Lawrence and Waters star in late, late show as Verulamians snatch win

Gareth Waters kicked a late conversion to give Vees the narrow win. Picture: DANNY LOO

Gareth Waters kicked a late conversion to give Vees the narrow win. Picture: DANNY LOO - Credit: Archant

A converted try in the dying moments of the game handed Verulamians a big win against Hillingdon Abbots.

Abbots started the day in third position but the 19-18 success has put the St Albans-based rugby club just one point behind them.

It was a game the swung one way then the other, helped by sharp, blustery wind.

Vees dominated territorially for the majority of the first half, but found their hosts’ defence a tough nut to crack.

Sam Crowne finally found a gap to score from one of the numerous sorties that were repeatedly repulsed by a very resolute Hillingdon defence.

The second half saw the pattern of the game change completely.

An aggressive back row and adventurous scrum half gave Hillingdon plenty of penetrative powers that soon put Vees on the back foot.

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And two tries and a penalty stretched the score into what appeared an unassailable 18-7 lead with only 15 minutes to go.

But Verulamians are nothing if not resilient and from a rare piece of possession Joe Baker emerged from a rolling maul to touch down.

The missed conversion meant there was just six points in it but from the kick off a scything run from Alex Ricci took play into the opposition’s 22.

An offload to Tim Chase-Rangihuna created more momentum and a final pass to Josh Lawrence brought a try close to the posts. With the away spectators holding their breath, Gareth Waters slotted the conversion to give Vees the narrowest of victories.

Next up is a trip to Norfolk to take on Norwich-based side, The Crusaders, in the second round of the RFU Junior Vase competition.