After a long break on the sidelines, Hatfield QE Rugby Club came hurtling out the blocks and swept Northholt RFC aside, 32-5 in a game of adapted rules rugby, as sanctioned by the RFU.
There was a chance that the game might not have gone ahead if it wasn’t for the work of Hatfield Town Council, HQE’s committee and players all working together to replace the broken posts and fill in the holes created by cementing in the new ones.
With the posts in place, the game could go ahead albeit with slightly different rules, there were to be no scrums or mauls and no grappling tackles either, the game was also split into four 20 minutes quarters – all to minimise the potential spread of COVID-19.
Hatfield looked strong from the start, but Northolt’s sturdy defence held firm until Back Rower Luke Goodwin showed excellent handling skills as he broke through the line, juggling the ball one handed before crossing the try line to break the deadlock.
After the first break, Hatfield’s coach, Ian Matthews made two changes, bringing on tight-five players Tony Giddings and Jonathan Eid. The pair added an extra physical presence and started to punch holes in Northolt’s defence. Eid was rewarded with his strong attacking runs by scoring the second try of the game.
This dominance from the forwards created space for the backs and Outside Centre Jon Thompson powered into Northolt’s defence and after some strong handoffs, crossed the try line.
The backs then created the stand out try of the game, after some quick phases, Full Back Kieran O’Shea chipped over the defence for Scrum Half Arjun Chandrakanthan to chase. Chandrakanthan collected the ball, drew in the last defender and offloaded back to O’Shea who ran the ball under the posts.
Hatfield continued to pile on the pressure and were given a penalty where Chandrakanthan thinking on his feet took the penalty quickly and interlinked with Fly Half Charlie Gibbs. The pair passed the ball back and forth to break through and Chandrakanthan crossed the whitewash to score.
Gibbs scored again when he spotted a well-telegraphed pass from the Northolt backs and stole the ball in mid-air to score under the posts.
With those scores in the bank, the game was over and Hatfield took their foot off the gas. The score at the final whistle was 32-5 to the home team.
“It was a solid result with our players controlling the game, attacking spaces and trusting their skills and teammates,” said Matthews after the game. “It was a big step up, the team were fitter, the skills have improved and the teamwork was stronger. It was all a positive step forward, but now we need to get the boys back to énergie Fitness for some gym work and then we’re work on our attack at training on Thursday,” concluded Matthews.
Next Saturday HQE have an away trip to Harlow and are still recruiting more players for the upcoming season. So, if you want to get fit, return to rugby, or just give it a try, everyone is welcome at Hatfield Queen Elizabeth Rugby Club. Contact the club on: 07487 517 368.
Highlights of the match can also be found here: