Sat 24
1st XV
H Fayaz (2), H Masini (2), B Mills


By Hadee Fayaz
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writes Jonathan Landi



Enfield Ignatians got their pre-season trilogy off to the perfect start by dominating a brave but outgunned Braintree 36-5 at Donkey Lane on Saturday (August 24), writes Jonathan Landi.

Neither side was at full strength and, with Ignatians having recourse to seven players aged 20 or under, there was a danger that the ring of unfamiliarity could come back to haunt them.

Not a bit of. In fact, Ignatians made a blistering start in the searing heat and they were at their most productive in the first quarter which yielded three of their six tries.

Indeed, one of the young guns, Lukas Yoxall, celebrated his 20th birthday by playing-in the impressive Harry Masini for the first score after the Ignatians’ pack initially won a scrum on the Braintree 22.

Ignatians’ cute off-loading game gave the visitors no amount of headaches, before two neatly floated cross-field kicks on either flank from Jack Wilson set-up winger Hadee Fayaz for his brace.

Indeed, the work hungry Fayaz, having tracked over to the opposite wing, was the recipient off a Masini offload in the first instance, before chalking off a second try after latching on to Wilson’s kick after the bounce of the ball literally fell his way.

A loyal club servant if there was one, Fayaz has been with Ignatians since the age of 13, and he had only returned from his honeymoon earlier in the week before linking up again with his team mates.

Granted the raft of changes, Ignatians consequently dropped off the pace in the second time quarter before Braintree, who hunted far more aggressively at the breakdown, were eventually stretched in both directions, as the sharp if unorthodox Masini roared-in for his second.

Despite a well refereed game going to uncontested scrums, and the man in the middle knew his mind and missed very little, Ignatians didn’t let-up and, with Braintree penalised for coming off their feet, Wilson used his boot to plant the ball near to the Braintree line.

This was to prove the catalyst for the catch and drive and, with the maul making good yardage, hooker Ben Mills deftly retained control at the back before his neat blindside probe saw him crash over.

Ignatians’ defence wasn’t unduly troubled but they were left clutching at straws after a fine solo effort from the Braintree scrum-half saw him elude four defenders on the way to the line.

It proved a mere blip in the great scheme of things as Ignatians finished on a high. Again fine interplay between Masini and Fayaz, took play close to the visitors’ line.

Although some fine ‘Tree defence stalled the momentum, the forwards revived the move before a neat offload from new recruit Jonathan Hamilton set-up up flanker Liam Dunne.

Captain Jake Bates, whose fine all-round distribution was also a feature of Ignatians’ play, rounded off a productive afternoon by rifling over a third conversion.

It also seems pertinent at this juncture to welcome the seven younger elements in the team. They were the aforementioned Yoxall plus Fadee Fayaz, Euan Renny, Tom Birdseye, Jack O'Toole, Calum Middleton and Ethan Robinson. All acquitted themselves well.

Fadee Fayaz is the youngest and third family member to have played for his club. His excellent exam results will see him continue his studies at Bath University, where he will also have the opportunity to further his rugby education.

Ignatians’ head coach Shane Manning said: “Some bits and pieces of our game, granted that some of our players hadn’t played together, were good – in fact very good. The players will have a chance to go again [against Stockwood Park] on Saturday [August 31], but there’s still work to be done in training before then and we start again on Tuesday [August 27].

First Team Squad: Dom Nott, Gareth Rutt, Alex McCall, Alberto Di Dio, Ben Mills, Michael Hall, Liam Dunne, Fadee Fayaz, Jake Baker, Euan Renny, Tom Birdseye, Jonathan Hamilton, Jake Baker, Paul Duke, Jack O'Toole, Calum Middleton, Lucas Yoxall, Hadee Fayaz, Ethan Robinson and Jack Wilson (20).

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Match details

Match date

Sat 24, Aug 2019