Stowmarket see off Hitchin in first-ever clash between sides
- Credit: Gregg Brown
Senior Vase Hitchin 22 Stowmarket 34 This week saw a break from league rugby and a first-ever meeting between Stowmarket and Hitchin in the first round of the Senior Vase.
With no idea regarding the strength of the opposition, both sides started with their normal game – Hitchin looking to use their large forward pack and Stowmarket taking every opportunity to spread it wide.
That lead to a fairly evenly contested first 15 minutes before Stowmarket disrupted the Hitchin scrum five yards out and from a strip by Jo Fifield and Brown, no 8 Clarke was able to literally walk over the line for a try, well-converted by Dan Garrard.
Further attacking pressure saw a penalty from Garrard increase the visitors’ lead before fly-half Tom Crowe crossed for another try.
The final try of the half was scored by scrum half and captain Fifield, who broke from just inside the opposition half to score under the posts for Garrard to again convert.
With a half time score of 22-0 to Stow, there looked to be a fairly routine victory in order, however Hitchin had other ideas. They looked a completely different side in the second stanza and piled the pressure on.
In a short time they had scored two unconverted tries, and at this stage there only looked like one side who was going to score further tries.
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However somewhat against the balance of play Stowmarket were able to break and score through flanker Simpson, again converted by Garrard.
This gave Stowmarket a breathing gap but inspired Hitchin to further exertions and when Brown was yellow carded it was only a matter of time till Hitchin crossed for two further tries to close the gap to 29-22.
With 10 minutes to go the game looked very much in the balance, but Stowmarket stepped up the level and reverted to a more basic style of play which Hitchin were unable to counter.
After yet another series of multiple phases, centre Lancaster spotted he was up against a prop and quickly rounded him for another try converted by Garrard.
A difficult game for Stowmarket and one which will bode well for the hard tests ahead.