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Hackney seconds book semi-final place as ladies beat rivals Hampstead

PUBLISHED: 09:00 30 March 2012

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Herts/Middlesex Merit Table 4 Cup: Hackney II 23 Tring IV 21

Hackney’s second XV booked their place in the Herts/Middlesex Merit Table 4 Cup semi-finals with a narrow home victory against Tring on Saturday, writes Fred Pentecost.

On a warm and sunny afternoon, the prospect of some flowing rugby was the order of the day at Spring Hill.

However, the Gargoyles went into the game over confident with one eye on the next round, having already played Tring twice this season and comprehensively winning both ties.

To add to this, the visitors had turned up with just 13 players as well as no front row, lulling Hackney into a false sense of security.

Tring started strongly and played smartly throughout the game. Superior numbers from Hackney allowed the hosts to gain a 13 – 0 lead by 24 minutes.

Precision and power were lacking from the Gargoyle squad in the opening quarter, as Tring utilised a sensible game plan to turn Hackney at every opportunity and managed to score a converted try on the half-hour mark.

A further exchange of tries followed, as Hackney finished the half with just a narrow six-point advantage to show for their efforts.

The home side attempted to regroup at the break, but the second half started in a disjointed manner, with both sides vying for field position and territory.

Due to their superior numbers, Tring began to tire after the hour mark, but still managed to outscore the home side by seven points to three in the second period.

There seemed to be a lack of cohesion and tactical awareness from the home side and a lack of sharpness all round.

Hackney now face a tricky away tie at Hemel Hempstead in the semi-finals of the cup competition, with the game due to be played on April 14.

Hackney: Prowse, jones, Arneguy, du Preez, Huxley, Gray, Walsh, Sykes, Hughes, Hanton, O’Connor, Hearn (c), Chadwick, Saad, Cox. Subs: Westen-Jensen.

■ Meanwhile, Hackney Ladies successfully saw off the threat of Hampstead on Sunday afternoon, running out 36-14 winners at Spring Hill.

Gladies captain Charley Miller and fly-half Sophie Campbell were the stars of the first half, with the former setting up the latter twice in the opening period.

Inside centre Helen Doig also got in on the try-scoring act with a well-worked team effort as Hackney dominated the first 40 minutes.

After the break, Hampstead fought their way back into the game with an early try but Jenni Close then set up Doig for her second of the game as the Gladies looked to put the result to bed.

Campbell then scored a further two tries, both assisted by scrum-half Miller, bringing her personal tally to four in the match.

Surprisingly, the woman of the match award didn’t go to either of the try scorers but to prop Jess Cobb, who worked tirelessly to create a platform from which the Hackney backs thrived, as well as some strong tackling, rucking and carries.

Hackney: Cobb, van Wessem, Bjorvig, Lawrence, Barber, Meeson, Miller (c), Campbell, Pierpoint, Sereni, Doig, Close, Barr. Subs: Chipperfield, Booth.

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