Late penalty secures a dramatic victory for Hendon as they begin life in a new league

Mike Evans- Jones scored a first-half try and kicked a decisive late penalty. Pic: Paolo Minoli

Mike Evans- Jones scored a first-half try and kicked a decisive late penalty. Pic: Paolo Minoli - Credit: Archant

Mike Evans-Jones kicked a penalty at the death as Hendon started life in Herts/Middlesex Division One with a dramatic 22-19 victory over local rivals Barnet Elizabethans.

The Dons, who were promoted last season, led 14-0 at half-time and then 19-14, only to concede an equalising score with five minutes left – but Evans-Jones struck with less than two minutes remaining to get the season off to a winning start.

Hendon were playing downhill in the first half and took a 10th-minute lead as a turnover from Donal O’Sullivan gave Evans-Jones the chance to jink through four defenders, touch down and add the conversion.

The advantage was then increased on the half-hour mark as JP Cremin took a quick penalty and Mick Cullhane scored from a driving maul.

Hendon were 14-0 up at the break but Barnet had the advantage of the slope after the turnaround and took just 10 minutes to level the scores.

The hosts soon struck back and regained their lead, kicking a penalty into touch, winning the line-out and forcing their way over the line, with O’Sullivan grounding the ball – but there was another setback as Barnet equalised again five minutes from time.

Hendon refused to be denied, though, and attacked once more, winning a penalty – and Evans-Jones held his nerve to slot the ball between the sticks.

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Haringey Rhinos’ first team kick off their campaign in Herts/Middlesex Division Two this Saturday, hosting Mill Hill.

In the meantime, their second XV took beat Old Isleworthians 22-17 in a Merit League Table fixture.

Israel Lawson’s try put Haringey 5-0 up at the break and captain Paddy Woodman then kicked a penalty while Gareth Kirk scored two converted tries to establish a 22-7 lead.

Isleworthians hit back, crossing the whitewash twice to narrow the gap to five points, but the Rhinos saw the game out.