Hendon 19-7 Watford: Hosts keep alive promotion hopes with victory over rivals

Hendon captain Cian Hynes on the offensive. Pic: Paolo Minoli

Hendon captain Cian Hynes on the offensive. Pic: Paolo Minoli - Credit: Archant

An inspired performance from skipper Cian Hynes saw Hendon keep alive their promotion hopes with a morale-boosting victory against second-placed Watford on Saturday.

Hendon knew a home defeat would have almost certainly ended their hopes for another year, but Hynes was impressive as they secured a crucial victory.

They were uphill on the Watford slope in the first half with the match evenly balanced.

Paul Geraghty and Mick Culhane were both thwarted by the Watford defence as they launched into attacks, before the latter conceded a penalty.

Hynes kicked long and over, with Hendon mauling to the Watford line from the subsequent line out as Jamie Connolly scored out wide to give the hosts a 5-0 lead.

The visitors came back strongly though, with Hendon conceding several penalties and missing one of their own in an uncertain period, as Watford’s No 8 crashed through the Hendon defence and under the posts to put them 7-5 ahead after 25 minutes.

Hendon hit back straight from the restart, with a further penalty from Hynes putting them back in the lead at 8-7 as the half-time whistle went.

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Hynes continued where he left off in the first half, pulling off a penalty kick six minutes after the break, before converting an audacious drop kick from 30 metres out to extend Hendon’s lead by a further six points.

The hosts were now in total control with Watford conceding another penalty near their goal line, with Hynes kicking for touch and the Hendon pack did the rest as a drive over was finished this time by Culhane to score the try out wide and make it 19-7 – which the contest ended as.

Hendon remain third in the table, three points behind Watford who have two home games remaining.

They await their appeal for the unplayed match against Haringey Rhinos and still have two other matches left to play.

Saracens Amateurs are promoted following their win over Thamesians at the weekend, with four other clubs all mathematically still in the race for the second promotion spot.