Saturday 2nd April 2022

 

London League 3 North West

 

Finchley RFC 25-18 Hendon RFC

 

Hendon lose this thrilling encounter on final play in added time.

 

This match produced Rugby of the top order from both teams with much at stake for Finchley as only victory would make them League Champions. After Finchley took a narrow first half lead, Hendon fought back to go ahead, then injuries allowed the home outfit to equalise before winning in the last 10 seconds(on the Referees watch) in added time. Phil Smith, Hendon head Coach was full of praise and commented “Just past the half hour of the second period  the boys were ahead 13-18 before two concussions, a shoulder dislocation and neck injury we found ourselves down to 14 men with 8 minutes left and no replacements. Two further injured players had to stay on with Finchley equalising before the winning try in the last play of the match” Hendon Captain Cian Hynes along with the rest of the team stood and congratulated Finchley as League Champions and added “Finchley were the only team in the League to beat us twice and are true Champions, whereas Welwyn and Hitchin at 2nd and 3rd in the League were beaten by Hendon both home and away and this could, so easily, have been another victory but for late injuries”. Hendon President David Gershlick remarked  “When we gained promotion in season 19/20 and after a year out through Covid, we kept our fingers crossed we could compete at the higher level. Having gone into Christmas as league leaders we felt we had established ourselves in this League before Finchley again retook the top spot after Hitchin’s earlier dominance. To our players and coaching staff the Clubs many congratulations on their achievement of finishing in the top half of the League and I feel sure that training at Saracens Stone X stadium will bear fruit in the seasons to come”

 

In the match Finchley were straight into attack and were 3 pts ahead after 3mins of play and on 7 mins with the strong wind in their favour gained an impressive try out wide to go 8-0 up as Hendon struggled to get into the game. From midfield play the visitors became the attackers after 20 mins but were stopped by Finchley several times before attacking again. After fierce defending by Harry Charles, Rossa Dooley and Rob Casey, the home side found the outside gap to score again in the corner an unconverted try to go 13-0 ahead. Hendon with heads high, mounted a backline move going from left to right to Robby Burrell to make the final pass to Tom Mathias on the wing to score and Hendon were back in the match. Just before the half time whistle as Hendon mounted another attack through carries by TJ O’Sullivan and Nick Andrews, Finchley conceded a 22 offside penalty for Cian Hynes to slot over at 13-8.

Into the 2nd half and Hendon warded off for 15 mins attack after attack by Finchley with the whole team tackling their opposite number until Hynes kicked a long kick to the Finchley 22 before slotting over another penalty to draw close at 13-11. Midway through the period another long Hynes kick was collected by Andrews to set up an attacking maul for scrum half Billy Burrell to distribute down the blind side to Will Theaker to score a Hynes converted try and take the lead 13-18. Then as Hendon looked the team to take the honours into the last quarter, Injury after injury took over as Finchley crossed the Hendon line to draw level at 18-18. Perhaps a fair result at this time could have been a draw but sustained tackling by Hendon soon left gaps in defence and with the referee calling last play Finchley put all their team into attack paying off with a converted try, the win and gaining promotion as Champions.

Herts and Middlesex Merit Table 3

Hitchin 2nd XV 14-50 Hendon 2nd XV

 

Aiden 'Soppy’ Power captain's dream is still alive. Hendon 2’s put on a totally dominant performance to keep up their title challenge by beating second placed Hitchin.

 
The game started with Hendon playing uphill against the wind but that wasn’t going to affect this team today. They started as they meant to go on, moving the ball upfield and only desperate defence from Hitchen stopped a try from the first attack. Eventually all the pressure told and after a slick backs' move Fasian Faiz 'Faz' scored the first of his tries wide on the right and then kicked the extras. 
The game continued with dominant defence from Hendon gaining turnover ball then moving upfield with Chris Kyingi and Cossy Mutuma smashing things up the middle of the park. 
Lee Linale playing his first game for a while at 10 kicked a perfectly weighted grubber for Chris Kyingi to dive on to score the second try,  followed up by Ewan MaClean picking and going from the back of a ruck and scoring the third with Faz taking the extra two points. 
Then came a moment that stood out in the match when Lee Linale threw an outrageous dummy fooling not only all of the defence but the referee who ran to where he thought the ball had gone leaving Lee to stroll through the large hole he had created to score and again Faz took the extra points. 
Hitchin finally managed to string together a few phases and break through the resolute Hendon defence to make the half time score 7-26.
The second half followed much the same as the first; dominated by Hendon in all areas of the pitch and now playing downhill it was only a matter of time before Hendon scored again. This time a backs' move finished off by 'Pex' making his Hendon debut; Faz again taking the extras. 
The next try was by man of the match Faz and was a contender for try of the season. The whole team was involved in the build up then out wide Faz threw a dummy to beat the first defender then a delicate chip over the covering defence to collect the ball and score followed by a conversion. 
Layton Fossay finished the scoring with what is now becoming his trademark as he broke the tackle and ran in from 30 metres out. 
Faz finished the scoring for Hendon with a penalty right in front of the posts to take the score to 50-7. 
The only disappointment of the day was Hitchen scored a late consolation try at the death to make the final score 50-14.
Captain, 'Soppy' said "Great performance today from the boys and best of the season so far. From start to finish we smashed it and now move into second place above Hitchen and have Tring, who top the table, in our sights. When we meet them for next week's game it is a must win if we want to have a chance of top spot. My players would welcome plenty of support at Tring". 
Coach, Mike Head commented " This performance has been coming for a few weeks now. We never looked like losing and it was great to get a strong side out and play the way we played. It was pleasing, I have been trying to get the guys to play smart and not angry and today they did that and played some wonderful intelligent rugby. I'm very proud of them. 
Tring next week is the defining game of our season so anyone who can get to Tring to support the boys please do come along". 

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