THE ONE THAT GOT AWAY...
writes Jonathan Landi
LONDON TWO NORTH-WEST: DECEMBER 1
THE ONE THAT GOT AWAY…
ENFIELD IGNATIANS 13 HAMPSTEAD 15
ENFIELD IGNATIANS will be kicking themselves silly after letting a golden opportunity pass them by against Hampstead, but ultimately they
will have no one else to blame but themselves for what unfolded at their Donkey Lane fiefdom.
Granted that they enjoyed the majority of territory and possession during the game, the lack of a cutting edge as regards converting pressure into points came back to haunt them big time.
The blue and golds can also feel aggrieved at being denied a late penalty decision which ultimately could have swung the game their way.
Following some sterling work at the breakdown from Man of the Match Wes Warren (pictured), and Hampstead failing to clear out the contact area, the initial impressions were that the visitors were guilty of holding-on.
However, much to the frustration of Ignatians’ players and supporters, the penalty opportunity was denied to them which left the blue and golds with the scant consolation of a losing bonus point.
Hampstead claimed both tries in broken play situations and, with the blue and golds’ defensive alignment also going awry, the visitors cashed in to lead 12-6 at the break.
Paul Duke, promoted from the second team this season and playing at scrum-half, tucked away both Ignatians’ penalty opportunities as the blue and golds kept within touching distance.
The second-half followed a similar pattern and, in a rare incursion into the Ignatians’ 22, Hampstead extended their lead to nine points after nailing the penalty.
It all made for a fraught finish but Ignatians kept hammering away and eventually broke through after prop Christo Kasabi burst over from the maul with less than ten minutes remaining. The mood continued to brighten after second-half replacement, Jordan Wilson, having taken over the scrum-half duties, landed the conversion as Ignatians inched to within two points.
Ignatians went all out for the win but the denial of a penalty opportunity was symptomatic that it wasn’t to be their day.
Coach Shane Manning said: “We aren’t far off from turning these close defeats into wins, but everyone is frustrated because they can see that the potential is there. Things don’t get any easier with our next game being against runaway league leaders, Belsize Park (December 8th), but we will regroup, and get back on the training field, and focus on what we need to do to keep on improving.”