Gallery: Verulamians in stalemate with Old Actonians

An Old Actonian attack is halted

An Old Actonian attack is halted - Credit: Archant

Verulamians played out an entertaining 19-19 draw at home against title contenders Old Actonians in the Hertfordshire/Middlesex League on Saturday.

Winger Bradley Bruce scored a superb 40 yard effort to give the hosts an early lead but the pin point kicking of Scott Ensom kept the visitors in touch at half time.

David Coyle went over from a driving maul but the away side responded immediately through Matt Lloyd on the hour mark.

Fly-half Gareth Waters had a chance to win the game from a penalty late on but to no avail as the points were shared in a much improved Verulamians performance.

The hosts began the game in encouraging fashion however despite dominating the early exchanges, the Vees were punished for their indiscipline and Ensom made it 3-0.

Old Actonians, who seemed to be playing with a bar of soap after repeated handling errors, were reduced to 14 men and the hosts took full advantage when scrum half Ryan Taylor burrowed over for a converted try after 15 minutes.

The home side were pegged back with another penalty but Bruce’s twinkling feet eluded the onrushing defence to touch down in the corner for a deserved 12-6 lead.

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The Actonian’s reduced their arrears to 12-9 at half time but the visitors would have been disappointed after failing to break down the resolute home defence.

The away side began the second half in the ascendency and Ensom’s metronomic ball striking drew both sides level but their already arduous task of surmounting their deficit was complicated further with another sin bin.

Their pressure eventually told on the hour mark with a barnstorming rumbling maul and number eight Coyle emerged from a pile of blue shirts punching the air in delight.

Almost immediately after however the away side drew level after they finally breached the Vees’ defence as Lloyd strolled through under the posts for the game’s last score.

The result secured back-to-back draws for the hosts, who travel to Royston next week, as well as ending third-placed Actonian’s three match winning run.

Verulamians’ starting line-up: 1) Adam Bloomfield 2) James Hayes (3) Harry Mack (4) Mike Ainsworth (5) Robin Wildley (6) Darren Westhead (7) Sam Townsend (8) David Coyle (9) Ryan Taylor (10) Gareth Waters (11) Bruce Bradley (12) Jesse Lee (13) Olly Gardner (14) Levi White (15) Andy Paton

Subs: 16) Graham Ross (18) Ben Moralee (18) Daniel Barnes

OA’s starting line-up: Will Howe, David Jameson, Aled Lewis, Adam Rothery, Tim Rolfe, Joe Kelly, Bryan Lush, Dave Murrell, backs: Chris Jumman. Matt Lloyd, Scott Ensom, Simon Hicks, John O’Flynn, Iwan Roberts, Justin Bullen

Subs: Stephen Hape, Jowaine Leighton, James Benedict.