Herts left broken as lead is lost in six fateful minutes to give Gloucestershire victory

Old Albanians Dan Watt scored one of the Hertfordshire tries away to Gloucestershire. Picture: Karyn

Old Albanians Dan Watt scored one of the Hertfordshire tries away to Gloucestershire. Picture: Karyn Haddon - Credit: Archant

Two converted tries in the final six minutes broke Hertfordshire hearts and gave Gloucestershire a narrow 31-29 win in the Bill Beaumont County Championship.

With the game in Lydney entering its final stages, Herts appeared to have things well and truly sown up with a 29-17 lead, but the home pack were to have the last word.

They forced Herts to concede a penalty and after they kicked to the touchline 15 metres out, a catch and drive was collapsed meaning a yellow card and more importantly a penalty try.

And with two minutes to go Rich Hance burst through the defence from 22 metres out and touched down to tie the scores.

It left James Moffat with a nervous kick but it was one he landed and the final whistle came soon after the restart.

It leaves Hertfordshire on seven points, three points behind Gloucestershire.

And they need a bonus-point win at home to Cornwall, together with a Gloucestershire defeat, if they are to reach the final.

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Harpenden’s Luke Barber was a given a start along with Old Albanian trio Dan Watt, Oli Walliker and Harry Elbrow.

Woollams team-mates Aaron White, Tom Bednall and Morgan Thompson joined them from the replacements bench.

There were too many errors on both sides to make it a classic match but that did not detract from the excitement and the nail-biting finish.

Gloucestershire’s pack showed their power from the start with Matt Lane pouncing on a loose ball from a scrum to open the scoring. But a try from Tom McCrone, converted by Sean Taylor, put Hertfordshire ahead and that lead was increased when Elbrow was on hand to score try number two, Taylor again adding the extras.

However, a second for Lane and one from Danny Pointon, converted by Moffat, gave the hosts a 17-14 half-time lead.

But Hertfordshire opened the second half in fine style with two quick scores. Both came from tapped penalties, the first finished off by Taylor, which he converted, and the second by Watt.

Herts had chances, Watt and Taylor again involved, but the final pass went astray on both occasions and a penalty 13 minutes from time from Taylor was their only score.

It was to prove vital in the final despairing moments.