St. Albans RFC 17 - 12 Hendon RFC
By Liam Murphy
A positive display by Hendon who again suffer a narrow loss but get a consolation single League point for their efforts.
St. Albans, as promotion favourites, were expected to win by a margin but Hendon were holding them to a draw into the last quarter when they achieved their winning try. Hendon to their credit pushed hard to get back until the final whistle but mistakes gave the home outfit the eventual win.
After half an hour of play with Hendon looking to score first by holding the home side in their own half, it was a break away by the St. Albans' back line that saw their No. 12 score in the corner for a 5-0 lead. But Hendon got their reward on 35 minutes after repeated drives from the Hendon forwards in the opposition 22. St Albans conceded three consecutive penalties with Billy Burrell finally taking a tap to Rob Page who dived through the defence to score a levelling and deserved try. It was now 5-5 to end the first period.
Into the second half it was St Albans with the first score after five minutes from their No. 12 and best player as he creamed through the Hendon defence to score under the posts for a converted try taking the score to 12 points to 5. However, Hendon held to their game plan with carries from front row forwards Paul Julian and Gabriele Peraldo taking them into the home 22. It appeared that this drive was finished off with Toby Ikwueke touching down but he was adjudged to be held up.
From the five metre scrum Hendon pushed over for a try by Julian converted by Dan Watterson to level the scores at 12-12.
Either side could have won with 15 minutes remaining but it was to be the St Albans' 12 who scored again from a Hendon defensive error giving them a five points lead at 17-12.
In the closing minutes long kicks from defence by Watterson allowed Hendon territorial advantage with Hendon’s Cosy Mutuma excelling but they could not find a way through the St Albans' defence.
This Saturday 15th December Hendon’s First XV away League fixture against UCS Old Boys has been rescheduled to Copthall kick-off 1400 for the last game of the year with the following match at home on January 5th against Saracens Amateurs.
Meanwhile with some key players not available the Second XV were away to Hertford 4th team in the Merit Table but suffered a defeat by 50 points to 14 points. They do not have a scheduled Merit Table game for the 15th.