Hendon seal narrow win over local rivals Harrow
- Credit: David Simpson/TGS Photo
Hendon sealed a narrow 20-16 victory over local rivals Harrow to continue their strong start to the new London 3 North West League season.
It was Hendon who scored first from defence from an attacking move by Harrow, losing the wet ball out wide for Will Theaker to collect on the Hendon 10 to run the pitch, pushing aside two defenders to touch down out wide an unconverted try to give Hendon a 5-0 lead.
Returning to attack, Harrow were awarded two penalties as the home outfit defended their 22; both kicks succeeding and Harrow took the lead midway through the first period 5-6.
Hendon were now in control of the scrum from the front row of Nick Andrews, Nick Pope and Luke Pollard to push the Harrow scrum backwards delaying the fast running Harrow back line from receiving quick possession; then a defensive error allowed the Harrow backs to swing the ball out wide, breaking the Hendon defensive wall to score a converted try to go further ahead at 5-13.
Before the break, Hendon were caught offside as the visitors attacked down the slope with the penalty kick giving Harrow a comfortable lead at half time of 5-16.
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Hendon now had the slope, with wind and rain behind them, putting Harrow under pressure to defend their own territory, especially from long kicks by Jack Ryan. One 50/20 kick gave Hendon the line out and from the resulting maul, from 10 metres out, Hendon crossed the line for Nick Pope to score an unconverted try 10-16 and the home outfit were back in business.
Harrow continued to defend well but were caught offside in the 22 allowing Ryan to slot over to draw close at 13-16.
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With time running out, Hendon could not breach the Harrow defence, until into the closing minutes another long kick by Cian Hynes, knocked on by Harrow in defence gave Hendon the attacking scrum which came close to the Harrow line before collapsing giving Hendon a penalty.
Captain Toby Ikwueke could have gone for the kick to equalize but had confidence in his scrum and took that option.
Hendon were prevented from scoring on a further two attempts. With Marius Von Moltke finally picking up just short of the line but stopped by two offside defenders, the referee had no alternative and awarded Hendon a penalty try with an automatic seven points to seal a 20-16 win.