Hard work proves worth it for Saints
London Three North West Datchworth 8 St Albans 12 ST Albans took the points at Datchworth on Saturday when playing well below their best in London North West Three. There is an old cliché in sport about how when you play badly and still win it signifies
London Three North West
Datchworth 8 St Albans 12
ST Albans took the points at Datchworth on Saturday when playing well below their best in London North West Three.
There is an old cliché in sport about how when you play badly and still win it signifies some progress. Although St Albans have left it too late to chase honours this year, there is significant progress since the start of the season.
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On Saturday the men from Boggymead Spring contrived a win when playing as badly as they have done for a very long time. The final result was a mystery to the home side and for St Albans was down to the hard work they put in, the ground they covered chasing back seemingly lost causes and their ability to recover from mistakes.
That said, Datchworth dominated 80 per cent of this game and threw away numerous scoring opportunities. St Albans had three scoring chances, scored two tries and had a try disallowed.
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Following heavy overnight rain and on a muddy pitch, this game was never going to be a classic. St Albans started the brighter and were on the scoresheet after only three minutes, when a well-executed back move freed winger Ed Coy to score try wide out. The conversion was missed.
Saints kept up the pressure and, two minutes later, number eight John Sayers was driven over by his fellow forwards. It looked a good try but the referee was unsighted and gave the benefit to the defending side.
From that moment on, Datchworth had the better of the game. Time and again they broke through Saints defence but failed to take advantage. Often it seemed inevitable that they would score but a succession of knock ons, forward passes and last-ditch tackles kept them from crossing the line.
The pressure did tell in the end and the Datchworth centre eventually crossed the line for an unconverted try making it 5-5 at the break.
The second half was less frantic. St Albans still struggled to play fluidly but their first-up defence was much tighter and scoring opportunities were restricted.
Datchworth took a deserved lead with 20 minutes to go through a well-struck penalty and they looked set for only their second league victory of the season.
The match turned when St Albans were awarded a penalty on the half-way line. Against the wind, Simon Andrews saw his kick spiral to within seven metres of the try line and, after a simple catch and drive, John Sayers was again over the line. This time the referee was well placed to see the ball grounded. Simon Andrews converted to complete the scoring and seal the dramatic win.
l In Herts/Middlesex Merit Table One, St Albans II lost 21-17 at home to Harpenden II. In Merit Table Three, St Albans III went down 20-8 to hosts Old Grammarians II.