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Gravesend 20-24 Herford
Gravesend failed to make the most of their numerous chances at Rectory Field on Saturday as fellow league strugglers went home with the points.
A lively start at Rectory Field on Saturday saw Gravesend awarded two penalty chances in the first five minutes, but neither was turned into points that proved to be costly at the final whistle.
This was a game that was kept flowing by some excellent refereeing from James Munro, and was an example that some of the other officials, that adjudicate on a Saturday afternoon, may well have learnt from had they been watching.
Against the run of the early play, Hertford full-back stepped forward to slot over the first of his five successful kicks of the afternoon to give the visitors the lead on twelve minutes.
Playing a narrow forwards game, Gs were struggling to make the most of their ample possession, but by the end of the first quarter were in command and the score-line reflected this.
Having missed his earlier chances, Chris Meddings levelled from the tee, before adding the conversion to a well worked Adam Bishop try, for 10-3.
This move showed what devastating effect the early movement of the ball along the home line could have when the home three-quarters had quick ball.
Having proved this worked Gravesend’s inability to change the pattern of their game from the forward pick and drive reduced their opportunities, while the opposition made the most of every half chance.
Shaun Brown at fly-half for the visitors was enjoying his game as he set his backs away at every chance, barely wasting a ball all afternoon.
A second penalty from the boot of MacPherson-Smith narrowed the deficit before losse-head Jack Culverhouse was driven over for a try close to the corner flag.
Meddings meanwhile missed a further two penalty shots at the posts, but Gs went in at the break 13-11 to the good.
Two minutes into the second half and Gs were behind as MacPherson-Smith added his third penalty success.
It was the early ball again that led to Gs second try, as following the interchange of passes Stuart Douglas break through a struggling cover defence to touch down.
Dave McMurtrie’s conversion eased Gs away to a 20-14 advantage with a quarter of the game remaining.
Feeding on scraps, while Gravesend yet again failed to adjust their pattern of play, the visitors began their fight back.
Fly-half Brown capped a fine display when he outwitted the home defence to score between the posts.
MacPherson-Smith added the conversion before slotting over his fifth kick of the afternoon to edge Hertford into the lead 20-24.
Fifteen minutes remaining and it was all in Gravesend’s own hands. Several good breaks, notably from Gray, Clement and McMurtrie were wasted as there was no back-up to secure second phase.
On too many occasions the resulting penalty eased the pressure from the visitor’s line.
As time slipped away, questionable decision making on the park, coupled with panic passes saw Gs as continue to plot their own downfall.
When James Munro blew the final whistle it was Hertford who left the field with the points that could prove a life-saver at the end of the season.
Other results from Saturday’s games went in Gravesend’s favour but they still remain one place above the relegation zone
Team: Stuart Douglas, Scott Curley, Chris Meddings, Ashley Moorey (C), Adam Bishop, Gary Gray, Jon Clement, Charlie Cutting, John Luck, Jamie Forsyth, James Newman, Dave Irvine, Ziggy Stevens, Ross O’Loughlin, Matthew Powdrell. Rep: Nathan Lines, David McMurtrie, Jackson Bylett.