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IGNATIANS' MIS-FIRING START SETS UNWELCOME TONE AS THE BLUE AND GOLDS COME AWAY WITH NOTHING

3 weeks ago By Martin Baker

ENFIELD IGNATIANS 19 - HEMEL HEMPSTEAD 47 Jon Landi Reports

ENFIELD IGNATIANS continue to remain something of an enigma. They started the season well but have faltered badly in their last two games which was again manifest in the 47-19 away defeat at promoted Hemel Hempstead.

Just as in the loss against Hampstead the previous week, Ignatians were again caught cold in the first-half and the ringmasters of Hemel cracked the whip and punished the blue and golds for their laboured start by running-in four tries inside 27 minutes to grab a healthy 26-0 lead.

Having only offered token resistance, Ignatians belatedly awoke from their slumber and rediscovered their competitive edge by running-in two tries in the final minutes which, at last, gave them a glimmer of hope.Fullback George Cox was the first to cross after concerted pressure from forwards and backs carved a neat overlap on the left. Jake Bates added the extras.Three minutes later Ignatians again found their range. From the initial catch and drive attempt, the visitors sieged the Hemel line before eagle-eyed scrum-half Dan McDermott spotted a gap and forced his way over.The conversion was missed and the well of opportunity again went begging when a penalty attempt, on the stroke of half-time, was hooked wide, which left Ignatians staring at 26-12 deficit.

Playing up the slope in the second period, Ignatians were soon on the back-foot and fell further behind to a fine solo effort from the Hemel fly-half.However, it did at least prompt a positive response from Ignatians, and with Hemel knocking-on close to their own line, the visitors capitalised from a prime attacking position before fly-half Jordan Wilson sailed through a gap. Bates again added the extras.

That, sadly, was as good as it got for Ignatians. They fatally handed the initiative back to Hemel and, in one very static attack, they had the ball wrestled clean from their grasp by the opposition fullback who hared up-field and scored.The nightmare afternoon had one final twist in the form of an up-and-under which caught out the visiting defence, and although Ignatians tried hard to rescue something out of the game in the form of a fourth try, their efforts fell on stony ground.

Coach Ali Cook said: "We played in fits and starts and didn't help ourselves by falling 26-0 behind on the scoreboard. There were some good passages of play but we weren't really able to sustain the pressure."We must aspire to work more as a team and we're probably only playing to 65 per cent of our potential. It's a game which got away from us and which has left us with much soul-searching to do.

As the captain, Jake Bates, added: 'next week is a new week for us.'

It doesn't get any easier for Ignatians who entertain one of the better sides in the division, HAC, who missed out on promotion last season on a technicality.

Keir Bonnar has relinquished the captain's armband this season to Jake Bates. However, he continues to remain a forceful presence at centre and was crowned Man of the Match against Hemel Hempstead.

Updated 12:19 - 14 Oct 2017 by Martin Baker

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