Hendon RFC target place in top-six promotion battle as league is restructured

Hendon captain Ger O'Donoghue (centre). Pic: Paolo Minoli

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

Hendon RFC chairman David Gershlick hopes the first team will be competing in the top six in February after Herts/Middlesex Division Two was restructured during the summer.

There are 14 clubs in Herts/Middlesex Division Two and they will play each other once up until February, at which point the league will be split into two.

The bottom eight teams will take part in a cup knock-out tournament while the top six sides will play each other again, with the top two being promoted.

Gershlick explained: “There aren’t enough Saturdays in the season for everyone to play each other twice, and the league has been given a new structure to keep the interest going. I’d like to see us in that top six, that’s the aim.”

Hendon have strong stability, with Ger O’Donoghue captaining the first XV again, with Brian O’Regan as his deputy – but the club are keen to progress.

“We’ve got half a dozen new players and no significant losses,” said Gershlick. “We’re still looking for others to come forward because we’d like to run a third team.

“We generally have 10 to 12 extra players each week who aren’t in the first or second XV, so we’re looking for another couple of handfuls.

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“The emphasis is on training, and we’ve got the use of Saracens’ Allianz Park again for the full season, which is fantastic. As an amateur club, we’ve probably got the best training facility in the country.”

Hendon must wait another week to kick off their campaign, against Chess Valley, on September 20, but they continued their preparations with a trip to face Finchley at the weekend.

Head Coach John Casalaspro said: “This was a good run-out against a club playing two leagues higher than Hendon. They certainly showed us up in the back line, running through our defence to outscore us in the second period after a fairly even first half.

“On a more positive note our scrum was on par with the home outfit, with our front row giving them plenty to think about”.

Director of Rugby Micky Harber said: “We wanted to see the new players at full stretch to see where they fitted into the selection process for Saturday.

“Our second team play their first merit match away to Barnet whilst our first team are at home with another friendly fixture.”

Anyone interested in joining Hendon can contact Micky Harber on 07957 294 767 or by email at mick.harber@live.com.