Hilton hosted Kearsney in ideal Midlands conditions for the return leg of the double header fixture. As in 2016, the result favoured the home team and Hilton won this encounter 17-8. Kearsney, however, dominated the opening 25 minutes but was unable to score any points, mainly due to poor handling, with many opportunities going astray with that infamous last pass.
Hilton deserves credit for their defensive efforts and good work at the breakdown, slowing down Kearsney’s possession and attack.
In the 27th minute Hilton earned a penalty from the breakdown which they kicked into the corner for a catch and drive lineout. Kearsney prevented the execution of the maul, but the hosts moved the ball to the backs, where the outside centre ran a good and strong line, to go through a Kearsney defender for an unconverted try.
Kearsney again played all the rugby in Hilton’s half and was rewarded with a penalty by Jacques Odendaal, to take the half time score at 5-3 in favour of the hosts.
The visitors started well in the second half and enjoyed a good opening 10 minutes. A spilled ball from a ruck got to the Hilton scrum half, who hoisted the ball which was knocked by a Kearsney defender. The hosts collected and scored a converted try to lead 12-3 after 13 minutes.
The third Hilton try came from a scrum in their own half, following a crooked Kearsney lineout throw. Hilton played blind and the number eight and scrum half ran 60m for an unconverted try to stretch the lead to 17-3.
Kearsney fought back and soon captain Dylan Richardson scored from a 5m scrum to narrow the score to 8-17.
With six minutes left and two scores required, Kearsney understandably ran the ball from everywhere in attempt to find more points. Handling errors, however, were the hallmark of their afternoon, preventing any further points.
Players that caught the eye were Dylan Richardson, Ross Taylor and substitute wing Robbie Koenig.