The Hemel Camelot third team played away against Berkhamsted I on Saturday and recorded a 15-10 victory in the first meeting of the two Dacorum clubs.
Berkhamsted, fielding a large number of ex-Hemel players, have had an excellent start to the season – going into the game with wins in all but one of their fixtures so far this campaign.
Hemel, meanwhile, fielded a team which had been thrown together – some players who were in competitive action for the first time in a number of years and some whose 50th year was a distant memory.
The game was evenly contested in the early stages, with Berko working well at the ruck but Hemel creating more of the pressure with good individual skill. However, the final pass was letting them down when needed.
The pattern of the game was very much to and fro, with Berkhamsted looking like a team that had played together regularly and impressing at the set piece, but Hemel looking more dangerous in open play.
Eventually Hemel’s quality shone through and, after a period of sustained pressure, they crossed the white wash for their first try.
Berko looked to bounce back and applied pressure on their rag tag neighbours, only to be repelled and for Hemel to build more pressure and score in the top corner to increase the lead.
At half-time the scoreboard read 10-0 to Hemel, and it was the visitors who struck first in the second half with 20 minutes left as they scored in the corner to extend their lead to 15 points.
There was still time for a fight-back, and Berkhamsted are not the top of the table team without reason. They continued to battle against Hemel’s makeshift side, and with the clock slowly ticking down they scored their first try has Hemel’s indiscipline or tiredness started to show.
Encouraged by the referee’s view of the breakdown, Berko forged ahead again. After a small scuffle and a player from each side being put in the sin bin, they crossed the Hemel line for a second time to make the score 15-10.
However, it was to be a case of too little too late for Berko and Hemel held out through dogged determination and grit to seal the win.