IGNATIANS LIFT THE GLOOM BY SHOWING THEIR TRUE COLOURS AT LAST
Enfield Ignatians:28 - London Nigerians: 22
London North West 2 - 9th December
ENFIELD IGNATIANS lifted their game big time and their all-round physicality both in attack and defence was rewarded with an early Christmas bonus in the form of a much needed 28-22 morale boosting win against visiting London Nigerians in London Two North-West at Donkey Lane.
Coach Ali Cook lauded the efforts of his troops and said: "The team showed fantastic commitment, and although it was wasn't a perfect performance, our defensive effort particularly in the last 20 minutes, was superb. We deserved the win and, hopefully, we can take what we showed in this match to our next run of games."
London Nigerians have been one of the better sides in the league this season and they made a dream start on eight minutes when their driving maul, which inconvenienced Ignatians throughout, ushered-in the first of their four tries. However, Ignatians had a few tricks of their own up their sleeve, and a pin-point kick from fly-half and captain Jake Bates, which floated invitingly behind the defence, was keenly lapped-up by left winger, Carl Asare-Anderson, who just managed to exert enough downward pressure.
Ignatians also had recourse to the siege-gun left boot of Jack Wilson, which made prodigious yardage throughout, and this was to prove another key element in their armoury. However, London Nigerians came roaring back after the outstretched hand of their lock-forward Mike O'Connell enabled the visitors to regain the lead with a second try.
Ignatians threw bodies forward and, when sterling work at the breakdown from hooker Ben Mills forced the penalty, the blue and golds drilled the ball to the corner and bashed their way steadily in-field with some forceful carries before prop William Bruce (Pictured) crashed over under the posts, for his first try at first team level.
The blue and golds continued to ratchet up the pressure and when a poor Nigerians' touchfinder gifted Ignatians a juicy position close the line, Ignatians wasted little time in lapping it up by setting up the driving maul with an alert Dave Gear successfully farming the unguarded blindside. It helped that Jake Bates (two) and George Cox potted all three conversions, which fired Ignatians into a nine point lead which was eroded to four on the stroke of half-time when Nigerians prospered again via the maul despite an earlier off-side decision being missed.
The second-half was tough on the nerves in every sense if you were a home supporter as they had three players yellow-carded and Ignatians were defending for their lives close to their line when blindside flanker, Luke Stack, was sin-binned making insufficient effort to retreat 10-metres.
However, Ignatians never flinched the issue defensively and they survived the rocky period, with Gear to fore, by unleashing some bone-jarring tackles, before eventually lifting the siege and going on the attack and using the siege-gun left boot of Jack Wilson to farm the penalty. From the lineout, Ignatians quickly banked left and successfully the bullocking presence of centre Keir Bonnar, who used his strength with a typical, forceful direct run which blew the defence wide open and fired the blue and golds into a 11-point lead. Keir's effort, in many ways, incarnated Ignatians' never say die attitude. A whole-hearted presence both in attack and defence and carrying the scars of war, he later revealed: "I was really determined that we weren't going to lose."
Not that Nigerians were ever a spent force. They reverted to a more fluid mode to engineer their fourth try, but Ignatians felt aggrieved after a glaring knock-on earlier in the move went unnoticed. Ignatians certainly flirted with defeat in the dying minutes. Three times they were forced the catch and drive close to their own 22, but on each occasion they heroically threw bodies behind the ball and drove Nigerians back.
As the excitement levels mounted, both Lewis White (high tackle) and Liam Horn, were yellow-carded with minutes remaining. However, Ignatians never took a backward step and, even when reduced to a state of numerical inferiority, their cussed defence saw them through into the realms of a famous win.
Captain Jake Bates, who claimed three of his side's four conversions, added: "We had a good training session in the week. We didn't doing anything particularly flash but, I thought, our defence and go-forward was very good."
Ignatians play their final league game of the year on Saturday when they are away to Hampstead (2.00pm kick off)