The right result in a difficult away game
Barnes' defence probably won them the game
The resulting difference between the teams might have been only 1 point were it not for an interception try by the visitors. It would have been much greater had the arbiter handled the disparity between the teams in the scrums differently. Hertford probably had the better of territory and possession with their backs looking more threatening.
Following the visitors' kick-off we had 3 kicks and two lines-outs. Hertford stole the second one and ran wide with 3 phases before the opposition forced an error to get the first scrum 15 metres into Hertford's half. Barnes were mistakenly penalised at that and their opponents gained 25 metres from their kick. From the line-out Hertford released to centre where they were penalised at the first breakdown. Barnes' kick only took them to 3 metres past halfway. They released from the line-out and advanced well with 2 recycles before being forced into touch 24 metres out. From their line-out Hertford used an up-and-under that no one claimed. After a bounce, Barnes got the ball and following one recycle Captain Collins, first time back this season, broke clear through from a crowd. The ball was quickly recycled twice before scrumhalf Franklin forced his way over not far from the posts at 8 minutes. The fullback's conversion kick hit a post and stayed out.
The visitors dealt with the restart and ran the ball; a serious injury at the second breakdown interrupted the game for some minutes. It was resumed with a Barnes' scrum put-in just outside their 22. This took time to settle and was reset twice; after it the visitors kicked for territory. Hertford ran the ball back, making ground with 5 phases before the defence forced an error. The Ref. went back to a previously signalled penalty 17 metres out in centre field at 12 minutes and fullback Taylor kicked the points to reduce the deficit to 2 points.
Hertford soon returned the restart with a long up-and-under to the other 22; the visitors ran the ball strongly recycling 3 times to get to their opponents 10 metre line where an illegal tackle gained them a man advantage for 10 minutes. The penalty kick went dead giving Hertford a scrum back. Barnes were again wrongly penalised at that; the kick gained 18 metres for Hertford. From the line-out they broke through in the centre before being penalised for not releasing 24 metres out. The kick took the visitors just short of halfway then the line-out wasn't claimed well resulting in their being forced back to their 22 where an error soon gave Hertford a put-in 24 metres out. From the scrum they went wide bringing the fullback into the line; after 3 recycles, the defence forced an error to get a scrum 5 metres out. Recycling close twice at the blind side, Barnes then cleared to touch 16 metres from halfway with an up-and-under. Hertford's pack set for drive that didn't move then the ball was dropped after release. Advantage was played and the visitors broke out well with 5 phases that took them just inside their opponents' 22 where the defence was penalised. The kick gained them 10 metres then from the line-out their forwards kept the ball close, recycling twice before trying wider. Then again going back to the forwards, this time blind, an offload and another recycle sent no. 8 Hind over, 5 metres from touch at 25 minutes. Similar to one last week, O'Toole's conversion never gained a lot of height yet did just pass over the bar.
Barnes cleared the restart well to touch, almost to halfway; Hertford were restored to 15 players. They broke down the touchline with front ball to their line-out; this resulted in another line-out for them 16 metres into the visitors' half. From this one they went wide with three phases before being almost intercepted. The outcome was a scrum for Hertford 3 metres inside the opposition half. This went down and the home team should have been penalised; instead they got another put-in at which they were pushed back then penalised. The kick took Barnes to a line-out 30 metres out; from that they first went wide then recycled twice close before passing forward just a few metres ahead. Just as the previous time, only at the second of two scrums, Hertford had to be penalised. This was in centre field at the half hour and O'Toole kicked the points for a 12 point lead.
The visitors dealt with the long restart then soon returned an up-and-under; Hertford got this and ran wide strongly to 14 metres out where the defence was penalised. They ran this one and at the second breakdown they got a scrum put-in 12 metres out. A no. 8 pick-up and a wide recycle sent wing Allan over at the corner at 34 minutes. A very good conversion from Taylor made the score 10 - 15.
An error at the restart gave the visitors a scrum 19 metres out; from that they put together a good set of phases but losing ground then at the last one the defence was quick off the mark and got a penalty for not releasing. The kick took Hertford to halfway where their line-out was stolen. Barnes kicked for territory; Hertford chipped over the opposition then a handling error gave them a penalty for offside. The next kick took them to 12 metres into their opponents' half. Their forwards kept the ball in from the line-out then let the ball out and broke through to the 22; after a recycle blind they broke through again before being forced into touch before the halftime whistle.
After the second half kick-off was returned by the visitors, Hertford ran the ball for a few phases before kicking out on the full. From the line-out 8 metres inside their half Barnes went wide and were forced into touch at the other side a few metres back. From the following line-out Hertford put together 6 good phases to get a penalty at the same distance. The kick took them to 19 metres out where a line-out error gave the defence a scrum from which they kicked for territory. Hertford ran the ball back wide and broke through a first tackle and got a penalty after recycling once at their opponents' 10 metre line. The kick took them to 17 metres out then from their line-out they put together a set of 10 good phases before Barnes hacked ahead a loose ball into the other half. Hertford recovered and recycled twice; kicks were exchanged then the home team ran the ball wide before a knock-on at a tackle gave them a scrum 11 metres inside their half. They were pushed off their ball, which the visitors got; Barnes advanced keeping the ball tight until being penalised for not releasing 28 metres out. A good kick took Hertford to 4 metres past halfway; Barnes got a free-kick at the line-out. The forwards ran the ball then the fullback made a break to the 22; after 4 more wide phases they were penalised again for not releasing, this time 17 metres out. The kick didn't find touch; the visitors ran wide and recycled twice close before kicking for territory. Hertford chipped over the opposition line and they regained the ball; they recycled blind and scrumhalf Creasey ran to the posts at 12 minutes. Taylor added for his team to have the lead for the first time.
After the restart the ball was dropped at the second of two up-and-unders giving the visitors a put-in 16 metres into the opposition half. They advanced in the scrum then recycled 7 times mostly close to get a penalty 17 metres out in centre field at 17 minutes and the full back kicked the points for a 1 point lead.
The visitors soon kicked back the restart; Hertford ran wide, recycled to their fullback then recycled twice close before going wide again. Barnes forced an error to get a scrum 14 metres into the other half. After it they dropped the ball at centre; advantage was played and Hertford made good ground with two breaks in 6 phases before they too dropped the ball. After Barnes' put-in 12 metres inside their half, O'Toole kicked to touch 30 metres from the opposition goal line. Hertford regained a near vertical up-and-under after their line-out; they soon tried another that the visitors dealt with and tried the same. This was marked in the 22; Hertford ran and soon kicked for territory. An error then gave them a put-in 27 metres from their opponents' line. They were penalised in the scrum; the kick took Barnes to 10 metres into the other half. The line-out was thrown not-straight, but actually towards Hertford. Barnes still got it but the Ref. gave Hertford another scrum. Barnes got the ball at that but straight away dropped it; Hertford got it and went wide. They then varied half a dozen phases before opposition centre Cornish intercepted and ran 40 metres to the line at 27 minutes. The 50o angle conversion slid past the far post.
Hertford regained their high restart and their no. 8 Archer broke through from the middle of a ruck. Getting a pass away, more yards were made then a close recycle before the defence was penalised 11 metres out and lost a man for 10 minutes. Hertford opted for a tap-and-go; Barnes' early replacement flanker Scott won a vital turnover and the visitors sent a high kick to touch 28 metres out. Scott came away with the ball from the opposition line-out; the visitors kept the ball for 5 phases and advancing before chipping through to the other 22. Hertford ran the ball back with 10 mixed phases before the defence forced an error to get the ball. Barnes recycled close 3 times then tried wider; an error gave Hertford a scrum 12 metres inside their half. After a reset they kept the ball for 4 mostly wide phases before an error gave the visitors a put-in near halfway. At the scrum Hertford got a free-kick before the ball was put-in; their forwards ran the ball then let it out and it was dropped. After the last scrum, also close to halfway, Hertford were penalised for a knock-down and the ball was put into touch for the final whistle.
Rain before the game and during the first half; no wind in the first half then some later; mostly cloudy but bright; the pitch good.