As a first for the club, the U18s played their first National Club Cup match against Hitchin RFC from Hertfordshire. This was the first time the two clubs had played eachother and we were fired up on the back of an impressive win vs Gravesend the week before. The sun was shining and the scene was set for a great day.
Hitchin came out of the blocks the fastest and caught our lads on the hop. Their ability to offload out of the tackle along with our lacklustre defence meant we were behind early doors. This should have been a wake up call for us, but Hitchin continued to pile on the pressure and some simple handling errors also lost us valuable field space. It wasn’t long before Hithcin went over again – both conversions missing however.
OCs did start to impose themselves but it was never for sustained periods of time. With only a penalty to their name, OCs continued to struggle to control the game. Another Hitchin try saw us go in to the break 3-15 down.
Words were shared at half time and memories of the Plate final last season started to enter our minds. Alas, today wasn’t to end in the same result. But that said, the lads responded after the break in near miraculous form.
A well earned try early in the second half raised our spirits. But a poor kick restart gave Hitchin field position an they responded almost immediately, 10-22. Then the fightback started…
Sustained pressure in the Hitchen half and hard running by all led to a chip and chase and score. Our tails were up and when we went over again to level the scores, the jubilant crowd fully expected the lads to go on and win the match, 22-22!
But as we went searching for that decisive score, we fumbled and Hitchin scored a killer try in the corner with only minutes to spare. Our endeavours once again undone our good work and Hitchin picked up and scored under the sticks untouched. A sad way to finish an amazing game. 22-36 final score.
Firstly, congrats to Hitchin. On the day the better team. But the way our boys fought back was commendable. If only we could’ve played like that for more than 35mins! Our run in the cup clearly ended far quicker than we had hoped, but it simply wasn’t to be.
Massive well done and thank you to those lads from the 17s who stepped up – a real credit.
A little break now before we resume league rugby. See you soon.