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Bishop's Stortford beaten at home by Old Elthamians in National League 1

By John Allanson

Bishop’s Stortford lost 28-19 to Old Elthamians in their last home National League 1 match of the campaign.

The hosts started strongly and came close to crossing the line a couple of times, but were halted by a strong-tackling OEs side.

The deadlock was broken after 11 minutes after some slick handling by the visitors saw Tom White in for a try, converted by himself.

Within seven minutes, Stortford had registered their first try – a great individual effort by Joss Linney.

Joss Linney finds himself upside down after a questionable tackle. Picture: Vikki Lince
Joss Linney finds himself upside down after a questionable tackle. Picture: Vikki Lince

The rest of the half belonged pretty much to OEs as their forwards took control of the scrums and Stortford were unable to hold onto what little ball they got for any length of time against the visitors’ strong tackling.

Further tries went OEs’ way, with a good backs’ score out wide to Kieran Moffat after 24 minutes and a lineout catch and drive from a lineout on 39 minutes, touched down by Hamish Barton, following a penalty at a Stortford scrum. White converted both.

OEs resumed pretty much where they left off after the break, scoring their fourth converted try when Rhys Morgan took advantage of loose home defending at the base of a ruck.

The home side fought their way back into the contest as personnel changes were made, scoring an excellent try after Rob Duff looped in off his wing to take a short pass in midfield and steam through a gap on halfway. Sam Coleman added the extras.

Rob Duff makes a break. Picture: Vikki Lince
Rob Duff makes a break. Picture: Vikki Lince

Honours were fairly even for the rest of the game, which was the retiring Mark McCraith's last one for the club, but the final score again went to Stortford as Coleman put in a good rolling kick for Nick Hankin to follow up and touch down.

“We started really well, but we just couldn’t get over the line,” said director of rugby Andy Long. “We went from being all over them to near our own line and they scored from their first opportunity.

“They put us under pressure on our basics and took their opportunities. It was a good test and I thought our boys battled really well.”

Match Action. Picture: Vikki Lince
Match Action. Picture: Vikki Lince

Stortford: Hankin, Duff, Winter, Keen, Linney, T Coleman, S Coleman; Brownhill, King, McCrone, McCraith, Tomlinson, Apperley, Elsom, Wilson. Replacements: James, Harrison-Price, Ball, Hitchcock, Cappaert.

OEs: Howard, Brown, Dockery, Moffat, Hotston, White, Morgan; Rogers, Morris, Scutt, Hosking, Batt, Ledger, Barton, King. Replacements: North, Rudland-Thomas, Self, Claxton, Golledge.

Scorers: Stortford - Tries: Linney 18, Duff 58, Hankin 80; Cons: S Coleman 60, 80. OEs - Tries: White 11, Moffat 24, Barton 39, Morgan 50; Cons: White 12, 25, 40, 51.

Referee: Joe James.

Star Man: Rhys Morgan (OEs).

Attendance: 860.

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