Haringey Rhinos finish season in style with win over champions
- Credit: Archant
Haringey Rhinos laid a marker for next season as an impressive 22-7 victory over Herts Middlesex Two champions Bank of England closed out their current campaign.
The first period of the game was evenly matched with BoE holding a slight edge in possession due to penalties against the Rhinos.
Both teams sensing a close encounter attempted penalty goals with both kickers missing.
The scoring deadlock was finally broken by a BoE flanker who exploited a gap on the fringes of a ruck to score next to the posts with the kick successful.
But from then the game started to tip towards the Rhinos with the pack having the better of the scrums and shutting down BoE’s big runners in open play.
The Rhinos got on the scoreboard in the 30th minute when centre Dan Thomas crashed over on the left after the forwards had worked play into the BoE 22.
From the restart Haringey were again able to get into the BoE 22 and were rewarded when captain and scrum-half Owain Luckwell seized on poor BoE defence to nip around the ruck and score another try.
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The second half had the Rhinos running down the slope and this, along with better discipline at the breakdown, allowed them to keep possession for further periods and build phases to pressure the BoE defence.
With the Rhinos forwards dominating the scrums, BoE were pinned in their own half with Rhinos tries coming to second row Rob Handley and flanker Charlie Rigg.
Fly-half Dan Rycroft finally found his kicking boot to collect one conversion.
BoE to their credit never gave up and showed why they won the league this year, managing to apply pressure to the Rhinos defence for the final 10 minutes.
Haringey lost one to a yellow card late in the game but despite going down to 14 men were able to hold off the BoE attacks.
Captain Luckwell said: “There was a lot of heart from the boys wearing the Haringey badge today. We’ve had a few ups and downs this season so it’s great to prove we can beat anyone in this competition.
“If we can get our consistency sorted over the summer we’ll be challenging for promotion next season.”