Stylish Hendon make a winning start to their campaign under new coach
- Credit: Archant
Hendon made a winning start to their campaign under new coach John Cassalaspro, surviving a late scare to overcome Chess Valley.
Tries from Terry Gilbride, Dan Ledger and Adam Johnson gave the hosts a 15-3 lead and, although Hendon were then reduced to 14 men and saw the gap cut to seven points, they held on to emerge triumphant.
Hendon, who play next to Saracens’ Allianz Park stadium at Barnet Copthall, have been working on a more expansive game under Cassalaspro and it immediately paid dividends, with the outside backs looking dangerous throughout.
Chess Valley started well and got their noses in front with a penalty after just five minutes.
However, Hendon then got into the game with Roddy Walsh and Jamie Connolly carrying strongly, giving the half-backs Mike Evans-Jones and debutant Cian Hynes good ball to set up an early chance for winger Johnson, who touched down only to be called back for a foot in touch.
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Hendon were well on top with Mark Munroe and Liam Murphy causing problems up front and the centre partnership of John McCarthy and Toby Ikwueke making inroads every time they got the ball.
The pressure resulted in a try as Gilbride got over the whitewash. And, although Cian Hynes missed the conversion, Hendon scored again when Dan Ledger finished off a great move involving captain Ger O ’Donoghue, giving the home side a 10-3 half-time lead.
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Chess Valley rallied after the interval but some fine defending by Paul McDermott and man of the match Tom Matthias kept the visitors out.
Instead, Hendon scored their third try with a superb team move which involved at least 10 players as they attacked from deep and got the ball to Johnson, who dotted down in the corner. This time it counted.
Hendon’s attempt to close the game out was undermined as a late tackle from McDermott was punished with a yellow card, reducing the hosts to 14 men – and Chess Valley took advantage to push their way over the try-line and set up a tense finish.
Both teams sought for a killer score, with Hendon attacking through No8 Brian O’Regan and substitute Tommy Middleton, but there was to be no late drama.
Hendon travel to visit Ickenham on Saturday.