The Hemel Hempstead School Year 9 team scored a golden point winner against All Saints Catholic High School of Dagenham in the semi-finals of the London and South East region of the RFL Champion Schools competition.
The game was held at Hemel Stags’ Pennine Way ground – the same venue that hosted Hemel School’s Hertfordshire County extra-time victory over Verulam School.
The game began with Hemel in possession and, with stand-off Sam Jolly conducting the play, he managed to put in full-back Ed Shaw for the first try. Jolly converted to make it 6-0 in the first two minutes.
All Saints had not yet touched the ball, but once they did they showed their attacking prowess with two quick tries.
Towering forward Craig Burn replied with a short range score which was again converted by Jolly.
Jolly then took matters into his own hands with a contender for try of the season. Starting from his own half he sliced open the Essex defence with an outrageous dummy and continued to side step and hand off several other defenders on his way to the try line.
Despite scoring near the posts, Jolly was perhaps too tired from his endeavours to add the extras.
All Saints again replied with a long range try which was converted to take the scores to 18-16 to the Dagenham School at half-time.
In an end-to-end affair, Shaw scored again in the corner which was duly met with an All Saints reply in typical long range fashion as their somewhat superior athleticism kept them in the game.
Hemel’s defence in the middle was very determined, though, with golden point hero from the previous round Evan Marshall tackling well alongside loose forward Tom Deering.
Burn then picked from the base of the scrum to brush aside players, who simply did not wish to tackle a player of such size, to score under the posts, with Jolly converting to put Hemel ahead again.
Michael Smith showed tremendous footwork out on the left wing for Hemel throughout the game, but it was right winger Harvey Causer who scored to push Hemel to a lead of 30-24 with just a few minutes to go.
But they could not prevent the long strides of All Saints levelling up the scores at 30-30, forcing the game to golden point extra-time once again.
Thankfully it did not take long for Hemel to score that golden point, as Leon Axell-Gee made good in roads from the kick-off to make his way into the opposition half.
A couple of tackles later the ball found itself with Jolly, who still had work to do by beating two defenders before diving under a third to secure the victory.
Hemel Hempstead School now progress into the national rounds of the competition where they face St Peters Catholic High School of Gloucester.