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Bishop's Stortford player Nick Hankin scores a try as England Counties draw test series on tour of Georgia


By Michael Vaughton


Nick Hankin could not prevent England Counties ending their tour of Georgia on a losing note as they went down 24-23 in Tbilisi.

The Bishop's Stortford full-back and winger scored on his debut when the visitors won the first contest 28-15 on June 7.

Nick Hankin. Picture: Vikki Lince
Nick Hankin. Picture: Vikki Lince

But it was the Georgia XV who triumphed in the second and final game at the Avchala Stadium as they scored 10 unanswered points towards the end.

Rosslyn Park's Greg Lound kicked a penalty to give England the lead, before Georgia bundled over for a try and then slotted over a penalty after a high tackle by Plymouth Albion's John Kelly to go 8-3 ahead.

After Lound reduced the arrears with another penalty, Kieran Moffat (Old Elthamians) beat the covering defence after some nice offloading to dot down. Lound added the extras.

The teams then traded penalties as England went into half time with a 16-11 advantage.

The lead was cut to two points after the interval when Cinderford's Harry Hone was penalised for using a boot in the ruck and the hosts kicked the penalty.

Hankin then played a crucial role in another England try as he broke away before releasing to enable Moffat to go over the whitewash, with Lound again converting.

That put England 23-14 in front, but it was not to be their day as Georgia kicked a penalty to cut the gap before registering a converted try to triumph by a solitary point.

In the opening match of the tour, Hankin got the visitors' first five-pointer of the contest as they came from behind to triumph.

England began the game well with two penalties from the boot of Greg Lound (Rosslyn Park) putting them 6-0 ahead, but it was Georgia who scored the first try of the match and a subsequent penalty gave them an 8-6 lead.

Both teams were then reduced to 14 men, with the tourists' Keiran Moffat (Old Elthamians) sent to the sin bin for a breakdown offence.

The visitors were able to put pressure on the hosts with the ball in hand and crossed for their first try when James Tinknell (Hull Ionians) offloaded well to Hankin and he ran through to score. That was followed by a try from Moffat, who ran under the posts after a flicked pass from Callum Mackenzie (Darlington Mowden Park).

Shortly after the break, Georgia crossed the whitewash to reduce the deficit to just three points as momentum swung in their favour.

England showed real resilience in defence before Lound was again on target with a penalty and Mackenzie wrapped things up with a lovely intercept to score the final try.



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