Match Report: Staines RFC 17 - 22 Hendon RFC
In a nail-biting finish Hendon secure a bonus point win.
Hendon made a great start with prop forward Gabriele Peraldo making a break through the Staines defence and with Will Theaker finishing off a backline move to score a try in the corner for the visitors to take a 0-7 lead after a touchline conversion from Dan Watterson.
Then against the run of play as Hendon set up another attacking move, an intercepted pass by the Staines' centre gave them an easy unconverted try out wide making the score 5 points to 7 after 10 minutes. Scrum half Billy Burrell gave Hendon a great opportunity to score again mid way through the period as a quick tap penalty was run from midfield to the Staines' 5 metre line but Staines held on.
On 23 minutes Hendon were penalised and Staines slotted over from the Hendon 10 metre line to take the lead at 8 points to 7. However, Hendon came straight back to retake the lead on the restart as possession was won with Burrell passing to Theaker on the burst to again score an unconverted try in the corner..
Hendon’s defence was then put to the test with centre Adam Johnson outstanding as the Staines heavier pack kept up the pressure but could not get further than the Hendon 22; however Hendon were judged to be offside twice and Staines scored a further two penalties to retake the lead 14-12 before the break.
Into the second period neither side could penetrate the defensive lines until the last 10 minutes of play with Hendon setting up a forwards' rolling maul on the Staines' 22 to cross the line with Paul Julian scoring to retake the lead at 14-17. From the restart the visitors gave away a scrum, then were deemed offside and Staines again slotted over to level at 17-17.
With 4 minutes left on the clock another Hendon maul pushed over but were held up and the try was disallowed. But from the 5 metre scrum Donal O’Sullivan picked up and crashed through to score an unconverted try to re-take the lead at 17-22.
In the last minute Staines' forwards had second wind after Hendon 'conceded' yet another penalty from the restart which was kicked into the Hendon corner; eventually after a line out and several scrums well into extra time the Hendon defence held firm with Hendon’s captain Toby Ikwueke making the final touchdown to make the ball safe.
Hendon have a League free weekend on the 24th November but will be back to Copthall on December 1st against Actonians.