minutes later extinguished any lingering hopes of a comeback and Hertfordshire strolled to their first ever Bill Beaumont Cup in their 75th anniversary season.

Line-ups: Lancashire: Chris Briers (Fylde); Nick Royle (Fylde), Stephen Briers (Fylde), Richard Kenyon (Fylde), Warren Spragg (Petrarca Padova); Chris Johnson (Huddersfield), Ryan De la Harpe (Moseley); Dan Birchall (Sedgley Park), Alex Loney (Fylde) capt, Peter Altham (Fylde), Paul Arnold (Fylde), Gareth Rawlings (Fylde), Sam Beaumont (Fylde), Evan Stewart (Fylde), Dominic Moon (Preston Grasshoppers).

Replacements: Simon Griffiths (Fylde), Grant Ferguson (Flyde), Mark Rylance (Caldy), Ben Vernon (Tarleton), Oliver Brennand (Fylde), Matthew Riley (Sedgley Park), Callum McShane (Fylde).

Hertfordshire: Tom Newton (Tring); Chris May (Old Albanian), Ben Ransom (Bedford), Chris Lombaard (Old Albanian), Michael Allen (Hertford); James Shanahan (Old Albanian), Stefan Liebenberg (Bedford); Jared Saunders (Saracens), Brett MacNamee (Hertford), capt, Petrus Du Plessis (Saracens), Tom Jubb (Cambridge), Eoin Sheriff (Saracens), Oliver Cooper-Millar (Old Albanian), Rob Farenheim (Old Albanian), Billy Johnson (Bedford)

Replacements: Stuart Bailey (Old Albanian), Robert Schillaci (Hertford), Marco Cecere (Old Albanian), Craig South (Hertford), Tom Mowbray (Chinnor), Tom Coleman (Bishop’s Stortford), Richard Gregg (Old Albanian).

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