Stunning league and cup battle between St Albans and Barnet Elizabethans helps support Mark Trude's fight
PUBLISHED: 08:44 28 March 2019
St Albans and Barnet Elizabethans produced a breathtaking game in both league and cup on a day when both sides came together to support one of their former players.
The game at Boggymead not only fulfilled a Herts Middlesex Division One fixture but also doubled as the semi-final of the Herts Presidents’ Trophy.
On top of that it allowed both clubs to support Mark Trude in his battle with cancer with a lunch prior to the contest providing proceeds to a cancer awareness charity on Mark’s choosing.
The match itself was a fitting clash with both sides going at it from the very first whistle. The tackling was hard and for the first quarter neither could make any headway
Barnet did look the more dangerous and so it was no surprise when they got the first seven points of the day.
But Saints, whose handling had been average at best, stuck back immediately with a trademark George Saunders try that was converted by George Elliott.
The teams would trade tries again before the break, with Adam Jasinski’s unconverted effort leaving the score tied at 12-12 at half-time.
But after being close for 40 minutes, the second period looked as if it would produce a definitive winner with Barnet bagging two converted tries within the space of six minutes.
St Albans though have plenty of resolve and by employing a tighter game they pulled one back through Shaun Rafter that was scored a converted try.
The pack then combined to claw the gap to just two and when Rafter went over for his second try, Saints had the lead for the first time.
A penalty though with seconds to go ensured the league portion of the game ended in a 29-29 draw.
The cup though needed extra time and it was during this period that Saints stepped it up again.
And a double from Saunders, completing his hat-trick, means Saints are through to the final on April 28 at Harpenden.
They will now play Hitchin who defeated Watford 44-8 on Tuesday.
A spokesman for St Albans said: “It was a great afternoon of exciting rugby but it was also a chance for both clubs to show support to Mark who has his own battle to fight.
“Mark, we wish you well and hope that you can overcome this dreadful adversity.”