The Third Very Good Performance in These Last Three Weeks
A stolen line-out 6 minutes from the end denied Barnes a draw away against the top team
At 15 minutes the score was 7-all; 7 minutes into the 2nd 1/2 Stortford had a 14 point lead. With 7 minutes to go it was 21-all; Barnes held out a Stortford attack close to their line and got a penalty for the opposition not releasing. After kicking not far for a line-out they had that stolen and from it Stortford scored the winning try.
The home team returned the visitors kick-off then an error resulted in the first scrum for Stortford 7 metres past halfway. Their pack kept the ball in advancing 11 metres to get the first penalty that was put into touch, not far, at the 22. Again the pack kept the ball close before a forward broke off; after two recycles, fly-half Coleman sent wing Hankin to the line not far from the posts inside 4 minutes and scrumhalf Banks added.
Stortford ran the ball from the restart into their 22; the visitors soon forced an error to get the first scrum put-in 18 metres into the opposition half. Their pack was pushed off the ball and Stortford went wide. After advancing to 6 metres into the other half with 4 phases they were penalised. The touch kick gained 26 metres for Barnes; from the line-out they immediately went wide and put together 10 phases getting into the 22 before being forced back to 15 metres into the opposition half where a good tackle resulted in Stortford's 2nd put-in. From that after 2 phases they gained 10 metres Barnes forced an error to get the next scrum. Breaking blind from it they got a penalty with no advance; the kick took them to the 22. Following the line-out their forwards started a drive that got to 8 metres out before the ball was released to the backs. From fullback O'Toole in the line wing Carlisle was sent close before the defence was penalised and lost a forward for 10 minutes. Barnes opted for a line-out 5 metres out; they recovered from an error then two recycles sent centre Butler to the posts at 15 minutes. O'Toole added.
The visitors replied to the short restart with an up-and-under that resulted in a penalty against them 14 metres inside their half and the opposition kick sent them back to defend a line-out 7 metres out. From that Stortford's pack drove to the line but were held there. Banks had a snipe before the Ref. awarded a penalty 5 metres out against the defence. Now the home team chose a 5 metre line-out; the defence held to get a scrum at the same place. From that the visitors broke blind then recycled once before clearing to touch at the 22. Stortford went wide from their line-out and after 4 phases putting the ball through several hands the defence got another put-in 11 metres out. From the scrum they soon cleared to touch; the opposition took a quick line-out and went wide but were straight away penalised 5 metres from their half. Barnes' kick didn't find touch and was kicked back. The visitors then ran the ball for 4 phases before passing forward 30 metres from their opponents' line. There followed an excellent series of 17 phases, starting with a very good wide break, that took them to 30 metres from the other line. From their scrum Barnes again broke blind and kicked long for territory after recycling twice. Stortford cleared the ball back to touch then the visitors took a quick line-out before kicking to the line where Stortford touched down for a 22 drop-out. Straight after that they forced a turnover and started another excellent sequence again of 17 phases that resulted in their penalty 5 metres out. They opted for a scrum and kept the ball in advancing with lock McCraith getting the touchdown wide out just after the half-hour. Banks added.
The visitors forced a turnover soon after the restart and kept the ball for 10 mixed phases before the defence caused an error to get a scrum 12 metres out. From that they cleared to touch 11 metres from halfway. The Ref. saw that the line-out was thrown not-straight by a millimetre or two and the visitors were penalised in the subsequent scrum. The kick took Stortford to a line-out inside the opposition 22. From that they went wide then were turned over after recycling once; an error immediately gave possession back to them for a put-in 25 metres out. The scrum wheeled and Barnes were penalised and their captain was spoken to by the Ref. Stortford opted for another scrum from which they soon went wide and broke through and just failed to regain a chip through to the line before halftime, leaving the score at 14 - 7.
The second half restart went into touch 14 metres into the visitors' half. From the line-out Barnes launched an up-and-under that got them a penalty 27 metres ahead. The kick took them to 16 metres out and from their second line-out their pack first kept the ball for a drive then kept the ball close until turned over 6 metres out. They soon got the ball again but were forced back to their scrum put-in 19 metres out. After that they advanced at centre then recycled 6 times before being dispossessed. Stortford cleared to touch 26 metres out then came away with the ball from the line-out. They soon cleared to touch 12 metres from halfway; Barnes threw the line-out too long. Opposition flanker Ball got the oblate spheroid and ran off deep into the other half and sent Coleman clear to the posts after 7 minutes. Banks added for a 14 point lead.
The restart resulted in a penalty for the home team 16 metres inside their half. Their kick gained them 29 metres; after the line-out and 3 phases for Stortford the opposition forced an error to get a scrum 28 from their line. Under pressure they got the ball away and soon tried an up-and-under. Stortford got the ball and kept it momentarily before a Barnes' line-out 17 metres into the visitors' half. The wind helped the throw to be not straight; after the scrum again Stortford had the ball for a moment or two before Barnes got a loose ball. With 7 mainly close phases they advanced to 8 metres into the other half and an opposition put-in. Stortford kept the ball in a reset scrum to get a penalty that they ran and made good ground before being forced into touch 17 metres into the other half. Barnes went wide from the line-out and caught the opposition offside. The kick took them almost to halfway; another not-straight line-out followed. Again the visitors were penalised at the scrum and the kick took Stortford to just inside the opposition 22. From the line-out they let the ball out but kept it close for 3 phases advancing before an error caused them to drop the ball. Barnes sent the ball wide, recovered from an error, then put together 10 very good mixed phases breaking out and taking them more than 3/4 of the pitch for Butler to touch down at the posts at 23 minutes. The fullback added.
The restart resulted in a scrum for the visitors 15 metres inside their half. After it they soon launched an up-and-under that was regained by their no. 8 Steele. This was soon followed by their line-out 15 metres into the other half. From that they went wide and recycled 13 times before sending wing Martey to the posts at 28 minutes. O'Toole levelled the scores.
The visitors secured the restart and ran wide and kept the ball for 7 mostly close phases before trying an up-and-under. Stortford dealt with this and they also went wide making ground before their line-out 25 metres from the opposition line. From that they put together 8 mostly close phases to get a penalty 16 metres out which they ran to 5 metres out. They advanced to the line recycling 4 times before being penalised at the line. Barnes kicked to touch but only to 12 metres out; the line-out was stolen and after 6 phases wing Read crossed at the corner with 6 minutes left on the clock. An excellent conversion from Banks followed.
The last restart resulted in a Barnes' scrum at the opposition 10 metre line. From that they advanced a few metres with 3 phases to get a penalty and kicked for a line-out 17 metres out. This resulted in their scrum at the same place; from it they put together 16 very good phases before being penalised 10 metres out. Stortford put the ball into touch for the whistle.
Mostly overcast, with occasional sunshine; the wind varying, the pitch hard.