Town lose out in local derby
By Howard Crompton
Datchworth consolidated second position in the league with what turned out to be a comfortable win against a well below par Stevenage.
Datchworth were solid in defence and took their chances well whereas Stevenage, despite plenty of possession were unable to manufacture many try scoring opportunities and lacked any urgency in their play.
With only four matches left, and Datchworth having a five-point lead over nearest rivals Old Streetonians, promotion is squarely in their own hands. Stevenage, now in fourth spot after Saturday’s set back, could still have a say in the promotion race as Old Streetonians visit North Road on the final Saturday of the season.
The match started well for Town and from the kick-off, they kept possession for six minutes before a Datchworth player touched the ball, but as a sign of things to come, the home side were unable to make this count.
Datchworth took the lead in the 15th minute from their first meaningful foray into the Stevenage twenty-two. A front line out move resulted in a scrum, from which No 8 Stuart Young put scrum half Tom Wood into space for an easy finish. Sam Brunton added the conversion.
Things looked more promising for Stevenage when Datchworth winger Stewart Moore was sent to the bin in the 17th minute for a ruck offence but Datchworth continued to defend resolutely and kept Stevenage scoreless during the sin bin period.
After an abortive penalty attempt by Brunton, the visitors extended their lead in the 34th minute. Centre Alex Nolan burst through and was brought down just short of the try line by Stevenage full back, Michael Wilson. Datchworth were however able to move the ball quickly through the hands, wide on the left, where James Watt was on hand to complete the score.
Datchworth went into the interval with a lead of 12 – 0.
The second half followed a similar pattern. Stevenage had plenty of possession but offered no threat, whereas Datchworth looked more likely to score. Stevenage hung on to the hope that a score would change their fortunes and being only twelve points behind, one score could lead to two and change the contest.
All hope of that was dashed and the match essentially put out of reach for Town, with Datchworth’s third try in the 58th minute. From a series of phases, the visitors eventually worked an overlap for replacement Jake Ebhodaghe to score the decisive try.
The home side was eventually rewarded with a try of their own in the 64th minute. Gareth Lewis shirked a couple of tackles to finish a good move involving Ian Crompton, Andrew Malins and Phil Pearson, but for Town it was too little too late.
Wood further extended the lead in the 73rd minute with a successful penalty kick, to make the final score 5 – 20, give Datchworth a well-deserved win and continue their push for promotion.
Stevenage travel to Kilburn Cosmos next Saturday and will have to pick themselves up from this disappointment, to ensure they finish the season strongly.
For Datchworth, they entertain Finchley, who will be fighting to ensure their survival in the league for next season.
Stevenage Town Team: Michael Wilson, Ryan Clancy, Ian Crompton, Gareth Lewis, Vinnie Kevans, Jesse Tipene, Andrew Malins (Richard Penny 73 mins), Darren Outram, George Turvey, Ben Hodge, Conor Mitchell Bradley Cook 62 mins), Scott Quarmby, Wes Moore, Alex Banna, Phil Pearson
Subs not used: Jacek Zbucki
Tries: Gareth Lewis