St Albans hit back on home turf to hold off Hitchin for a second successive league win
PUBLISHED: 16:00 20 September 2018
St Albans got the better of Hitchin in their first home fixture of the new Herts Middlesex One season.
They showed an improvement from their slender win at Saracens Amateurs in their opening match of the campaign a week earlier, but were still guilty of some slack passing, which affected the fluency of their play.
The home side opened the scoring on 20 minutes with a try from Shaun Rafter, after some good open play.
Hitchin rallied, but some resolute defence from Saints held them at bay for a time, before a converted try put the visitors 7-5 to the good.
Saints grew frustrated and let their discipline slip to concede a string of penalties, before captain Tony Stevenson was shown a yellow card.
Hitchin held on to their lead at half time and widened the gap after the restart with a penalty. But that was to be their last score of the day as Saints started to take control.
After moving up a gear to dominate the set-pieces, Saints saw their tight play cause Hitchin real problems.
Aaron James-Nicholas drove over for a well-deserved try to level the scores at 10-10, with George Elliott adding the conversion to put them back in front.
Elliott then touched down himself to extend the advantage and Jacob Swain also crossed as Hitchin struggled to cope with the growing pressure.
The home side were on top in all facets of play at this point, showing excellent fitness as Ryan Clarke impressed at full back with sound defence and an eye for attacking opportunties.
Young Harry Atherton also caught the eye with a strong performance on his senior debut, playing his part in a dominant display from the pack in a 24-10 win.
Saints visit Wasps RFC this weekend as they go in search of a third successive win in what should prove another test of their credentials.