JUNIOR ACADEMY SETS BLUEPRINT FOR THE FUTURE IN WAKE OF SUMMERS LANE DEFEAT
Finchley: 22 - Enfield Ignatians Junior Academy 0
Friendly: March 11
Jon Landi reports
The future and long-term development plan of the Ignatians' Junior Academy side, which will eventually become the senior academy, was foremost on the mind of the side's coach in waiting, Steve Renny, in the wake of the 22-0 defeat at Finchley. True, the blue and golds haven't set the world alight this season and it takes a leap of faith, but the rich seams of as yet un-tapped potential have yet to be refined and, when it eventually comes together, the results may yet speak themselves.
Blighted by the ring of unfamiliarity, Ignatians took a while to find their stride and with Finchley's heavier pack ruling the roost in the early exchanges, and their backs showing a neat turn of pace, one feared the worst for the visitors. Consequently, Finchley grabbed an early 12-0 lead. However, the anticipated landslide never materialised as the visitors, despite buckling, never keeled-over as they found the inner strength and resolve which enabled then to fight-back and claim a foothold in the game.
Feidhlim Ginty, for one, rose splendidly in the lineout and his exemplary work from re-starts, set the tempo; while, more directly at the coalface, hooker Matteo Ferrari, impressed with his mobility and work-rate around the paddock.The upshot was Ignatians' ability to get a much needed foot-hold in Finchley territory. Not that they capitalised but, in an error strewn encounter punctuated by the referee's whistle, they were at least kept the opposing defence busy. Consequently, it was only late on in the game that Finchley wrapped matters up with a pushover effort from a five-metre scrum, before applying the coup de grace with a huge hoof up-field which created mayhem in the Ignatians' defence.
Steve Renny (Pictured) said: "It's the first time that we have blended this group of players. There is clearly work to be done in the scrum and the lineout for example, but allowances also need to be made as we had a few players missing. It will be very much a case of doing some fine-tuning and I've no doubt that this group of players have a bright future ahead of them. I'm happy with they way they responded as, in the early exchanges, the side could have suffered the mother of all hidings, but I thought they responded well."