Hard work undone in final quarter spree
GUILDFORD lost their opening game of the season against a strong Hertford team after a brave battle.
The home side eventually ran out handsome winners with a blistering spell in the last 13 minutes as they amassed 28 unanswered points to post a score that had looked unlikely.
In near perfect conditions for rugby, Hertford spurned an early chance to gain three points as Sean Taylor was awry with his penalty attempt, in contrast Guildford’s Gareth Davies split the sticks on 10 minutes, from a decent distance out, to open the scoring 0-3.
Hertford’s riposte was almost immediate as an athletic break in midfield by centre Arron Lowe was a catalyst for some neat interplay which ended with left wing Kyle Lemon diving in wide out for an unconverted score.
Guildford regrouped and, after good pressure, scored when Ollie Millward powered over from a close quarter driving maul, Davies was on target with the extras and the same player stretched the visitors’ lead further with another penalty as Hertford infringed at the breakdown.
Not long before the interval Hertford reduced the deficit to one point as, from a lineout maul deep in Guildford’s red zone, flanker Chris Joannou peeled off to force himself over the line to score; Taylor improved this further with the two.
Three minutes into the second period the home side scored again.
Right wing Jack Mitchell made a splendid break from within his own 22 before releasing centre Stuart Smart, who in turn unleashed replacement wing Michael Allen to score with his first touch. Taylor arrowed the ball through the sticks to snare the two points.
Once again the home side failed to prevent a quick reply as Guildford displayed great hands to put Luke Rust in under the posts and give Davies a routine conversion, and at 20-19 Guildford regained the lead.
Coming into the home straight it looked as if it could be a nervy finish but on 67 minutes scrum half Ben Creasey, with a neat show and go, found a hole in the visitors’ defence to scamper in behind the posts and give Taylor a tap in conversion.
Buoyed by this the home side found another gear and scored several tries taking the game away from Guildford.
With the game all but over, flanker Ollie Cain made a muscular 20 metres to get Hertford on the front foot, and a couple of rucks later Creasey used good feet to dance through a tired defence to claim his brace under the uprights, Taylor split the same for 47-20.
Guildford coach Dave Ward said: “We did well for a large part of the game but rather like last year, Hertford found a golden touch for 20 minutes and punished us hard.”
Members of G-Force, Guildfordians’ Touch rugby team, celebrate after winning their latest silverware