First XV Match Reports

27th Feb 2016: Old Millhillians 21 – Hendon 10

Only minutes into this Middlesex Federation Cup game, left winger Adam Johnson collected from a driving maul to score unconverted in the corner. OM’s responded into the Hendon 22 and slotted over an easy penalty when the visitors were caught offside in defence. Mid-field play ensued for the next 15 minutes with neither team getting an advantage until an attacking Hendon forwards move caught the OM’s defence unaware and this time Hendon’s right winger Robert Nunez ran in unopposed to score in the corner making it 3-10. 25 minutes into the half OM’s forwards won a 22 metre lineout to drive over in the corner to score 8-10. Into the last few minutes of the 1st period Hendon were on the back foot as conceding another penalty on their 22, OM’s took a quick tap to catch Hendon retreating and score again in the corner an unconverted try and take the lead at 13-10.

Not long into the 2nd period Hendon were down to 14 players through injuries to front row players that forced the visitors to accept uncontested scrums. From a text book delivery by scrum-half John-Paul Cremin to centre Chris Kayingi was stopped just short of the try line until Hendon were again caught offside and OM’s extended their lead from the penalty to go 16-10 ahead. Superb forward play by Alistair Tang could not beat the home defence but right to the last Hendon pressed for the winning score only to concede a final try from OM’s as a poor pass in the Hendon back-line went to ground, bounced favourably for the OM’s winger to collect and run the pitch to score an unconverted winning try 21-10 as OM’s stride into the next round of the Cup.

13th Feb 2016: Saracens Amateurs 25 – Hendon 22

Played at Bramley Road with rain in the air and a constant drizzle, the pattern soon emerged with the home side looking to spread the ball wide but Hendon with a superior pack looking to drive down channels with close support. Saracens struck first against the run of play with a move that outstretched the Hendon midfield defence and scored in the corner after 4 minutes. Hendon responded when after a powerful forward surge, Hendon’s stand-in captain Toby Ikweuke tapped quickly and powered over the line to draw the game after 7 minutes. But Hendon gave away their first of many penalties and 2 minutes later Saracens’ faultless kicker put the home team ahead 8-5. Hendon’s response was immediate when Geoff McVitty fielded a Saracens clearance and fed the ball to full back Arwel Roberts who ran 50 yards to score. Toby Ikweuke converted to make it 8-12 with halftime looming. However Hendon were penalised on two occasions for ruck infringements and punished by immaculate place kicking gave Saracens a half time lead of 14-12

Hendons squad opened the second half having reshuffled the team after loosing full back Tom Mathias but showed their intent with a powerful driving try by No 8 Brian O’Regan but no conversion. Saracens were running hard but strong Hendon defence kept them at bay until a close call in the corner when Saracens were awarded a try although it appeared that Hendon’s defence had shuffled the move into touch but this was missed by the touch judge. Going into the last quarter Saracens were back in front and Hendon went further behind with 2 more well struck penalties made it 25-17. Never-say-die Hendon powered on to another well worked forward try through Mike Culhane to finish 25-22.

6th Feb 2016: Millfield Old Boys 21 – Hendon 40

A spirited effort by Millfield was eventually thwarted by Hendon who proceed into the next round of the Middlesex Rugby Federation Vase Competition. The match was played at Harrow RFC in windy conditions with Hendon facing the elements in the first half. Several early scoring opportunities were missed by Hendon in an open running match until 25 minutes into the game when a Hendon backline move was finished off by Arwel Roberts to score the first try converted by Captain Cian Hynes. Millfield responded and pushed play back into the Hendon 22 resulting in the home side drawing level 7-7 to finish the first period.

Hendon had the wind for the second half and took full advantage. From a Hendon scrum on the Millfield 22, Hynes collected to push through two defenders to score and convert for a 7-14 lead. Again Millfield responded and a run by their right wing, cutting round the Hendon defence to score, levelling the scores 14-14. Minutes later Millfield were successful down the left wing to score and go 21-14 ahead. Now midway through the half, from the restart Hendon winger Geoff McVitty collected and found a way through the Millfield defence to score out wide with Hynes converting to again level the scores at 21-21. Minutes later man of the match Harry Charles picked up from the base of a 22 metre scrum to score in the corner and Hendon were back in front 21-26. Millfield were now tiring and Charles crashed through their defence passing to Donal O’Sullivan to finish and score a try converted by Hynes. Into the last few minutes and Hendon winger Chris Kayingi ran in from 30 metres out to score with Hynes converting. The final score 21-40 gives Hendon an away tie in the next round against Old Millhillians. Hendon coach John Casalaspro commented after the game that, “with many of the 1st team not available, it has been very useful to look at some talented 2nd team players for the next League match away to Saracens this Saturday.”

30th Jan 2016: Hendon 22 – Thamesians 12

The game saw Hendon down the slope with wind and low sun behind and soon took full advantage of the benefits together with the muddy conditions. However with no score on the board it was Thamesians midway through the first period, via a poor Hendon attacking pass saw their left winger intercept and streak up field to score in the corner to put the visitors 0-5 ahead and against the run of play. From the kick off Hendon were awarded a penalty to close the score but the kick was just wide. A further blow to the home outfit was the exit of Hendon 10 Derry O’Connor through injury. On the half hour mark Thamesians again were penalised in their 22, but this time Mike Evans-Jones kicked for touch into the corner. From the line-out the Hendon maul pushed to the line with Paul Geraghty scoring the vital try, converted by Evans-Jones to take a deserved lead 7-5. Hendon from the restart held the Thamesians in their own half, who conceded a further penalty which Evans-Jones duly converted 10-5. As half-time approached the try of the match came for Hendon as Evans-Jones intercepted another defensive pass on the visitors 22 to storm through for a 2nd try which he converted as Hendon went into the 2nd period 17-5 ahead.

Up the pitch in the 2nd half, back-row forward Harry Charles showed his strength in attack as he made several runs through the Thamesians defense giving advantage to the home outfit. On 15 minutes Thamesians were again penalised, Evans-Jones kicked into touch and from the line out another maul and with the help of the backs for an all in effort, hooker Chris Towndrow touched down to score the try out wide 22-5. With time running out Hendon were desperate for another push over and 4th bonus point try but committed to attack it allowed a Thamesians winger to take advantage and almost reach the Hendon line but was stopped short by fullback Tom Mathias. However as the clock counted down several scrums on the Hendon line could not be stopped as the visitors had the last word with a consolation converted try to finish 22-12.

16th Jan 2016: Hendon 3 – Saracens Amateurs 16

The visitors came out all guns blazing going up the Hendon slope from the start and within 5 minutes had upset the home team with an easy try out wide to go ahead 0-5 as the conversion hit the post. Hendon’s pack from the restart took control and Saracens were on the defensive, conceding a penalty out wide but the resultant kick also hit the upright and Saracens stayed 0-5 up. For the next 15 minutes Hendon with a lighter pack took control in the midfield with Brian O’Regan, Harry Charles and Jamie Connolly pushing the Saracens defence that held firm. On 20 minutes, Saracens were ahead again as Hendon were penalised for offside on their 10 metre line and a superb kick from the Saracen 10 saw the lead stretched to 0-8. Hendon were further penalised as Saracens regained the initiative and another long range penalty went over for a 0-11 lead. Then just before the break after an attacking move created by Mike Evans-Jones passing to Toby Ikwueke who was stopped just short from scoring, the Saracen defence kicked long, wrong footed the Hendon defence to collect and score another soft try in the corner to take control at 0-16. The score did not reflect the Hendon play as shortly before the break, Hendon captain Cian Hynes went blind from a Hendon scrum on the Saracen 22, again to be stopped short with a further blow by sustaining a shoulder injury to end his afternoons action. However Saracens were penalised and Hendon were at long last on the score sheet as centre Derry O’Connor slotted over the penalty 3-16.

It seemed the odds were against Hendon as they started the second half, as playing up the slope and into the low sun, they needed at least two scores to get on terms with Saracens who held a commanding lead. Hendon’s scrum was strengthened by replacement prop Paul Julian, and Arwel Roberts came on for the injured Hynes in the backs. But for all the pressure from Hendon in both attack and defence with fullback Tom Mathias excelling, they could not penetrate the Saracens defence until the 30th minute when Chris Towndrow from a rolling maul, went over the try line but was held up; from the resultant scrum, Hendon’s pack pushed over for Towndrow to again crash over to touch down for even the Saracen players to acknowledge the try but the referee was on the wrong side to see and to the surprise of all did not award the try, again judging that the ball had been held up. Although not a match winner, a try at this point would not only have been a moral booster for Hendon but given them a possible bonus point. Minutes later the match concluded with Saracens unable to add to their first half score but maintaining their 100% record as league leaders.

12th Dec 2015: Hendon 20 – Uxbridge 10

Hendon were up the Hendon slope in the 1st period facing a strong wind; sustained pressure from the Hendon pack with Chris Towndrow leading the onslaught was defended admirably by Uxbridge defying their lowly league position. With no let up in attack it was inevitable that Uxbridge conceded a penalty after 12 minutes, slotted over by Hendon Captain Cian Hines 3-0. 5 minutes later as Uxbridge came into the Hendon half for the 1st time a backline move was intercepted by Derry O’Connor on the Hendon 22 to run the pitch and score a corner try to go 8-0 ahead. Uxbridge gained momentum setting up several attacking moves as Hendon turned to defence and frustrating the home outfit from getting near the Uxbridge 22. However Uxbridge conceded a further mid field penalty, for the ball not to reach touch as it was blown in by the gusting wind but was caught by Hendon 2nd row Mike Culhane following up the kick and passed on the Uxbridge 10 to Hendon’s Mike Evans-Jones who side stepped 2 defenders to score a try converted by Hines 15-0 to finish the half.

Into the 2nd period Hendon with the following wind and the slope in their favour found themselves conceding penalties to thwart their attacking moves dominated by Brian O’Regan as he led the Hendon pack. Against the run of play Uxbridge pushed the home side back and conceding an easy penalty, Uxbridge slotted over for their 1st points 15-3. Mid-way through the half as a further Hendon maul took control with Jamie Connolly excelling in the back row, it was Towndrow to break from the scrum 10 metres adrift but to crash over in the corner for an unconverted try 20-3. With just minutes to spare and Hendon looking for the bonus point try, O’Connor in the Hendon backline took the ball on halfway to be tackled on the Uxbridge 5 but was prevented in releasing the ball back by the tackler; it what seemed a penalty to Hendon, but given to Uxbridge that flat footed the Hendon defence who were committed to attack as the Uxbridge winger was able to run in a soft score 20-10 that denied Hendon their 4th score.

28th Nov 2015: Woodford 19 – Hendon 67

Both clubs had no league or merit table commitments so this friendly was arranged with a mixture of players from both Clubs and was an ideal match for Hendon to run out some of their new players. In the 1st period Hendon were soon on the scoreboard and setting the tactics for the rest of the match. Winger Geoff McVitty collected the ball out wide on the Hendon 10 and ran the wing to score out wide after 10 mins. Woodford with a heavier pack to Hendon kept the ball tight and relied on their 10 to kick long which after 20 minutes resulted in a home score under the posts, converted to make it 7-5. From the restart Arwel Roberts at full-back ran through the Woodford forwards, passing to 2nd row Paul Geraghty to score from the 22. Then number 8 Brian O’Regan had a run through the Woodford defence to set up Toby Ikwueke, who was stopped short of the like but passed back to O’Regan to score and make 7-15 after 25 minutes. In the final minutes of the half Chris Kiyingi making his debut at flanker collected from a maul to score and Hendon were ahead 7-20 at the break.

Into the 2nd half and it was the visitors all the way. Line outs were all secured by Donal O’Sullivan jumping in the line-out and although the Hendon scrum was pushed backwards, no scrum was lost with the backline doing the rest. Roberts was the first to score from a quick tap penalty, Ikwueke converting to make the score 7-27. Then an enormous penalty kick from the Hendon 5 metre line to the Woodford 5, a full 90 metre kick by Geraghty, led to Hendon’s next score with McVitty going over in the corner 7-32. Woodford to their credit fought back to score 12-32 after 20 mins but the rest of the match belonged to Hendon as tries all converted by Captain Iwueke came thick and fast from McVitty, Kiyingi (2), Cremin, O’Sullivan to take Hendon’s tally to 67 points, although Woodford took a consolation try with the last touch of the game to finish 19-67.

14th Nov 2015: Watford 22 – Hendon 6

Alongside all sport played over the weekend both teams observed a one minute silence in remembrance for those who lost their lives in the Paris massacre the prior day. In the most atrocious conditions the match commenced with Watford being awarded an early penalty for a 5 metre line out. In a well worked move the Watford number 8 came through the centre of the line to score an uncontested try. Hendon quickly recovered and took play to the Watford 22 but repeated attempts to run the ball from penalties came to nothing until Cian Hynes slotted over another penalty to make it 5-3. Mid field play ensued until Roddy Walsh was the victim of a faulty refeering decision and sin-binned. Hendon could not hold the Watford pack, who progressed into the Hendon 22 and created an overlap to score their second try in the corner. Into the final minutes of the first half Hendon were back to a full team and continued to run at the Watford defence but slippery ball and poor passing stopped them short. The only possible consolation were further penalties but Hendon chose not to kick for goal and were not able to take anything away from their kicks to touch. The final penalty was kicked by Hynes to close the score line to 10-6 at half-time.

Into the second period, Hendon’s Paul Geraghty and Harry Charles penetrated the Watford defence but Hendon continued to attempt the wider offload which in the conditions did not result in the Hendon backline scoring – Adam Johnson, Toby Ikwueke and Derry O’Connor all were stopped short. Into the last 10 minutes with Hendon committed to attack, a long defensive kick by the Watford fly-half was defended but the ball did not go to touch and Watford ran in an easy try under the posts to stretch their lead to 17-6. Hendon could only receive a losing bonus point at this stage. From the restart the slippery ball was lost by the Hendon backline in the Watford 22 as a last ditch attacking move was underway. Watford cleared the ball down field with another long kick going over the heads of Hendon’s defence which was easily collected by the Watford wing to score an unopposed last try as Hendon slid to their first league defeat.

7th Nov 2015: West London 8 – Hendon 43

Starting against the wind, Hendon’s forwards after 5 minutes pushed upfield into the West London 22 resulting in a scrum. Winning the ball Hendon 10 Mike Evans-Jones passed to winger Adam Johnson on a cross field burst to slice the West London defence and score. Cian Hynes converted. For the next 10 minutes Hendon were on the defensive with centre Toby Ikwueke excelling. Evans-Jones decided to run from a defensive position on the Hendon 10, dummied the WL backline twice to score another try duly converted by Hynes. Again Hendon were on the back-foot allowing the home outfit to gain the momentum resulting in a penalty on 30 minutes to make it 3-14. Almost on half-time, forward Paul Geraghty charged down a WEst London defensive kick, passed to Evans Jones on the 22 to kick through for Hendon’s full back Arwel Robert to collect and slide over for the last score leaving it 3-19 before the interval.

Just 2 minutes into the second half and John McCarthy went to the sin-bin for a technical offence and Hendon’s pack were reduced to 7. West London seized the opportunity and mauled to the Hendon line to score an unconverted try out wide. As McCarthy returned, centre Derry O’Connor went off injured but Hynes converted an easy penalty to stretch Hendon’s lead to 8-22. Still with one backline player out Hynes took a quick penalty on 25 minutes inside the West London 22 for Brian O’Regan to score a Hynes converted try and the bonus point. Into the last 5 minutes and with West London defending, Roberts speed took him past several players to score his second try, converted by Hynes. By now it was 8-36. With the last play of the match, almost the whole Hendon team had a touch of the ball with front row forward Roddy Walsh finishing the move to score with captain Hynes converting 8-43 as Hendon wiped away the cobwebs from the RWC.

10th Oct 2015: Hendon 84 – Chess Valley RFC 10

Chess Valley were downhill in the first half and could have taken an early lead but their penalty kick went wide. After 5 minutes of play Hendon scored their first of 14 tries with winger Adam Johnson going over from a long kick up-field by Derry O’Connor. Chess Valley’s heavier pack kept them in the game until midway through the half when an attack set up by John-Paul Cremin and Tom Mathias from defence was stopped short. Hendon mauled the ball over the line for flanker John McCarthy to score. Captain Cian Hynes executed the next try from a midfield break to score and convert making it 17-0. Hendon’s bonus point fourth try was set up by flanker Jamie Connolly in mid-field, finished off by Johnson and converted by Hynes after 25 minutes. Chess conceded a penalty on the half-hour – Hynes tapped to O’Connor who saw off 3 defenders to score his first try in the corner to finish the half 29-0.

Into the second half Hendon used the down the slope advantage but slack Hendon defence, perhaps complacent after all the attacking play, allowed the Chess Valley forwards to drive over for a try. Harry Charles charged down the Chess conversion. It was Charles with a sweeping run to score Hendon’s next in the corner making it 34-5. Charles went over for his 2nd try after O’Connor chipped over the defence to score 39-5. From the restart an interchange of backline passes back to Hynes resulted in his 2nd try out wide and meant the score stood 44-5.From the next restart Geraghty fielded the ball and set off down the right wing from the Hendon 10 metre line, saw off a number of defenders to score his individual “try of the match” from a 60 metre run. Mid way through the 2nd period Chess conceded a penalty inside the Hendon half. Again a quick tapped ball to Mike Evans-Jones let him jink inside defenders to set up O’Connor to score his second try which was duly converted by Hynes making it 56-5. Hendon were now scoring at will with Johnson scoring his hat-trick try next with Hynes converting. Another backline move from the restart gave Toby Ikwueke a try, Hynes converted again. Into the last 10 minutes Charles impressed in the loose play to set up prop Ben Edwards to score from a 5 metre maul converted by Hynes. In the final minutes of the game Hendon number 10 Evans-Jones, having set up many moves throughout play, was rewarded with his own well worked try, converted by Hynes 84-5. Hendon, assuming the match was over, allowed an easy move up field by Chess Valley for the visitors to have the last word with a try in the top corner to finish the match 84-10.

3rd Oct 2015: Old Isleworthians 17 – Hendon 67

Isleworthians heavy pack of forwards had the initial advantage over Hendon until David Connell collected Hendon’s first possession after six minutes and from a backline move, Derry O’Connor went over to score an easy try converted by Captain Cian Hynes. Minutes later Mike Evans-Jones collected inside the Hendon 22 avoided the Isleworthians defence to reach their 22 before releasing to O’Connor to score his second try. O’Connor was on the scoresheet for the third time as he sliced through the Isleworthians defence to score. Hynes converted. O’Connor scored again after another fine line break by Evans-Jones with Hynes converting to go 0-26 up and the securing the bonus point to Hendon on 17 mins. A long kick from the restart was mishandled by the home player and Toby Ikwuele collected for another backline move to score a try converted by Hynes. Although this match seemed like a one way procession Isleworthians pack kept the ball and managed to roll over for a well worked try in the corner before the half-hour. They repeated the move before half-time and despite some terrific defence work by fullback Tom Mathias, they scored again finishing the first half 10-33.

Into the second period and Ikwueke was first to strike for Hendon. Both from the restart in collecting and finishing to score. 8 mins into the period it was O’Connor to score from another backline move that the Home outfit could not manage to defend. Hynes converting 10 – 45. Midway into the 2ndperiod Isleworthians set up another rolling maul in the Hendon ½ which created another home converted try 17-45 as Hendon reduced to 14 with prop Liam Murphy off injured. Hendon were awarded a penalty and to give his men a rest Hynes Converted to go 15-48. Next move followed an interception by Jamie Connolly setting Hynes up to score a try, converting himself 15-55. Not content with 5 tries O’Connor went over for his 6th, Hynes converting 15-62 and finally winger Robert Nunez went over in the corner to finish off Hendon’s afternoon workout 15-67.

26th Sep 2015: Hendon 49 – Mill Hill 13

Hendon were on the scoreboard first after Captain Cian Hynes slotted over a penalty from the Mill Hill 10 metre line. From a long kicked penalty downhill, Mill Hill worked from the lineout to set up a maul and broke through the Hendon defence to score and convert. Even play followed for 20 minutes and resulted in no further score until a Hendon attack was stopped with a tap down ball resulting in a yellow card. Hendon kicked upfield and from the lineout and maul, scrum-half Mike Evans-Jones went blind avoiding two defenders to score an unconverted try and lead 8-7. Hendon from the restart were immediately on the attack from the backline with Tommy Middleton looking sharp, but another defensive error by Mill Hill gave an easy penalty for Hynes to kick and leave it 11-7 at half-time.

From the restart Hendon took full advantage of the slope to set up a 22 metre maul, sending Jones down the line for Derry O’Connor to run in his 1st try duly converted by Hynes. Hendon sustained early Mill Hill forward pressure but conceded two penalties to allow the visitors to narrow the scoreline to 18-13. But that concluded Mill Hill’s attack as Hendon’s pack set up a sequence of solid scrummaging with special mention to the front row of Liam Murphy, Mark Munroe and Chris Towndrow. The next try from the set piece came down the line to O’Connor to score with Hynes converting. Next over was Towndrow crashing through from 10 metres out to score and another Hynes conversion extended the lead to 32-13. Next, from an attacking Hendon backline move stopped short, second-row forward Paul Geraghty collected to score a Hynes converted try and make it 39-13. Into the last 6mins and as Mill Hill tired, Hendon’s pack took full advantage with Jamie Connolly setting up Towndrow to score out wide. With the last move of the match, Towndrow was on hand again to crash through the MH defence for his hat-trick and final score of 49-13.

19th Sep 2015: Harlequin Amateurs 12 – Hendon 50

Hendon got their new season off to a perfect start with a convincing 50-12 win over Harlequins Amateurs in Richmond. Hendon started brightly and got off to the best possible start when a strong forward maul lead by strong running from Jamie Connolly, John McCarthy and Brian O’Regan lead to quick ball which ended with Arwel Roberts dotting down underneath the posts for the first of his four tries which Hynes converted. Hendon’s pressure told again when a quick lineout from Derry O’Connor was taken by Hynes who drew in the last defender to send O’Connor up the left touchline for the first of his hat-trick debut. Harlequins did get back into the game with a well taken try before Hynes dummied and went from outside the Harlequins 22 to dot down underneath the posts to give Hendon their four try bonus point at half time. The second half started with early pressure from a fired up home side who scored shortly after the re-start, but again Hendon upped their intensity and started to score tries at will with strong work from the Hendon tight 5 providing a good platform for Hendon’s backs to run.