In an incredibly physical opening half tempers from both teams were often frayed, and a promising game was often marred by off the ball scuffles and ill discipline at the break down. Having seen enough, the referee chose to sin bin the Chess second row after one infringement too many. This was soon followed by a second yellow for the home team after a Valley boot was judged to intentionally have connected with the head of Watford second row Makinson. The away side made their numerical advantage count, and scored 9 unanswered points courtesy of the unwavering boot of Tom McGee. With both Chess players having served their time, the home side attacked with a renewed vigour. A series of drives within the Watford 22 drew the defence in, before the ball was spun out wide for Valley to open their account. This was soon followed by a similar try which was converted to give the home side a 12-9 lead. Watford roused themselves, and the scores were tied after McGee converted a penalty from the tightest of angles. Watford ended the half the stronger of the two sides, and were unfortunate not to add to their total following a scrum 5 metres from the opposition line.
The second half followed the same pattern as the first, with the battle at the breakdown somehow becoming even more physical. Chess registered the first points of the half, some uncharacteristically weak tackling allowing the fly half to dot down under the posts. Watford roused themselves, and the game was played for the majority of the second half in the middle of the park with neither team willing to concede. Watford’s back row of Reeve, Dunlop and Hammill were especially impressive, exhibiting an incredibly high work rate and showing scant regard for personal safety when flying into tackles. With time ticking away, Watford were able to win a lineout in the opposition 22. With secure ball won, Hammill peeled from the back of the maul and barrelled through the Chess full back to score out wide, bringing Watford to within 2 points. McGee, faultless with the boot all day, once again converted to level the scores. With both teams out on their feet, the full time whistle was blown.
Skipper Flint was a man of mixed emotions after the game “to draw with the best team in the league away from home is no mean feat, however it is disappointing to think that we could possibly have snatched the win. This shows that we can compete with anyone in this league, provided we play to our obvious potential”
Watford: G. Wilson, Flint, Hicks (Sanchez 60), Makinson (Tucker 50), Mitchell, Reeve, Dunlop, Hammill, Hopkins, McGee, Yates, Kiely, Butcher, Langan (Oguntade 45), Menzies.
Penalties: McGee x 4
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