Tabard win pre-season opener

Tabard opened their pre-season with friendly 19-17 win over Old Dunstablians.

Tabard were lacking some of their proven performers for this first run out of the season, giving some of the youngsters who have come through from the junior section an opportunity to shine.

As the match developed, this experimental side began to gel and some new faces, who were making their first-team debut, showed they weren’t there to make up the numbers.

Tabard started the game under pressure from the much heavier OD pack. They gifted a penalty chance for being offside at a scrum, the resultant kick drifting wide, but conceded the first score as the host’s centre broke through after receiving quick ball from the base of a ruck.

As the half wore on Tabard started to exert pressure and were matching their considerably larger opponents up front. Tabard turned round at half time 5-0 down and conceded another try at the start of the second period. A missed conversion kept the score at 10-0.

To their credit Tabard rallied and full-back Elliot Hurrell received the ball inside his own half, burst through the OD defence and out-sprinted the chasing tacklers to score under the posts. Sam Barrow added the conversion to make the score 10 – 7.

The inspired decision of the coaches to shuffle the pack and inject some pace from the replacements bench worked sublimely. The pace of Harry Smith was shown to great effect when he went through to score from 30 metres without a hand being laid on him. Barrow added the conversion.

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Tabard were now bristling with confidence and Arasa grew in stature and, having made ground, he put in a speculative kick that rebounded in to the waiting arms of Mike Alder. He set off down the touchline, brushed off the attempt to stop him and grounded in the corner to bring the score to 19-10. Barrow’s conversion drifted just past the left hand upright.

Old D’s were not done however and completely against the run of play they picked up on a loose Tabard pass, allowing them in under the posts. The successful conversion took the score to 19-17.

This lifted the home side and they pounded to Tabard line but the defence held firm.

The match ended with Tabard on the attack and the ball being kicked in to touch by Barrow who should be pleased with his efforts in the scrum against much heavier opponents. It shouldn’t go unnoticed that for the last 15 minutes of the game, Tabard played with three Goughs on the pitch, father and director of rugby, Nigel, making a cameo appearance with sons Harry, who at this point had moved to the flank and George coming on at full back.

Tabard is a community club that strives to build their side on home grown talent. The youth section of the club is thriving, however new players with or without experience are always welcome. If you are interested in joining Tabard RFC, visit

Next Saturday Tabard play at Hitchin as the Herts Tankard gets underway. Kick-off is scheduled for 3pm.