Luckwell feels Haringey Rhinos have ‘turned a corner’ after scoring 10 tries against Chess Valley

Haringey Rhinos captain Owain Luckwell. Pic: Paolo Minoli

Haringey Rhinos captain Owain Luckwell. Pic: Paolo Minoli - Credit: Archant

New captain Owain Luckwell believes Haringey Rhinos have “turned a corner” and are now heading in the right direction after Saturday’s 60-0 home win over Chess Valley.

Gareth Kirk breaks away to score the first of his four tries. Pic: Paolo Minoli

Gareth Kirk breaks away to score the first of his four tries. Pic: Paolo Minoli - Credit: Archant

Haringey sat in London Division Three North West in 2013 but they have since dropped two divisions.

Now in their second season in Herts/Middlesex Division Two, the Rhinos suffered a deflating 66-0 defeat against Thamesians last weekend – but they bounced back in style on Saturday, dishing out similar punishment by running in 10 tries against Chess Valley at New River in Wood Green.

Gareth Kirk scored a first-half hat-trick and crossed the line for a fourth time after the interval, while Luckwell, Charlie Rigg, Hugo Murray, Dan Thomas, Nik Abramishvili and Anthony Ekundayo also got over the whitewash during the rout.

Luckwell said: “It was an outstanding performance, and great to bounce back from what was a very disappointing game last week.

“We’re really showing that, when we play as we know we can, we’re one of the teams to beat. It’s great to see after a few years of poor results that we’ve managed to turn a corner.

“We’re now pushing hard across all our teams to maintain and build on our positive start to the campaign. We’re managing to get plenty of training in on the 3G pitch and worked hard to recruit over the summer.

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“Although we’re still on the lookout for more players, the ones we have are more dedicated to the cause and growth of the club than ever, which hopefully means the Rhinos are only heading in the right direction.”

Haringey lost the toss and had to play uphill in the first half but they started well, securing their rucks and recycling the ball quickly to dominate the opening stanza.

The intensity paid off as Rigg, who was named the man of the match, crossed the line to open the scoring – and he and centre Kirk continued to cut holes in the defence for the rest of the half.

Kirk touched down three times himself before the interval, while Luckwell, Murray and Thomas also got the on the scoresheet to give the hosts a 41-0 lead at the break.

Chess Valley rallied in the second half, using their tight five to good effect and moving the ball downfield with a driving maul from their own 22 at one point.

However, handling errors undermined their efforts and allowed the Rhinos to extend their lead from open play, with prop Abramishvili, wing Anthony Ekundayo and Kirk getting the glory, while the hosts also kept a clean sheet for the second time this term, following their 39-0 opening-day victory over Mill Hill.

Meanwhile, Haringey Ladies suffered a 27-20 defeat to Beckenham’s second team in the first round of the Junior Cup, in a tie that went to extra time.

Beckenham crossed the line inside the opening five minutes, but Rachel Lum Wai responded in kind for the Rhinos to level the sides level at 5-5 at the break.

Some slick passing then resulted in two breakaway tries for Jocelyn Davis, but Beckenham replied to equalise, escaping down the touchline as Haringey concentrated on keeping things tight in the middle.

With the scores locked at 15-15 at full time, extra time was needed to separate the sides – and Olimpia Dordea crashed through the defence to give Haringey the lead.

However, they conceded two tries and a conversion before the end, leaving them to focus on their league campaign.