Winger’s try not enough as St Albans are seen off by third placed Hammersmith
Division Two NW St Albans 5 Hammersmith & Fulham 23 St Albans once again came unstuck against one of the top sides on Saturday at Boggymead Spring. The action had begun from 12.30pm onwards in the clubhouse, with the Charity Ladies Lunch in aid of Beating
Division Two NW
St Albans 5 Hammersmith & Fulham 23
St Albans once again came unstuck against one of the top sides on Saturday at Boggymead Spring.
The action had begun from 12.30pm onwards in the clubhouse, with the Charity Ladies Lunch in aid of Beating Bowel Cancer. Indeed Saints ran out at 3pm sporting a garish new kit - specially created for the event, with the shirts being auctioned off later. These would not have looked out of place if they had been modelled by Dimitri Szarzewski and his colleagues for Stade Francais.
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After only seven minutes of the game, Saints' female followers and indeed the male stalwarts, had much to cheer when wing Ed Coy scored out wide. It capped off a fine move which started deep in Saints' own 22.
With Saints retaining possession from tight play, the Hammersmith full-back had positioned himself wide left ready to field what appeared to be a Saints touch find.
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However the home side's stand-off Charlie Howard called his scrum-half Pete Hissey to spread the ball right. With a quick pass the ball was in Coy's hands. He rounded his opposite number with ease. Now on halfway, he cleverly chipped over the next covering defender and headed for the corner. Then tackled by the fast covering full-back he managed to feed the ball infield to the supporting Howard. He looked certain to go over but a despairing tackle from the away side's winger stopped him 10 metres short.
As he was being tackled Coy took the try scoring pass.
Although the conversion was missed St Albans had more chances to score before the away side opened their account with a penalty.
Hammersmith then showed their true potential with a very well worked move from a set play in centre field. A conversion and penalty later meant that Saints were 13-5 down at the break.
For the last two seasons this fixture has always been a tight affair, with the game invariably going down to the wire.
Again this one did not disappoint and as the second half progressed, it was clear that defences would win the day. Whichever team was in possession, they could not find a way to unlock the opposing defence.
With 20 minutes to go, the Saints pack seemed to take control. A series of lineouts in their opponents 22 seemed likely to result in the score they so richly deserved. However, by whatever means, Hammersmith would not concede. Next it was a series of scrums with Saints again pressing the Hammersmith line. From a No.8 pick-up it appeared that Justin Joubert had gone over. The referee, increasingly suffering with a calf strain and who had already been attended to by both physios, was late to get there and could only say "Held Up".
From the next scrum, a similar move unfolded. This time Joubert was pinged for not releasing. Hammersmith duly cleared their lines from the ensuing penalty and from this period on it seemed St Albans had nothing left to give.
This was borne out by the way they leaked two soft tries in the last five minutes which gave the final score an undeserved one sided look.
St Albans will look back with regret at the chances they failed to take and also a couple of dubious decisions. The pack had once again given their all to dominate set plays and the backs had created enough to score more. Overall they played well enough once again, but perhaps lack a cutting edge.
St Albans: Dickinson, Coy, Sharp, Alderton, Tsangari, Howard, Hissey; Lemiere, Callan, O'Leary, Hillier, Sayers, Huddleston, Stanford, Joubert. Reps: Kilgallon, Scanlan, Morete.