TWOS ON SONG AGAIN IN FULL-ON DERBY CLASH - Jon Landi Reports
ENFIELD IGNATIANS IIs: 26 - FINCHLEY IIs: 19
(HERTS-MIDDLESEX MERIT TABLE 2 - Rearranged)
This compelling Derby encounter had it all. Full-blooded in its intensity, and punctuated along the way by a red card, two sin-binning's and the protestations of an angry spectator, but the rugby was never a sideshow. From the outset, the two sides, and particularly in the opening ten minutes, tore into each other, with the blue and golds' bullocking pack making good yardage when needed; whereas Finchley's skilful backline, well-marshalled by their ten, showed the subtle touches out wide.
Ignatians were the first on the score sheet and a neat kick over the top ushered in a try for Harry Massini, but Finchley were also orchestrating some good passages of play and were rewarded with a brace of tries.This tense encounter, in which no quarter was asked for or given, remained a tight, open affair, and the returning Luke Stack ensured that it was 12-12 at the break after forcing his way over from ruck.
It was all still to play for but the tension levels started to mount and Finchley found themselves reduced to 14 after having a player red-carded early in the second period, and it didn't end there as an injury to the Finchley hooker ensured that the game went to uncontested scrums on 60 minutes. Still, Finchley managed to engineer a third try.
However, Ignatians were giving as good as they got and lock Lewis White (pictured), taking a leaf out of the copybook of team-mate Luke Stack, claimed a well-worked round the corner try.
This left the game perfectly poised and, although Daroush Fayaz, who made some good carries, was sin-binned under the totting-up mechanism of repeat team-infringement, his younger brother Farhad played a pivotal role in the win by two minutes from time; for it was his neat-off load which enabled him to locate Dai Fulcher who burst through for the winning try.
Captain of the day Paul Duke, who converted three of his side's four tries, said: "It speaks volumes for the team and effort and spirit in that we were unable to award a Man of the Match award, as everyone played their part in the win. "In many ways it was a shame that the game went uncontested as it was an area we had been dominating, and I thought our tight five, Stuart Blemings, Alex McCall, Ray Hayes, Lewis White and Jake Baker, again proved very effective.The first ten minutes of the game was played at a frantic pace but our plan was always to go back to basics by sticking to a simple game plan. I thought that Mason Parker-Collom and Dai Fulcher also did well, and it was good to be able to welcome new recruit Simon Harris."