BASINGSTOKE RFC put up a gallant effort, before going down 29-14 at Hertford in the National League Three London on Saturday.
After an even first 15 minutes the home side scored the first try of the contest, as Jack Culverhouse went over after a rolling maul followed a line-out.
The lead was extended to 12-0 five minutes later, as some missed tackles allowed Shaun Brown to score and this time Stuart Smart kicked over the conversion.
’Stoke got themselves back into the game as the ball was spilled into the hands of Matt Guilfoyle and he released Freddie Gleadowe to score. David Byett kicked over the extras.
Hertford’s Lewis Hett was then yellow carded, and soon after Chris Kiernan was also sent to the sin bin for an infringement in the red zone.
The home side extended their lead to 17-7 by half-time, after Michael Sargent ran in at the corner.
After the break, the visitors dominated play for 25 minutes, but could not add to their tally on the scoreboard.
The first time Hertford got into Basingstoke territory they made it count as Brown was found by a wide pass and fed Jack Mann to score. Smart added the conversion to make it 24-7.
The visitors never gave-up and with two minutes left, they were awarded a penalty try.
This was after a loose ball was picked up by a Hertford’s Mann from an offside position.
He should have been yellow carded, but a bad case of mistaken identity saw Ian Crompton sin binned instead. Byett kicked the conversion to cut the lead to 10 points.
Then in injury time, Mann, who was lucky to still be on pitch, scored an unconverted try to make the final score 29-14.
’Stoke are next in action on Saturday when bottom side Barking are the visitors to Down Grange.
They are now only four points clear of Barnes in the battle for the final relegation place, after the London side beat leaders Dorking this weekend.