Hertfordshire claim narrow win in Bill Beaumont Cup opener

Old Albanian's Harry Bate starred as Hertfordhire beat Surrey in the Bill Beaumont Cup. Picture: NEI

Old Albanian's Harry Bate starred as Hertfordhire beat Surrey in the Bill Beaumont Cup. Picture: NEIL BALDWIN PHOTOGRAPHY - Credit: Archant

A penalty five minutes from time was enough to give Hertfordshire a close-fought 31-28 win over Surrey at Woollams in the Bill Beaumont Cup.

Josh Sharp from Loughborough Students took full advantage as Surrey were found offside, putting Herts second in the Division One South County Championship table.

The Hertfordshire side included four from the host club as well as former Harpenden junior Ralph Adams-Hale, who is on loan from Saracens at Ampthill.

Having been thrown together after a long season, neither team were able to find cohesion for long periods of the game.

Herts though started positively and Tom Banks got the opening try, converted by Sharp.

And although Ollie Turner put Surrey on the board with a penalty, Ampthill’s George Elliott crossed for the second home try, again converted by Sharp.

But any thoughts of a comfortable win were dispelled before the break.

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Turner kicked a further three points and he brought Surrey to within a point with his conversion after Ian Kench’s try.

The second period began with plenty of possession for Herts but it was the visitors who took the lead for the first time, Darren Livett finishing off a quick counter-attack and turner converting again.

But just as it seemed the tide had turned, Hertfordshire were handed a lifeline.

Surrey fumbled the restart and after some quick passing Banks went over for his second, which Sharp converted.

The game continued in this back and forth manner for the remainder.

Surrey edged back in front with a penalty from Turner and an unconverted try for Karyim Irving.

Anthony Maka and Sharp brought parity with 10 minutes to go, after the Letchworth man, on as a replacement, found a gap to touch down unopposed.

Sharp then brought relief for the home support with the winning kick.

Herts probably shaded the loose play and the backs had plenty of possession although they were unable to turn that into points.

OAs Harry Bate picked up the man of the match award.

Next up for Herts is group leaders Cornwall who arrive at Bishop’s Stortford on Saturday.