Hertfordshire Stags semi-final bound after Berkshire win

PUBLISHED: 07:00 31 March 2016

Herts Rugby

Herts Rugby

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Harpenden Rugby Club's Tim Bitrim kicked a conversion and two penalties as Hertfordshire Stags U20s made it to the semi-final of the RFU National U20 Championship.

The 13-5 win over Berkshire at Bishop’s Stortford’s Silver Leys ground also included Ben Rawinski from Oaklands College and Old Albanian quartet Billy Stella, Karl Garside, Hayden King and Foster Kavanagh.

The victory was based on an excellent scrummaging performance by the Stags pack backed up by solid defence.

The conditions also played their part with frequent heavy squally showers making handling difficult.

The strong wind also meant that kicking was difficult and clearance kicks often failed to find their target.

That didn’t stop Bitrim opening the scoring however after 10 minutes, knocking over an excellent 45 metres effort.

And the full-back was on hand shortly after to convert a try from 17-year-old debutant Seb Brownhill.

He had a chance to further extend the lead moments later but his kick sailed wide in the strong wind.

Berkshire responded and after good pressure from a driving line-out they managed to cross the line with skipper Will Morrison.

Turning round just five points in arrears, and with the wind at their backs, the visitors would have thought they could still get something from the game and for the opening 10 minutes they laid siege to the Hertfordshire line.

Bitrim helped relieve the pressure with a charge out of his own half, a passage of play that eventually led to another scrum penalty, this time on the Berkshire 22.

Bitrim made no mistake with the kick.

Both sides made great efforts to add to the score but the nearest Berkshire came to closing the gap was a good break by skipper Morrison.

That move ended with a turnover and it was not long before the final whistle came.

The semi-final will be played on Sunday, April 10, at a neutral venue.

They still await news of the draw but their opponents will come from Northumberland, Gloucestershire or Yorkshire.

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