Sharp shooting Josh kicks Herts to victory over Surrey
Hertfordshire scrambled to a win over Surrey in their opening pool match of the RFU County Championship for the Bill Beaumont Cup at Woollams on Saturday.
With the scores level, a Josh Sharp penalty minutes from no side gave the home side their win and with four converted tries they gained a valuable bonus point.
It was an untidy affair with no discernible pattern as two sides, with little time for preparation after a long league season, struggled to find cohesion. A strong tricky wind did not help either and both side failed to find touch on numerous occasions.
Neither side gained any real ascendancy at the set pieces though there were spells when each side threatened to take control. Herts probably shaded the loose play where flanker Harry Bate had an outstanding game. The Herts backs had plenty of possession especially in the first half but did not turn it into enough points
Hertfordshire started the game confidently and soon took the lead with a try by Tom Banks after the forwards had won good loose ball. Sharp added the conversion.
However Surrey soon reduced the lead when the Herts backs were off side giving Ollie Turner an easy penalty.
Herts the dominated the next phases territorially and on the half hour were rewarded with a well worked try. Electing to scrum a penalty some 10 metres out they ran the ball and left wing George Elliott joined the line to score giving Sharp and easy conversion.
Surrey soon hit back via a Turner penalty from a Hertfordshire scrummage infringement and then just before half time following a break by scrum half Will Crow, Surrey set up a line out 5 metres out and lock forward and skipper Ian Kench touched down from the catch and drive.
So at half-time there was only one point between the sides.
Herts again had plenty of possession in the early moments of the second half but were unable to convert it into points.
Then Surrey broke away, ran the ball along the line and although at first they appeared to held up in the corner, the try was awarded to No 8 Darren Livett. Turner converted from the touch line to give Surrey the lead.
Surrey fumbled the restart and gave possession to Herts who ran the ball to the left, recycled and Banks found the gap to touch down, Sharp adding the two points to restore the home one point lead.
Surrey then had their best period of play and were rewarded by another scrummage penalty from Turner. Shortly afterward they were held up over the line before a poor clearance kick was run back by the Surrey fly half who set up wing Karyim Irving for the try.
With only 10 minutes left Herts had much to do, but when Herts took play deep into Surrey territory, replacement flanker Anthony Maka found a gap to touch down unopposed.
The Sharp conversion equalled the scores, then moments later Surrey were off side as Herts attacked and the subsequent Sharp penalty gave his side the lead. Herts were near to scoring again when the final whistle went.