Harpenden edge Stortford by a point to lift county cup
- Credit: Archant
Harpenden Rugby Club’s U18 side beat Bishop’s Stortford by a single point to win the County Cup.
Stortford led for 65 minutes of the match but Harpenden had the last laugh as Ollie Brown stormed over the tryline and Tim Bitirim kicked the game-winning conversion to give their side a 15-14 victory.
The visitors took the lead just five minutes into the game as they flew out of the blocks, looking to avenge their loss last week to Wolverhampton. Harpenden, boasting 11 Premiership Academy players, couldn’t stop Lucas Pratt from going over after a powerful scrum and quick hands from scrum-half Alex Patten. Tom Kingham added the extras to give Stortford a 7-0 lead.
Harpenden fought their way back into the game and started to retain possession at their own set pieces. After 30 minutes, Harry Hutchins released Lewis Daly who burst through and fed Conor McLean to go over. The kick was missed and Harpenden went into the break trailing by two points.
The second half started as the first finished, with Harpenden winning the tactical battle and Stortford edging the tight.
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Stortford built on their lead when Barry Barton crashed over and Kingham converted to put Harpenden in a nine-point hole.
With Hutchins dictating the game from fly-half and Bitirim finding space behind Stortford’s defence with his kicking, Harpenden soon reduced the deficit. The visitors were penalised and full-back Bitirim kicked his side within six points.
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Harpenden were punching holes in the defence at will and, inevitably, it led to the winning score. Hutchins and Chris Cullen combined to released Brown, who shrugged off two tacklers to score. Bitirim converted to put Harpenden in front, a lead they would not relinquish as they lifted the county cup.