Ignatians Mount Gallant Fightback As Visitors Show Their Defensive Mettle
LONDON NIGERIANS: 17 - ENFIELD IGNATIANS 13
- London Two North-West: April 7th-
ENFIELD IGNATIANS fielded one of their youngest ever sides and, despite the 17-13 away loss to London Nigerians, there were plenty of encouraging pointers for the future on offer in west London.
Not that this was all about youth. Ray Hayes, in new slim line version, but at 47 the oldest player on the park, not only lasted the pace at loose head for 75 minutes, but also won his spurs by doing some sterling tidying up at the lineout. Since when has age been a barrier to success?
However, the visitors endured a torrid opening 25 minutes when the wagons circled and the attacking prowess of London Nigerians, off a plentiful supply of ball, flourished and resulted in a 14-0 lead following tries from prop Ed Vaughan and winger George Froud.
Despite their travails in the lineout, Ignatians continued to defend heroically close to their own line and, after winning a number of key turnovers, they eventually bottled-up Nigerians close to their own line.The forwards, via the likes of Liam Horn (one of the unsung heroes of the side) and Man of the Man Aaron James-Nicholls (Pictured) did some barnstorming work.
Although it was the pinpoint pass of fly-half Tom Huckle located centre Ethan Renny who took his chance with relish, which heralded the start of the fightback.
Again, Ignatians threatened to derail. They lost Luke Stack to the sin-bin (repeat team infringement) and, before they knew it, Nigerians were over the line again – only for the score to be chalked off for a knock-on.
At 14-5 down at half-time Ignatians had probably got off lightly as Nigerians yet again went for the jugular in the second period.
Again, Ignatians heroically repelled a succession of attacks close to their own line during a ten-minute spell, when the strength of the tight eight in the set piece and close combat exchanges was very much in evidence.
Eventually, Ignatians lifted the siege and, in a rare attack, forced the penalty after Nigerians came in at the side, and the mercurial Huckle, one to note for the future, took his chance with aplomb.
However, Nigerians replied in kind after Ignatians were penalised for not rolling away in the tackle as the nine point gap between the sides was restored.
Ignatians again raised their game and were rewarded with a second try following an excellent carry from Hertfordshire county player Ethan Renny which sucked-in Nigerians in the middle of the park.The ball was then spread rapidly right where centre and acting captain Keir Bonnar successfully isolated the last line of the Nigerians’ defence before off-loading to the hard-charging and pacey New Zealand fullback Johnny Dixon.
Ignatians had the chance to engineer an unlikely victory in the closing minutes off an attacking lineout. However, the dislocation between hooker and jumper was again in evidence as the chance went begging.
However, a combative Ignatians, safely ensconced in tenth spot and having wrapped up a losing bonus point, will be keen to end their league campaign on a high against Harrow on Saturday.
Coach Ali Cook said: “It was an admirable effort for three-quarters of the game, when we managed to build some pressure. However, it’s another game which should be filed under the ‘one that got away’ (category). We conceded 14 points before we got into the game and we need to make sure that we need to be firing at 100 per cent from the off, and as acting captain Keir Bonnar pointed out some of our decision making let us down.However, this is the youngest ever Ignatians’ side I can remember and it bodes well for the future. Hopefully, we can translate some of this form into the game against Harrow.”
Team: Ray Hayes (74m Rondel Bernard), Ben Mills, William Bruce, Aaron James-Nicholls, Liam Horn, Matt Georgiou, Jamie Newport, Luke Stack (65m Euan Renny), Owen Perks, Tom Huckle, Cairo Sango, Keir Bonnar, Ethan Renny, Harry Masini, Johnny Dixon.
Tries: 28m Ethan Renny, 76m Johnny Dixon.
Penalties: Tom Huckle (73m).
Man of the Match: Aaron James-Nicholls.