By Ben Pearce
Thursday, January 17, 2013
An encouraging defensive performance helped struggling Hendon to a 16-9 victory away at Bank of England in Herts/Middlesex 1.
Hendon managed not to concede a try for the first time this season, and tries from Buzz Nunez and Tommy Middleton and two penalties from Paul Geraghty secured their second win of the campaign.
They started nervously, defending poorly from the off and conceding an early penalty. However, the visitors were on the attack from the restart and a run from Cosy Mutuma led to a penalty which second-row forward Geraghty converted to level the scores at 3-3.
Bank edged back in front again, but Hendon responded with the first try of the match.
Middleton kicked long and Geraghty recovered the ball before Mutuma took it on to the Bank five-metre line to set up a maul – and Middleton spotted a gap and put winger Nunez over in the corner.
As the first half came to a conclusion, it was Bank making all the attacks and, although Hendon defended wave after wave of assaults, the pressure eventually resulted in a penalty kick and a sin-bin for a technical offence, leaving the visitors 9-8 down and with 14 men.
Hendon’s defence was tested again for the first 15 minutes of the second period, but they were eventually awarded a penalty in their own 22 – and they used to it to score a second try from Michael Blake’s long kick.
Terry Gilbride, Blake and Mutuma led a drive from the forwards, which won a scrum five metres out, and Middleton took full advantage to dive through and score.
Leading 13-9, the next 15 minutes belonged to Hendon, and another Geraghty penalty extended their advantage to seven points.
Bank camped themselves inside the visitors’ 22, and Hendon were reduced to 13 men in the final minutes after another two sin-binnings – but they held on for the victory.
That leaves them 13 points behind Belsize Park, who lost 32-22 at home against Old Merchant Taylors’.
Meanwhile, Hampstead lie fourth in London North-West Division 2 after a 24-19 win at Hemel Hempstead, while UCS Old Boys’ clash with London Nigerian was postponed.
Elsewhere, Haringey Rhinos went down 36-0 at home against Hitchin Hedgehogs in London North-West Division 3.
The Hedgehogs pushed towards the Rhinos’ line from the start, but the hosts’ solid defensive structure could not be broken – and they soon started to play to their own strengths and found themselves playing much of the game in the Hedgehogs 22.
The powerful forward Daniel Thompson led a series of pick and drive moves, which opened up space on the left wing, but on cold January days the fingers can be a little stiff and a knock-on stopped Max Miles from going over for the try.
The Rhinos continued to dominate possession, but more and more knock-ons cost them their opportunities to open the scoring, and Hitchin capitalised on a turn-over to score in the corner.
Haringey’s heads did not drop, and the acting scrum-half Shaun Huiskamp soon had them knocking on the Hedgehogs’ door again.
Powerful scrums and driving line-outs gave the Rhinos hope of an equalizing score, but again errors saw the ball being turned over and Hitchin’s slick back line shipped the ball wide to register their second try of the day.
Haringey came out fiercely in the second half, with Tom Ingham working tirelessly with and without the ball – but the Rhinos were playing uphill and against the wind.
That, combined with handling errors and the loss of the experienced Huiskamp, opened the floodgates and Hitchin ran away with the game.