Hampshire beaten by Hertfordshire but have plenty to be positive about after opener

Hampshire opened their Bill Beaumont County Championship division one campaign with a 29-20 defeat against Hertfordshire at Gosport Park.

By kevin.ricketts1
Monday, 6th May 2019, 3:32 pm
Harrison Young. Picture: Duncan Shepherd
Harrison Young. Picture: Duncan Shepherd

The home side fought well on Saturday against last season’s second-placed side in their first game at the top level.

Coach Will Knight felt it was a tight encounter that could have gone either way.

He said: ‘It was more our mistakes that allowed them to keep in the game rather than us being outplayed.

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Hampshire's Armandus Morgan makes the tackle against Herfordshire. Picture: Duncan Shepherd

‘They probably had that bit more experience of playing at this level.

‘We came away quite pleased with the outcome but disappointed, thinking we could have got a bit more from it.

‘From our point of view it was a solid performance with areas to improve.

‘We struggled at the line-out and looked like a team that had come together for three or four hours.

‘I am sure we will improve moving forward.

‘When we got the ball out wide we looked dangerous and there was plenty to give us confidence.’

The home side started well, putting Hertfordshire under some early pressure.

On nine minutes they were rewarded with the first try as Wayne Dugan crossed out wide.

Captain Joel Knight added the conversion.

A couple of minutes later though the hosts were caught napping by a quickly taken penalty allowing the visitors to score an unconverted try.

Joel Knight knocked over a penalty but a try from a driven line-out saw the teams go in level at 10-10 at the break.

A yellow card for a high tackle saw Dan Munden sent to the sin-bin at the start of the second half.

Hertfordshire exploited this and took a 17-10 lead following another close-range driving line-out.

Hampshire refused to give in and reduced the deficit with the best try of the match.

Joe Davis did well at the base of the scrum and got the ball away to Joel Knight.

The centre made a cracking break up the left and fed winger Curtis Barnes for the try.

Unfortunately Hampshire were rocked by an interception try which left them nine points in arrears.

Still they refused to give up and Charlie Stonewall went over to set up a tense finish.

It was the visitors however who claimed the final score to finally end the Hampshire resistance.

Next up is a match against Devon.

Will Knight believes the team can be positive.

He added: ‘We can go to Devon next with a degree of confidence after this performance.

‘I am sure we can iron out the one or two bits and pieces.’