HERTFORDSHIRE avenged their defeat to Lancashire in last year’s Bill Beaumont Cup final as they romped to a 38-20 victory in the final of this year’s competition.
On a hot morning at Twickenham it was a hard fought contest, with plenty of enterprising play from both sides.
At half-time it was anyone’s game, with Lancashire having taken the lead at 10-8 with the last kick of the half.
Herts, however, had a tremendous opening 10 minutes of the second half, scoring 17 points to take a commanding lead.
They then defended well, allowing their opponents to score only 10 more points, while adding a further 13 points of their own to claim the trophy.
Both sides attempted to use the ball in hand through most of the game but the Herts backs were more incisive and, with the aid of their back row in particular, were able to contain most of the Lancashire attacks.
The loose forward contest was fairly even, but after a shaky start, Herts had the better of the scrums and also shaded the line-outs.
With nerves clearly apparent, Hertfordshire had made a nightmare start to the game, kicking off direct into touch and giving away free-kicks at the first two scrums.
They also conceded a penalty and Lancashire had a line-out five metres out, but tight defence weathered the storm and Herts soon cleared their lines.
Both sides then failed with long-range penalty attempts and 20 minutes had gone before Herts opened the scoring.
Winning a loose ball on their 22, they moved up to the half way line, recycled, and passed right to winger Chris May who chipped ahead and gathered on the line to touch down.
Lancashire responded with a try of their own, but Tom Coleman restored Herts’ lead with a penalty.
The Herts defence was solid but, on the stroke of half-time, Herts conceded a penalty at a tackle and Johnson gave Lancashire the lead going into the interval.
It was Lancashire’s turn to start a half badly as Herts kicked off high and the defender lost the ball in the sun.
It went loose and Tring’s Tom Newton seized on the ball to flash over the line for a try which Colemen converted to put Herts 15-10 up after a minute’s play.
A few minutes later, following an altercation, Lancashire substitute prop Simon Griffiths was sent to the sin bin.
Coleman added a penalty and then, from the restart, Herts forwards Billy Johnson and Brett MacNamee gained ground and passed to centre Ben Ransom who fed Eoin Sherriff to score.
Coleman added the extras to put Herts 25-10 up.
The two sides traded penalties, before the most spectacular try of the game arrived via May, after top work from Ransom.
With 15 minutes left, Coleman’s conversion gave Herts an almost unassailable lead of 22 points.
Lancashire hit back with a converted try, but it was Herts who put the final points on the board via a Coleman penalty.