Captain O’Donoghue targets success at home as Hendon slip into bottom two

Hendon captain Ger O'Donoghue. Pic: Paolo Minoli

Hendon captain Ger O'Donoghue. Pic: Paolo Minoli - Credit: Archant

Hendon captain Ger O’Donoghue has urged his team to capitalise on home advantage in the coming weeks after they dropped into the bottom two in Herts/Middlesex Division One.

Hendon suffered their sixth defeat from their opening seven league games on Saturday, with a 48-29 loss away at Hillingdon Abbots leaving them in the drop zone.

Having been relegated from Herts/Middlesex Division One last season, O’Donaghue says the next few fixtures could be crucial to their survival bid this campaign.

“We have four more league games before Christmas – three at home – and we must maximise on the potential if we have any chance of staying in this league,” said the skipper.

We have the firepower to win games in attack but our defensive play has got to be sorted out, especially in the back line, where single efforts must be supported by the whole team.

“With our coach Chris Palmer we have asked the whole squad to be on duty this week to get to grips with the problem.”

The issue was underlined on Saturday as Hendon scored five tries but still lost by 19 points.

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Hillingdon took the early initiative on their home turf and established a 21-0 lead before Hendon got down to business, with Robert ‘Buzz’ Nunez finishing a move that was created by Lee Linale from a scrum, and Mike Jones converting.

Abbots responded with a score of their own but Hendon hit back in turn, with Jones touching down. And, with the visiting forwards dominating at set plays as usual, No8 Mark Ivers went over from a maul to narrow the gap to nine points at 28-19.

However, Abbots finished the first half with another well-worked try, taking a 33-19 lead into the interval, and they added a penalty and two tries – one of them converted – within 10 minutes of the restart.

Hendon’s defence stopped the onslaught but, with half an hour to go, they trailed 48-19.

The forwards secured more possession, with Brian O’Regan leading the way, and the visitors were on top in the last 15 minutes. Linale and O’Donoghue both scored out wide, but Hendon were left with a single bonus point for their five tries.