Haringey Rhinos welcomed second-placed Thamesians on Saturday 18th February hoping to put a dent in their title challenge and deliver a better performance that the reverse fixture which saw them beaten comprehensively at the start of the season. The game started at a frantic pace and Thamesians displayed the same ruthless attacking play which was expected of them, combining hard running lines and precise offloading to put the Rhinos under pressure. A series of mistakes meant that the Rhinos were constantly being pinned back in their own half and a string of penalties allowed Thamesians to gain crucial field position. Whilst the Rhinos absorbed the pressure well, Thamesians eventually opened the scoring with a well worked try to take an early 5-0 lead. Haringey then infringed almost immediately after the restart and soon found themselves on the back foot once again, defending well against an impressive attacking outfit. Whilst Haringey looked threatening with the ball they were unable to keep hold of it and soon Thamesians made the pressure count, going over again to lead 10-0. Things were made even harder for Haringey when prop Nik Abramishvili was sent to the sin bin for a high tackle. Whilst Thamesians still attacked relentlessly, Haringey managed to keep them out and when in at the break 10-0 down.
The Rhinos managed to regroup at half time and the second half was a completely different story. Almost instantly the aggression and determination levels rose and the Rhinos began to play with more intensity and physicality which started to test the visitors. Thamesians were unable to capitalise on their one man advantage and soon Haringey were able to impose themselves on their opponents. The forwards especially started to get their set play working and were able to release the dangerous backs, particularly centres Dan Thomas and Gareth Kirk. Eventually, the pressure told and Haringey began to win a string of penalties. Whilst the ball was held up on the try line after an initial attack, the forwards managed to march the opposition scrum back and allow Number 8 Ben Watkins an easy charge to the try line to bring the score to 5-10. This was very much the story of the second half and whilst Thamesians defended well, the pressure was building and soon, after another ball was held up on the try line in almost the exact same place, the forwards once again pushed over to allow Watkins to score his second in identical circumstances. With Fly Half Hugo Murray off the field with a broken nose, the kickers struggled all day and no conversion was made and the scores were level at 10-10.
Updated 12:36 - 6 Mar 2017 by Jock McGregor
The last quarter of the game saw a resurgence from Thamesians who knew that a draw was not the result that they needed from the game. The match broke down and skill gave way to pure grit and determination. Both teams were down to 14 men for the last ten minutes, with Captain Owain Luckwell sent to the bin, and both teams had numerous chances to score. However there was to be no late drama and the match ended at 10-10 with both teams battered and bruised from a scintillating yet punishing game of rugby. The result leaves Haringey 5th in the table with four matches left to play.