UCS OB 7 - 30 Hendon RFC
By Liam Murphy
Hendon play their best rugby to date and go into the Christmas break with a superb win.
UCS were the home team but currently without a home ground and hence they elected to play at Copthall having won the previous away fixture in September.
Hendon started down the slope into bitter conditions of driving rain and strong wind. but five minutes into the match from a forwards' ruck scrum half Billy Burrell found Will Theaker on the wing to run in Hendon’s first try which was converted by Burrell giving Hendon a 0-7 lead.
UCS' heavier forwards tried to move up the Copthall slope but turnover ball gave the Hendon backline room to allow Chris Kiyingi to run in a further try on the wing, again converted superbly by Burrell taking Hendon's advantage to 0-14 after just 20 minutes.
UCS' forwards again pushed into Hendon territory and from a 22 metre ruck their No 8 picked up and ran through the middle of the ruck to score a converted try 7-14.
With minutes left on the clock for half time a defensive kick by UCS, after stopping short an attacking move led by Hendon’s stand off Rob Casey, was gathered by Theaker on the Hendon 22 who ran the length of the pitch to score pushing aside several missed tackles. This try went unconverted but Hendon led by 19 points to 7 at the break.
Into the second period Hendon again kept the ball wide with assists from Nick Andrews and Luke Polard frustrating UCS, who were caught offside and Burrell slotted over on 10 minutes for Hendon to stretch their lead to 7-22. Hendon’s defence of Toby Ikwueke and Johnnie McCarthy in the centre was again on the mark, stopping short UCS possible scores with Rob Page and Cosy Mutuma collecting ball at the breakdown as UCS conceded a further penalty, which Man of the Match Burrell converted giving Hendon a comfortable lead of 7-25 on 25 minutes but needing one more try to secure the bonus point.
With minutes to full time left wing Theaker came off his wing into the line breaking tackles again but was was stopped short of the try line however full back Tom Mathias was following up on the burst to take the offload and score the bonus point try out wide giving Hendon a well deserved 7-30 victory, which took them up to sixth in the League.
In the New Year the next league encounter comes when Hendon entertain Saracens Amateurs at Copthall on January 5th with kick off at 1400 a match generously sponsored by Stu Dowsett a Hendon Life Vice President, who was a Saracens First XV prop in the days before the game became professional.