AWAY DAY BLUES IN EVIDENCE AGAIN DESPITE PLENTY OF GOOD INTENTIONS
BELSIZE PARK: 58 - ENFIELD IGNATIANS: 14 - Jon Landi Reports
LONDON TWO NORTH-WEST: November 25
It proved to be another tough day at the office for Enfield Ignatians who slipped down a place to tenth in the London Two North-West rankings following the 58-14 away defeat to Belsize Park at Regent's Park. Not that the score-line tells the whole story as Ignatians delivered a much improved execution after the Hackney performance: in terms of attitude and work ethic and, had they held their nerve at key moments, they could have returned home with a losing bonus point in the bag.
Although Ignatians unwittingly gave Belsize Park a helping hand in the form of a 14-0 lead, the blue and golds clawed to within seven points after Man of the Match Dave Gear (Pictured) claimed a cracking try following some excellent interplay between the 10-12 axis Jake Bates and Keir Bonnar.
Blowing hot and cold, Ignatians then proceeded to lose their way again. Their defence was nowhere to be seen as the Park scrum-half scampered clear and the hosts also twice successfully isolated the last line of defence to go 32-7 clear on 50 minutes.
However, Ignatians set themselves a second-half objective of adding a three further tries and collecting a losing bonus point, and they went half-way to completing their mission after the alert Gear, showing good knowledge of the laws, literally pounced for try number two. After Park were pinned back on their own line, Gear aware that there is no off-side line in the in-goal area, managed to get a hand to the ball, and this allied to a second Bates conversion, moved the score line to a more respectable level.
Given considerable impetus by the pin-point kicking of scrum-half Jordan Wilson and the hard charges of Bonnar and Wes Warren, Ignatians instigated some good attacks; only for their third try, when they squeezed-in at the corner, was chalked off by the referee as the ball was deemed to have been spilled forward over the line. It proved to be a critical moment in Ignatians' fortunes which waned from then on. For Belsize Park, having been let off their hook, redoubled their efforts, and with the tiring blue and golds starting to drop off tackles, the hosts collected a further four tries to run out handsome winners.
Captain Jake Bates said: "I was happy with the effort and application of the players. However, there were four to five occasions when we seemed to switch-off and were punished as a result. We lacked Belsize Park's killer instinct but it was certainly a step-up compared to the Hackney game."
Picturedis the Ignatians' Man of the Match, Dave Gear, seen here last season against Stockwood Park. The author of a dynamic display at hooker as well as scoring both his side's two tries, he also snared last season's Player Of the Year award.