FRIENDLY: AUGUST 31
YOUTHFUL REVOLUTION GATHERS PACE
ENFIELD IGNATIANS 36 STOCKWOOD PARK 0
Enfield Ignatians carried on from where they left off against Braintree by overwhelming Stockwood Park 36-0 (August 31) in the second of their three pre-season friendlies.
Head coach Shane Manning said: “It’s another stepping stone in the right direction. We have a final hit out [pre-season friendly] against Biggleswade on Saturday [Sept 7], but what is good is that picking the final 18 [for the first league game] is becoming very difficult.”
Inevitably, there were a few dark clouds on the horizon to match the vagaries of the weather in the form of injuries to the ‘revenant’ George Cox (ankle) and Calum Middleton (knee). However, those blips aside, it was a festive occasion in which prop Gareth Rutt celebrated his 30th birthday,and the positives were largely tangible as a scratch side, laced with a sprinkling of promising young prospects, furthered its education in the arena.
Man of the Match Lucas Yoxall successfully laid on a try, whereas another of the young blades, Alex McCall, went one better by actually going over; Calum Middleton and Euan Renny, who had a stormer at seven, further underlined the quality of the new generation.
Having seen off Braintree 36-5 a week earlier following a blistering start, Ignatians, playing into a strong wind and up the slope in the first-half, were forced to play the patience card. However, Ignatians’ blend of youth and experience proved more than equal to the task, as they successfully contained the visitors defensively who consequently threatened only sporadically. The front row, too, had a field day.
If anything, Ignatians had more attacking nous and they went ahead 5-0 in the opening quarter after the alert Jake Bates ran a quick tap penalty and played in right winger Hadee Fayaz.
Ignatians continued to make good yardage in attack but spillage in the final 20 blighted their game and, consequently, some golden opportunities went begging. Support play, too, was found wanting.
However, the elements were in Ignatians’ favour in the third and fourth quarters and, with Bates shrewdly playing the territorial game, the hosts successfully turned the screw.
Two catch and a drive attempts, followed by a 5m scrum, prefaced the second try before Michael Hall’s angled run eventually blew the door down.
A textbook backline move was also achieved the desired result as the it pulled the Stockwood defence out of kilter before MOM Lukas Yoxall played-in Hadee Fayaz for his brace in the right corner.
After camping close to the line, an excellent carry from Dave Gear enabled the blue and golds to move within inches of the whitewash, before play swept left and Hall dummied his way over for his second.
Hooker Alex McCall went ‘solo’ by riding roughshod through a thinning defensive line for his side’s fifth, before Jack Wilson and McCall combined to set-up Charlie Hoy in the corner.
Bates, the heartbeat of much that was good about Ignatians’ play, added a third conversion on a day when Charlie Shorten, who has had cruel luck with his injuries, got a run out at scrum-half.
It’s now over to Bigglewade before the league season gets underway on September 14.
First Team Squad: Forwards: Dom Nott, Gareth Rutt, Alex McCall, Ben Mills, Michael Hall, Liam Dunne, William Bruce, Euan Renny, Charlie Hoy, Dave Gear, Jamie Newport.
Backs: Jake Baker (cpt), Charlie Shorten, Calum Middleton, Lucas Yoxall, Hadee Fayaz, Carl Asare-Anderson, George Cox and Jack Wilson (18).