Superb turnaround for Vees against Mill Hill led by old hands and young guns alike

Darren Westhead (left) and Joe Baker in action for Verulamians. Picture: KARYN HADDON

Darren Westhead (left) and Joe Baker in action for Verulamians. Picture: KARYN HADDON - Credit: Archant

Verulamians climbed further away from the foot of the Herts Middlesex Division One table after a second success of the season against Mill Hill.

The 21-17 success lifts Vees above their north London visitors and keeps them in touch with the two sides ahead, one of which, Thamesians, provide the opposition when the league resumes from a mini break on December 7.

This win at Cotlandswick was played on an overcast day with threatening rain in the air.

Vees were also faced with a bulky front-row but from the first whistle they set up attempting to stop the inevitable pressure that Mill Hill were going to place on them in the opening quarter.

After a stuttering start they managed to gain a penalty which their young full-back Jake Lawrence converted but Mill Hill responded with a lot of forward pressure and scored a good forward-led converted try.

The rest of the game was a real battle that was good to watch but gruelling to take part in.

Lawrence did get another shot at the posts which he claimed to see the home side just one point behind at half-time.

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Mill Hill started the second half quickly and a converted try and penalty extended the lead to 17-6.

But somehow the tide turned and the young half-back pairing of James Ryan and Jack Hegarty started asserting some control.

It allowed Lawrence to land another long-range penalty and when Hegarty spotted a gap to grab Vees' first try, the home support sensed something might happen.

And so it did with the Vees whole back division combining smoothly to put the recently returned Adam Russell away to score a perfect 50-metre try which the sure boot of Lawrence converted to secure a hard-earned victory.

A spokesman for the club said: "This was a merited comeback against the odds and Vees owe a debt of gratitude to the three young guns who were ably backed up by the returning Mike Ainsworth, Darren Westhead and the ever-present Tim Fretter.

"The front row are unlikely to take on such a weight disadvantage again until the return match in March."