Four try Hopcroft leads Tabard victory charge
Tabard edge out Imperial Medicals in high scoring encounter
London League 2 North West
Tabard 32 Imperial Medicals 26
NEIL Hopcroft, Tabard’s fullback, scored four of Tabard’s five tries on Saturday but Imperial Medicals were also in try scoring mood with four of their own as Tabard edged a high-scoring affair at Cobden Hill.
Hopcroft scored three tries in six minutes at the beginning of the second half to swing the game, which Imperial Medicals were winning by 14 points to eight at half time, in Tabard’s favour.
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The first of these came after three minutes with Medicals attacking but they knocked on in midfield and Tabard’s centre Peter Sleath fielded the ball to make the initial break before feeding Hopcroft for the score, which second row Sam Barrow converted. Three minutes later Hopcroft was in again. This time from a scrum No.8, Cam O’Connor, picked up at the base, scrum-half Harry Gough carried the forward momentum on and Hopcroft was on hand to finish and complete his hat-trick. Three minutes later he was in again, this time Tabard took the scrum against the head and from the ensuing attack Hopcroft went over the whitewash.
This brief flurry of tries followed a first half which had started with Medicals in the ascendancy and quickly into their stride with a try from flanker Hamilton following a line out drive, converted by Nzekwue.
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Tabard replied when Hopcroft got his first try totally against the run of play. The Tabard forwards turned the ball over 10 metres from their own line allowing centre Gerald Arasa to make the initial break, before giving Hopcroft a 70-metre run to the line for the touchdown. Barrow then gave Tabard the lead with a penalty goal before Medicals completed the first half scoring with another try from Hamilton, again converted by Nzekwue.
After the Hopcroft onslaught at the beginning of the second half Medicals refused to face the medicine and fought back to be rewarded with a penalty try after Tabard pulled the maul down in the red zone but Tabard replied virtually from the kick off with a try from wing Stephen Jenkins. Fielding the ball near the half way line Jenkins made the ground, kicked ahead and won the chase for the touchdown.
Even with so much going on the end of the game was not without controversy. With minutes to go Jenkins had a perfectly good try disallowed because the referee was unsighted. Medicals then attacked and, from a rather dubiously legal line out throw, caught Tabard flat footed and centre Rutter went over for the try. The conversion was kicked but the referee disallowed it because it had not been taken from the mark and Tabard were the winners of the try scoring spectacle by 32 points to 26.
This week is a cup week but Tabard have a bye so there may not be fixture.
Tabard: Hopcroft, Lewis, Sleath, Arasa, Jenkins, Edwards, Gough, Lake B, Hart, Lake W, Barrow, Hall, Ruston, Stoba, O’Connor.
Other Result: Tabard 2nd XV 66 UCS OB 13.