Article by Patrick Baines

The All Golds got the better of Hemel Stags in a thrilling contest that saw a 78th minute Alex Davidson try seal a remarkable late comeback.

Hemel looked to be in complete command, leading 20-6 before half time then 34-22 late on but the All Golds battled until the very end to record their first ever victory against their southern rivals. All Golds Head Coach Lee Greenwood was delighted with the character shown by his players, who backed up last week’s win against Newcastle. “That was a huge effort late on. You can’t knock the effort and character we showed. Performance wise it wasn’t one of our best this season but we’ve won. At half time I asked the players to show a bit of character and that was a real good effort. I knew we’d get some chances late on. Some of the lads put a huge 80 minute effort in. I thought Ollie Purslow was fantastic. Emmerson Whittel as well. Steve Parry led by example yet again. To get the win is great.”

The All Golds took the lead at the end of the first quarter. Alex Davidson had only been on the pitch a matter of seconds when he collected a flat pass and bulldozed his way through the Hemel defensive line to touchdown. Courtney Davies struck the conversion between the posts to take the visitors 6 points clear.

Hemel hit back in devastating fashion and scored 4 tries in the next 15 minutes. Matt Ross touched down followed 2 minutes later by Alex Anthony. Swindells missed both conversions as Hemel looked to beat the All Golds for the second time this season.

The Stags were now dominating territory and pulled further clear when they scored a great breakaway try. Simon Hrbek collected a high ball and sprinted downfield. He delayed his pass perfectly for Darrel Olpherts who was on his shoulder. The Hemel man collected and sprinted clear to touchdown. Swindells added the extras to take the home side 14-4 clear.

It looked like the game was getting away from the All Golds when Hemel scored their 4th try of the game. Alex Anthony crossed in the corner for his second of the game and Swindells converted to take Hemel 16 points clear.

All Golds Captain Steve Parry, a leading contender for player of the year, then gave his troops the boost they needed when he scored his 13th try of the season. The Welshman feigned a pass that drew a yard of space that he dived into to give the All Golds a foothold in the game. Courtney Davies knocked over his second conversion of the day to bridge the gap. Hemel ended the half camped inside the All Golds 20 metre line and took a 2 point penalty to move 22-12 clear at the break.

Parry then scored a truly remarkable try, all of his own making. After collecting from the play the ball he ran at the Hemel line who were unable to put a halt to the hookers run. He weaved through a tiny gap and sprinted 40 metres to the try line, the third game in a row the All Golds skipper has scored a brace of tries. Matt Bradley, on at the start of the second half, missed from out wide which made it a 6 point Hemel lead.

In a see-saw game Hemel hit back when James Woodburn-Hall beat his marker to dive over. When Swindells converted Hemel were 12 points to the good with the final quarter approaching.

Courtney Davies, on his second game back from injury, had a fine game and helped create the All Golds next try. On the last tackle he sent up a high bomb that Jamie Murphy did superbly well to collect. The Welshman offloaded to Graham O’Keeffe who smartly collected and finished off. Bradley made no mistake this time as the All Golds moved to within a converted try of Hemel.

But the All Golds day looked to be ruined when Hemel, who had been defending their line for much of the second half, moved menacingly down field. Michael Brown was in the right place to finish the move off and when Woodburn-Hall converted it looked like Hemel would claim the win with a 34-22 lead with only 13 minutes left.

But the All Golds weren’t to be denied and they pulled off a heroic comeback with 3 late tries. Emmerson Whittel, who recently committed to the club for next season, grabbed the first when he beat the Hemel defence with a smart dummy. Bradley converted as Hemel tired.

Moments later Murphy started and finished a devastating break. After collecting the ball he broke into the Hemel half and found Ryan Pywell who gained a further 20 yards. The ball found Murphy again who finished off out wide. Matt Bradley stood up knowing a successful conversion would tie the scores but the kick hit the upright meaning Hemel had a 2 point lead with 4 minutes left.

Hemel were tiring and the All Golds sensed a famous victory. With the clock hitting 78 minutes, Alex Davidson was the hero when he dived over to complete a sensational turnaround. Matt Bradley converted to round off a magnificent couple of weeks for the All Golds who next week face the leagues in-form team – Swinton Lions – who have won 7 on the bounce.

Hemel Stags:

Darrel Olpherts, Simon Hrbek, Michael Brown, Chris Mcnamara, Alex Anthony, Jymel Coleman, James Woodburn-Hall, Malaki Lloyd-Jones, James Helliwell, Matt Ross, BJ Swindells, Eddie M’baranga, Dan Ljazouli

Subs (all uded): Jamie Crowther, Thibaut Cousinie, Ryan Chester, Mike Stewart

Tries: Ross (22), Anthony (24,30), Olpherts (27), Woodburn-Hall (55), Brown (65)

Goals: Swindell’s 4/6, Woodburn-Hall 1/1

All Golds:

Jamie Murphy, Phil Cowburn, Callum Mulkeen, Yann Bertrand, Ryan Pywell, Courtney Davies, Yvan Leroyer, Ollie Purslow, Steve Parry, Graham O’Keeffe, Lewis Reece, Emmerson Whittel, Chris Vitalini

Subs (all used):

Kevin Aparicio, Alex Davidson, Matt Bradley, James Walter

Tries: Davidson (19, 78), Parry (33,50), O’Keeffe (59), Whittel (67), Murphy (73)

Goals: Davies 2/2, Bradley 3/5

Scoring sequence: 0-6, 4-6, 8-6, 14-6, 20-6, 20-12, 22-12, 22-16, 28-16, 28-22, 34-22, 34-28, 34-32, 34-38

Half time: Hemel 22-12 All Golds

Referee: Scott Mikalauskas

Attendance: 277

Penalty count: Hemel 7 – 12 All Golds