Hendon pay the penalty as London French inflict their second league defeat

Hendon captain Ger O'Donoghue. Pic: Paolo Minoli

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

Hendon lost a half-time lead as six penalties from London French condemned them to an 18-17 loss - their second defeat of the season in Herts/Middlesex Division Two.

The Dons scored three tries and conceded none, but indiscipline allowed their visitors to kick their way back from a 12-point deficit and ultimately triumph by the narrowest margin.

Hendon were ahead after three minutes as Ger O’Donoghue set up a ruck on the French 22 and Mike Evans-Jones crossed the line before converting himself.

Minutes later the home side’s pack were exerting pressure again and, when the ball ran loose, scrum-half Cian Hynes dived on the ball to score out wide and put his team 12-0 up.

The visitors came back into the game with three successful penalties, but Hendon moved away again from an attacking line-out, with Laurence Moor touching down to leave the hosts 17-9 ahead at the break.

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That was as good as it got for Hendon though, and they conceded another nine unanswered points in the second period – all from kicks at goal.

French’s fly-half reduced the gap to five points and, when Paul Geraghty was sin-binned for holding on to the ball for too long, he added another three points to leave his side just two points in arrears at 17-15.

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Geraghty returned but Brian O’Regan headed in the other direction to the bin – and again, French took full advantage from the tee to go ahead for the first time at 18-17.

Hendon’s Cosy Mutuma led an attack up the hill and, in the final minute, Hendon were awarded a crucial penalty of their own – which was then moved 10 metres forward.

However, disruption from the visitors on the sideline became a distraction and the decisive kick went wide, leaving Hendon to settle for a losing bonus point and putting them fourth in the table. They visit third-placed Saracens Amateurs on Saturday.

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