Checkmate as Hendon star Evans-Jones shows his genius in Chess match

Hendon's Mike Evans-Jones. Pic: Paolo Minoli

Hendon's Mike Evans-Jones. Pic: Paolo Minoli - Credit: Archant

Mike Evans-Jones scored a hat-trick as Hendon secured back-to-back victories for the first time this season, overcoming struggling Chess Valley 29-10 and putting more distance between themselves and the bottom two in Herts/Middlesex Division Two.

Hendon lost six of their opening seven league games, leaving them in the relegation zone – but they have responded by earning two home wins in a row.

Evans-Jones scored eight of his side’s 13 points in last week’s triumph over Ickenham – and he notched 19 of their 29 points against Chess Valley on Saturday to take them six points clear of their defeated visitors, who lie 10th out of the 11 sides in the division.

Hendon were playing uphill in the first half and they went behind after 10 minutes as Chess Valley pushed down the slope and won a penalty, which was slotted between the sticks.

However, the hosts hit back with interest as Evans-Jones received the ball following a back-row move and cut through the defence to score under the posts, before adding the conversion himself.

The lead did not last long as Valley responded in a similar manner with a well-worked try, taking a 10-7 lead – but Hendon reacted immediately and, with their back line now taking shape after a jittery start, winger Judah Simpson finished in the corner to put the home side 12-10 up.

Hendon were fortunate to have the returning Jamie Connolly back in the forward line and, along with Paul Geraghty, the pair set the pace upfield.

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Their efforts were rewarded as they gave scrum-half Lee Linale the space to set up Evans-Jones, who sidestepped two defenders to score his second try – and convert again to give his side a 19-10 advantage at half-time.

Hendon picked up where they had left off after the restart, and they stretched their lead further as Paul Julian and Terry Gilbride led a push from the forwards and Linale sent Dave Connell over in the corner.

Now trailing by 14 points, Valley produced a spirited response but solid Hendon defence kept them from scoring – and Evans-Jones added the icing on the cake in the final moments, intercepting the ball in the midfield and running in his third try of the day to secure a bonus point for Hendon.