One Game, One Win
Haringey Rhinos vs Pinner & Grammarians
Haringey Rhinos started the new season with a strong sense of passion and belief in what the club is hoping to achieve this year. The first test of the season would be against newly promoted Pinner and Grammarians who were keen to continue the form they had from last season. The referee going to the wrong White Hart Lane gave both teams an extra long warm up and added to the anticipation that was surrounding both teams and getting the new season properly underway.
Luckily for the home team, once the match finally got under way it was Haringey who took the early advantage in possession utilising their ability to get the ball wide through a much changed back line very well despite the damp and dreary conditions that only threatened to get worse. This early pressure eventually ended in an opening try from the home team which was converted as well to give the rhinos an early 7-0 lead. The continued pressure began to result in a few breakdown penalties going the way of the rhinos as the away team looked for ways to slow down the game, and it wasn't long before one of these was in penalty range and with the rhinos captain Owen McKenna opting to go for points, the score was now 10-0.
The weather began to worsen and several knock-ons from both sides resulting in a 15 minutes period of broken play which made for a big change of pace from the action packed first 10 to 15 minutes of the game. Just before halftime however the Rhinos managed to find their feet again and two more converted tries left the home side in a great position with a score of 24-0.
The second half then got under way as the weather continued to get worse, and things only got worse for the away team as well as the Rhinos put together a few slick passages before scoring another try right by the far corner, which was unfortunately not able to be converted. This however seemed to be a wake up call for the away team who began to retain possession better and slow the game down, allowing them to find a rhythm of their own. With the rain now pelting down and the Grammarians hammering away in the Rhinos’ 22, the home team were forced to give everything they had to defend their line. While one turnover was brought back due to home winger Leighton being offside in his chase of the clearing kick, the Rhinos held up for another 5 minutes before the away side finally cracked a hole through the defensive line and had their first points on the board. The score now at 29-7, the away time came into their element even more scoring two further converted tries in the next 15 minutes and with the score now at 29-21 and all momentum going against them, the Rhinos took time to regather their thoughts before the game truly slipped away from them.
No more than 5 minutes later, from a line-out set piece the Rhinos went in from a single phase with outside centre Dwight in for another try. Again uncovered from right out by the touchline, a lead of 34-21 was no sure thing and a seesaw battle proceeded to dominate the last 10 minutes of the game and the Rhinos side registering a win at the first attempt against a Pinner & Grammarians side who showed real character and that they are a team to be reckoned with this season as well.
Man of the match went to outside centre Dwight for his multiple tries on the day, and with the first game of the season done the Rhinos headed to the clubhouse for a well deserved drink. The Home side next week travel to London Scottish, a side that is also new to the league this year after making the switch from Zoo Sports Shield and will prepare through the week for another stern test that lies ahead of them.