2014/2015 Season Report

13th Dec 2014: Saracens Amateurs 18 – Hendon 22

After the previous narrow loss against second-placed London French, Hendon held out against third-placed Saracens to record another narrow result going into the Christmas break.

Hendon held out to an early Saracens attack to reverse early momentum when Hendon scrum-half Lee Linale broke through the middle to set up a maul on the Saracens 5 metre line. The maul became a ruck and flanker Jamie Connolly picked up to score after 6 minutes. The lead was short lived as Saracens from the restart moved the ball out wide, created an overlap and ran in an easy try out wide to make it 5-5.

Saracens provided the attacking rugby as Hendon defended but after 20 minutes a ruck/maul move by Saracens could not be stopped by the Hendon defence and the home outfit pushed over to score 10-5. Into the last 15 minutes of the half Hendon were on the offensive with Brian O’Regan breaking through the Saracens defence to run from the half way mark to the Saracen 22 passing to Jamie Connolly who cleared the ball to Hendon’s full back Arwel Roberts to score 10-10. As play resumed Hendon conceded a penalty on half time in front of the posts allowing Saracens a 13-10 lead at the interval.

After 5 minutes of the second period Hendon 10 Cian Hynes slotted over a long penalty from the Saracens 10 metre line to level the scores 13-13. In an identical attack by Hendon’s forwards Saracens were offside and Hynes converted again for the visitors to regain the lead 13-16. Nowhere was now safe in the Saracens half as Hynes was to prove with again Saracens conceding a long penalty kick which Hynes duly converted 13-19. But Saracens came back into attack and again a rolling maul from a line out near the Hendon line was poorly defended allowing Saracens a further try out wide to narrow the score to 18-19. With just minutes left on the clock Hendon’s Cosmos Mutuma, having broken through the defence, set up a maul which again caught the Saracen defence offside and up stepped man of the match Hynes to convert the penalty 18-22. As Hendon defended from the restart on their 22 with a possible last surge from Saracens, the final whistle came just in time and Hendon added 4 valuable league points as their Christmas present.

6th Dec 2014: Hendon 17 – London French 18

Hendon scored the tries but conceded the game with penalties. Hendon were down the Hendon slope in the first half and were ahead after 3 minutes with a try from Mike Evan-Jones created by a run from the French 10 metre line by Ger O’Donoghue to set up a ruck on the 22 which Mike individually finished, converting his own try. Minutes later another backs move saw Hendon on the French line but the ball was knocked on going for the try. However Hendon’s pack put the French under pressure, the ball went loose and Hendon scrum half Cian Hynes dived on the ball to score out wide 12-0.

Hendon were then put on the back foot as London French pushed their way up field causing the Home outfit to concede three penalties which were converted by their number 10 to close the score to 12-9. Into the last 10 minutes of the half Hendon got back into attack, this time LF conceding the penalty just inside their half. Hynes put the ball long and from the line out Hendon mauled to the line with Laurence Moore scoring another try again out wide and Hendon were 17-9 ahead. But this established lead was again narrowed as Hendon’s defence were offside the London French 10 duly took the points leaving the half time score at 17-12.

Into the second half and further technical penalties by both sides made the Referee issue a final warning that the next would be a yellow card and Hendon were penalised as Paul Geraghty was deemed to have held onto the ball for too long with the resulting penalty being converted and London French were now within a single score at 17-15. Into the last quarter as Paul returned so Brian O’Regan walked for 10 minutes for another offence which again was converted putting the visitors into the lead for the first time at 17-18. All focus was now on the shoulders of Hendon with Cosmos Mutuma leading the Hendon attack uphill for that single score. Into the final minute Hendon were awarded a midfield penalty and through London French indiscipline Hendon received 10 metres more but visitor disruption on the side line became a distraction and the final kick went wide with only the bonus point secured for Hendon and the win for London French.

29th Nov 2014: Hendon 29 – UCS Old Boys 5

Hendon were for the second week running without a league fixture hence a local friendly match with UCS. Hendon fielded a mixed first and second team against the UCS 2nd XV. Hendon struggled in the first period with UCS opening the scoring with their solitary score to go 0-5 ahead. The half ended all even after Hendon prop forward Liam Murphy crashed over from a rolling maul in the corner 5-5.

The second half started well for the home side with Paul Geraghty collecting the kick off ball and avoiding 4 to 5 tackles from the UCS defence to score out wide 10-5. Hendon forwards then dominated allowing tries from the Hendon backline to finish off with 2 tries coming from Arwel Roberts both converted and one from new player Gareth Foley.

15th Nov 2014: Hendon 27 – Old Isleworthians 20

Hendon let slip their early lead to take control minutes from the end. Hendon set off up the Copthall slope with forwards on a mission. Repeated pick-ups and rolling mauls put the home side into the visitors 22 with Paul Geraghty scoring first out wide off the back of the scrum. From the restart Geraghty took the ball up field to set up a repeat move but scrum half Cain Hynes fed the ball wide for a backline move which he finished off with the next try on 10 minutes which Mike Evans-Jones converted and Hendon were 12-0 up. Play for the next 20 minutes was mid-field with neither side showing promise except for the visitors number 10 who looked dangerous making breaks and kicking long into the Hendon defence but fullback Tom Mathias defended well to clear from the Hendon 22 along with centre Toby Ikueke.

Into the second half and Isleworthians put the immediate pressure on as Hendon went on the back foot. A penalty then a well worked try and conversation all coming from the visitors number 10 saw Hendon’s lead dwindle to 12-10. Isleworthians were now in control and midway through the period saw another well worked try converted by 10 to take the lead 12-17. With 10 minutes to go and from a line out won by Dan Ledger, who dominated in this area, Hynes set up John McCarthy who crashed through the defence, slipping the ball to Mathias on the burst to score and Evans-Jones duly converted as Hendon drew level 17-17. But Isleworthians did not wish to concede and from an up field push allowed a long penalty shot converted by their 10 and the lead at 17-20. Into the last 5 minutes and Hendon’s forwards with Brian O’Regan at the helm mustering all last reserves to reach the Isleworthians line and Dave Connell finished off with a try converted by Evans-Jones to retake the lead 20-24. Into the last minute with the match on a knife-edge Hendon pushed forward, Islewothians conceded a penalty with Evan-Jones slotting over to finish the game at 27-20.

1st Nov 2014: Thamesians 14 – Hendon 21

Thamesians, who beat Hendon twice last season, looked strong from the start allowing the visitors little possession and running in a try after 7 minutes . Hendon defended again for a further 5 minutes until Roddy Walsh broke from a Hendon driving maul to set up a ruck from 5 metres out with scrum-half Lee Linale passing to stand off John McCarthy who jinked inside to beat two defenders to score under the post. Linale converted and Hendon were ahead 5-7. Thamesians attacked again with their forwards creating the opportunities. Hendon were offside and a Thamesians penalty put them back in the lead 8-7. Linale used the wind advantage with a long kick from defence, knocked on by the Thamesians full back giving Hendon the scrum; hooker Dan Downes on top form allowed Brian O’Regan to pick up at number 8 to set up Linale on the blind side to score Hendon’s second try, converted by Linale giving back a slender lead 8-14. 5 minutes from half time after the Referee had warned both teams of repeated technical offences, another against Hendon saw them reduced to 14 as the yellow card was used. However another driving Hendon maul into the Thamesians 22 on half time was stopped short and from the ruck Thamesians had an easy clearance but a defender dropped the ball and O’Regan was alert to pick up and dive over the try line to score Hendon’s third unexpected try, converted by Linale for a first period lead of 8-21.

The second period was dominated by Thamesians throwing everything into attack from all quarters and looking to overturn Hendon’s first half lead. But Hendon’s defence was superb with the whole team acting in unison and not allowing any move to penetrate beyond their 5 metre line, with special mention to backs Roberts and Mathias. However in the 47th minute an easy penalty in front of the posts for Thamesians, which so easily could have been a try, was taken to reduce the deficit to 11-21. Thamesians opted for the goal from a penalty as Hendon’s defence continued to hold on 25 minutes but the kick went wide. Into the last minute of the match and with no hope of scoring twice, Thamesians opted to take another long penalty to secure the bonus point which was successful to finish the match with Hendon receiving 4 points for the win at 14-21.

25th Oct 2014: Hendon 19 – Harlequin Amateurs 10

Starting downhill with the wind, Cian Haynes made the first break resulting after three minutes with a penalty converted by Mike Evan-Jones. A break soon after by the Harlequin number 8 was stopped short by Robert Nunez, but Hendon were then penalised for an offence and Harlequin’s pulled level at 3-3. Hendon returned to attack with another penalty chance going just wide from a long attempt. With play going from one end to the other as Hendon defended a long kick downfield saw Jamie Connolly give chase and collect but again stopped short with a Hendon penalty with Evan-Jones converting 6-3. Hendon’s backline continued to pressure the Harlequin defence but the visitors defended their line and after sustained pressure conceded another penalty slotted over by Evan-Jones 9-3 to end the first period.

Into the second half Hendon were now in defence with the slope and wind against them with Harlequin returning the long ball tactics used against them. After 10 minutes a short penalty on the Hendon 5 metre line saw their number 8 and perhaps most outstanding forward crash over to score a converted try to go ahead 9-10. Play was very much now in the visitors favour but Hendon stuck to it and conceded nothing led by an impressive performance by Hendon’s number 8 Brian O’Regan. Midway through Tommy Middleton broke out of defence and was clear but stopped on the Quins 22 with a high tackle and Evan-Jones converted the penalty to put Hendon back into a slender lead of 12-10. All to play for in the closing quarter, Hendon’s forwards now dominated the scrums as Harlequins went on the back foot. A break on the left wing by Nunez on 25 minutes to the Harlequin 22 leading to a maul pushing the defence back allowing scrum half Hynes to break on the blind side to score the match winning try, converted by Evan-Jones for a 19-10 lead. Quins now needed to score twice to regain the lead but Hendon never allowed them the opportunity.

18th Oct 2014: West London 17 – Hendon 8

Hendon did not settle in the opening minutes as West London dominated play in the Hendon 22. Lucky for the Visitors having conceded an early penalty, the kick went wide but minutes later poor defence by Hendon allowed the West London left wing to score a converted try 7-0. Individual play by returning forward Chris Towndrow and stand off Mike Evan-Jones started to create opportunities with West London conceding penalties as the first period progressed. The first kickable penalty was slotted over by Evan-Jones to narrow the score 7-3. Hendon then lost Captain Gerry O’Donoghue with a head wound as the West London winger attempted to jump over resulting in a Sin Bin. Then with 8 minutes of the half to go a technical offence saw Hendon’s pack reduced to 7 as West London attacked. Almost on half time as Hendon’s defence tightened, West London took a quick tap penalty close to the try line with the receiver jumping into the arms of defender Ben Linale causing the attacker to go above his shoulders and disaster for Hendon as the player was red carded for the offence. A penalty saw West London take a first half lead of 10-3.

Hendon commenced the second period with only 13 players. West London saw the gaps and kicked over the Hendon defence with JP Cremin making an early touchdown after collecting the ball “in goal” to prevent a try. The Referee awarded a 5 metre scrum instead of a 22 drop out and Hendon inevitably conceded a try at that short range as West London stretched their lead to 17-3 after 4 minutes of play. Back to 14 players Hendon went straight into attack with Evan-Jones kicking with the wind as Cremin followed up to out jump the defender and score an uncoverted try making the score 17-8. With 20 minutes to go Hendon’s forwards took control in the set scrums pushing their opponents back neutralising their backline, but West London were winning all the line outs thus preventing the visitors any opportunities. Into the last 10 minutes as Hendon’s backline attacked, a West London player stopped play with a high tackle and was red carded. From the restart Hendon camped in the West London half but conceded free kicks and penalties that halted all attempts for a score.

11th Oct 2014: Hendon 29 – Mill Hill 20

The visitors kicked off down the Hendon slope and for the opening 10 minutes were camped inside the Hendon 22 which Hendon defended preventing any early scores. When Hendon eventually broke free, Mill Hill conceded the first of many penalties at goal which Hendon missed. From the kick off stand off Mike Evan-Jones took the ball inside the Hendon 10, slicing his way upfield and beating 3 defenders to run in Hendon’s first try, converting himself. Minutes later Mill Hill were caught offside in front of their posts and Evan-Jones slotted over for a 10-0 lead. Again from the kick off Paul Gergherty collected to Tom Mathias on the burst then to captain Ger O’Donoghue on the wing who kicked over the defence but the Mill Hill fullback defending did not release after the tackle which Evan-Jones slotted over for another penalty and Hendon were 13-0 up. Mill Hill then returned fire and Hendon were back defending their own line which the visitors eventually broke on the third attempt from 5 metre penalties to score a converted try 13-7 on 25 minutes. Hendon went straight back into attack with centre Adam Johnson breaking the Mill Hill defence to pass to O’Donoghue to finish with a fine try in the corner. From the touchline Evan-Jones converted for a half-time lead of 20-7.

Into the second half it was again Hendon into the attack with their front row of Gilbride, Murphy and Kumar dominating in the scrums causing Mill Hill to back-peddle, penalties followed and Evan-Jones slotted over for a 23-7 advantage with a yellow card to a Mill Hill player. Then Hendon relaxed, Mill Hill took advantage as Hendon also lost a player to the sin bin for a high tackle and repeated penalties to Mill Hill inside the Hendon 5 resulted in a penalty try to the visitors to close the gap to 23-14. Another onslaught by Mill Hill resulted in another penalty giving them a chance at 23-17 with only a converted try to go ahead. Hendon responded and Evans-Jones converted a long shot penalty to go 26-17 ahead on 30 minutes. Mill Hill kept up the pressure resulting in Hendon’s backs being caught offside and Mill Hill were back to 1 score at 26-20. In the closing minutes Lee Linale kicked over in a blind side move, was pushed into touch without the ball and up stepped Man of the Match Mike Evan-Jones to convert the penalty from the touchline for a final cushion of 29-20 for the last few minutes with Hendon in the opposition half.

27th Sep 2014: Ickenham 15 – Hendon 25

Hendon’s second game of the season resulted in a good performance and an away win. Ickenham started brightly and scored a try early on to take the lead 5-0 but Hendon soon went down field and got rewarded a long range penalty which winger Ben Linale knocked over with ease to get on the score sheet. Hendon seemed to fall back to sleep and conceded a penalty which the Ickenham kicker converted to give a five point lead. Captain Ger O ‘Donoghue rallied his troops and Hendon started to improve. Half-backs Cian Hynes and Mike Evans-Jones linked really well and got the Hendon forwards moving with huge carries from blindside flanker Paul McDermott and second row Dan Ledger. The Dons soon got good field position and forced another penalty which Linale again converted to make it 8-6. Hendon were now on top and soon got over for their first try. A line out move straight from the training ground saw hooker Mark Munroe find Jamie Connolly who set the back line going with centre O’Donoghue scoring from 40 yards out. Linale knocked over the conversion for Hendon to take the lead 8-13.

In the second half Hendon had a lot of possession but couldn’t turn it into points. Terry Gilbride carried well all day and was a constant threat to the Ickenham defence. Hendon’s line out seemed to fall apart and they couldn’t get go forward ball from set piece. The pressure soon paid off with O’Donoghue going over in the corner to score his and Hendon’s second try to go ten points clear. Ickenham didn’t lie down and went right back up the field testing the defence with a ten minute spell of sustained pressure which resulted in a penalty try and a yellow card to Roddy Walsh. Hendon now down to 14 they had to dig deep to keep the 3 point lead. Winger Enda Cassidy tackled well all day but didn’t see much of the ball until the closing stages when the ball got to him he did some damage along the touch line to get Hendon back in to the oppositions half. Full back Tom Matthias then intercepted a poor pass from the Ickenham centres and ran unopposed to touch down under the posts. Linale added the extras to leave the score 15-25. Hendon then went in search of a fourth try for a bonus point but it didn’t come and the final whistle went for another Hendon Victory.

20th Sep 2014: Hendon 15 – Chess Valley 8

It was the first game of the new season for Hendon first XV and anticipation was high for a good performance and a winning start. With new coach, John Cassalaspro, at the helm Hendon tried to play a more expansive game and it was received very well as every time the outside backs got the ball Hendon looked dangerous. Chess Valley started well and got in front with a long range penalty after just five minutes. Hendon then got in to the game with Roddy Walsh and Jamie Connolly carrying strongly to give the Hendon half backs of Mike Evans-Jones and Hendon debutant Cian Hynes good ball to set up an early chance for winger Adam Johnson for an opening try only to be called back for a foot in touch and a line out to Chess Valley. Hendon were now well on top and started to dominate, up front Mark Munroe and Liam Murphy were causing problems to the Chess Valley defence and centre partnership of John McCarty and Toby Ikwueke making inroads every time they got the ball. All the pressure resulted in a try for Hendon as Terence Gilbride got over the white wash to make it 5-3. Hynes missed the conversion but Hendon were back down again for another score when Dan Ledger finished off a great move involving captain Ger O’Donoghue to leave Hendon 10-3 up at half time.

In the second half Chess Valley rallied again but some great defending by Paul McDermott and man of the match Tom Matthias kept the away side out. Hendon then scored another try attacking from deep with at least ten pairs of hands getting on the ball before Johnson touched down in the corner. With Hendon down to 14 men for ten minutes following a late tackle by McDermott, Chess Valley pushed over for a try to leave the match poised for a grandstand finale. Both teams going for another try Hendon attacked through No 8 Brian O’Regan and substitute Tommy Midleton but they couldn’t force another score and the match finished Hendon RFC 15 Chess Valley 8.