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Local Derby Ends With a Win

By Paul Wakelin

Berkhamsted secure their first win of the season

Saturday 29th September – Berkhamsted 1st XV 20 – 17 Camelot 3rd XV

1.Matt Lovett 2.Matt Cain 3.Tim Brickle 4.Frazer Harrison 5.Paul Wakelin (Captain) 6.Angus Tidey 7.Chris Hickey 8.Rob Peche 9.Steve Dalton 10.Joe Dalton 11.Ben Brown 12.Karl Wordsworth 13.Mitchell Ayres 14.Matt Mead 15.Michael Hollington 16.Ron Herriot 17.Turner Stewart 18.Ollie Green

This fixture began with a minutes silence to honour our fallen friend Adam ‘Sarge’ Sarginson, part of our cup winning side of 2016/17. Rest in peace Sarge.

The stakes were high. Not only because it was a local derby, but because both teams were coming off the back of a loss. Getting that ‘W’ was all important. It became apparent in the opening exchanges that these Berko and Camelot sides were evenly matched and for large parts of the game it looked likely that this match report would open with the phrase “Honours Even”… That was before the last 15 minutes saw both sides notch crucial scores. But how did it all unfold…?

Berko had Camelot on the back foot from the off, and it was us that drew first blood with our first noteworthy attack of the game. Our pack was looking strong and Matt Lovett and Tim Brickle combined in the front row to give Matt Cain (who’d stepped up to play 2), a steady platform to take clean ball in the scrums. We didn’t lose one against the head all day and more often than not, we drove Camelot off the ball on their own put-in. It was a scrum set the platform for Wordy and Mitch to exchange passes in midfield to break into the Camelot half to initiate a few phases of up the jumper stuff from the forwards who set the stage for Saffa to cross the whitewash from close range. Conversion missed, 5-0 to us. We were in the ascendancy.

The conditions were dry and fresh, making it conducive for kicking game. Step up Joe and Steve Dalton who were both were both kicking sweetly. It was a clever kick by Steve, playing 9 that set in motion our second score. A clearance from a maul in our own 22 saw Steve nudge the ball into open play. Picked up by Foxy who sent the ball through hands and out wide to Berko debutant Matt Mead, who broke down the touchline making 30 or 40 yards before taking contact on the Camelot 5 metre line. Matt presented the ball to the forwards who had followed up the attack. A neat pick and go from Angus created the space for him to pop the ball to Chris Hickey who scored effortlessly in the corner. Try converted. 12-0 to Berko. We had this…

Camelot were dealt a blow in losing big Terry Hare earlier in the half to broken nail, and both sides lost a player to the bin around the 30 minute mark. Ben for us and Barry for them. Both decisions a bit harsh really as there was no malice. The Ref was a nice bloke but as players and supporters we accept a certain level of physicality in the game. In fact we expect it.

Camelot weren’t rolling over though. They dug deep. The Peanut we knew and loved was upto his old tricks at the breakdown and two young Camelot lads, Jordan Perry and Hayden Alcock were having stormers in the forwards. It came as no surprise that Camelot clawed their way back into the game. A well worked try on the counter attack made it 12-5. It was game on with HT fast approaching. Still time for another score. And it was Camelot who notched the next points to draw the scores level with a converted try. 12-12 going into the break and this game was well and truly in the balance.

The second half began much as the first had finished. For us, Matt Lovett was an absolute beast at the breakdown and both him and Frazer were regularly seen picking up opposition players to ‘dump’ them elsewhere on the pitch. Ben Brown was putting in some great hits on their big fella ‘Woodsy’ (who I was convinced would be grabbing me after the game to ask me for some fitness and nutrition advice). Camelot changed tact somewhat and were probing our defence with a clever kicking game. Foxy spent a lot of time in our own 22, cleaning up and countering as a good 15 should. More impeccable hooking from Cain allowed clean ball for Joe to head off on some snaky runs. All snuffed out by a resolute Camelot defence. The physicality of the game was taking its’ toll and Berko were forced to make some late subs. Ollie Green was chomping at the bit to get out there following surgery (and boy have we missed him). Straight in and hitting hard. I suspect that there will be a few bruised Camelot ribs needing ice this week. Good to see Turner back too, also getting a late runout.

Still anyone’s game. That was until Berko Captain Paul Wakelin stepped up to score in the 68th Minute. A clean take in the line by Frazer inside the oppo 22 was neatly wrapped up by Lovett and Brickle to set Paul on his way. A burst of pace and an outstretched arm brought much joy to everyone in a Berko shirt. 17-12 to Berko, but with just one score in it, this game could still go wither way. Camelot countered and were looking confident until an infringement at the breakdown gave Berko a penalty in front of the posts. It was duly was converted for a 20-12 lead. Surely that was it? Two scores ahead.. Game over…??

Nope…

Momentum was with Camelot. And it was them that notched the next score. A late try to make it 20-17. Nail biting stuff which culminated in a Camelot lineout on our 10 metre line. It was to be the last play of a pulsating match. Step up Ollie Green to leap like a salmon, break the line and set the ball for Steve to clear the ball out of play to the sweet, sweet sound of the refs whistle. Well done all. A cracking game of rugby.

MotM. Another tough call as there were so many great performances. Paul agonised over his choice with three names in the mix; Angus Tidey, Chris Hickey and Steve Dalton. All would have been worthy winners but Captain’s choice for MotM was Steve Dalton. An energetic and controlled display from the man returning from injury. It must be said though, that if Wakelin wasn’t picking MotM, it’s likely that he’d have won it himself. Certainly my choice from the side-lines. Made the hard yards both in open play and from the breakdown and demonstrated strong leadership in a game when it was vital.

DotD… Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear…. Tim Brickle. We’ve never seen an angry Tim Brickle before, and we’ve certainly never seen him do a crazy ninja, chicken dance before!

A special mention for Tim Bonfield who was at the game and looking so well. Tim played a big role in the development of many of our senior players whilst we were playing at Camelot. He always knew how to get the best out of his players, and I can honestly say Tim was the best Coach and Captain I ever had.

Final score: Berkhamsted 1st XV 20 – 17 Camelot 3rd XV

A hard-earned victory and a strong display of character from a strong Berko squad. Something we needed after the disappointing loss to OA’s.

Next up Harpenden at home. Please set your availability on Pitchero.

By Dan Prince

Updated 15:00 - 1 Oct 2018 by Samuel Cane-Groome

Where next?

Second Win of the Season! The good start continues
Team Announced for Camelot Game A Strong Side for Local Derby

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