Hopcroft inspires Tabard to first win
Winger touches down twice in narrow victory
London League 1 North
Tabard 26 Ruislip 23
TWO sparkling tries by Tabard’s wing Neil Hopcroft set up the Radlett sides first league win of the season against Ruislip on Saturday, by 26 points to 23.
However, it was a dogged all round performance that kept Tabard competitive throughout the game and they thoroughly deserved the victory, albeit by the narrowest of margins.
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The early pressure all belonged to Ruislip although Tabard stole some early line-outs and this, coupled with some superb tackling, kept Ruislip at bay but they did pick up an early penalty from stand off Burns. Gradually, Tabard began to come into the game, with the front five forwards executing some great scrummaging and the Tabard centres Mike Thomas and Tryfan Edwards having some surging runs. However, Ruislip always looked dangerous and they opened the try scoring when their wing, Whitney, went over in the corner, even though there was a suspicion of a foot in touch.
Then Tabard scored their first try. Full-back Joe Cunningham started the move from inside his own half and he passed to wing Matty Roberts who ran in from thirty metres for a great try. This was followed by Hopcroft’s first try. From a scrum, stand off Jack Reilly made a half break. He passed to Hopcroft who ran, kicked ahead and gathered for another superlative try. This briefly gave Tabard the lead but Ruislip responded with a try from flanker Dowsett who went over in the corner.
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Just before half time Reilly epitomised Tabard’s spirit when he kicked a mammoth 48 metre penalty, into the wind, so the sides turned round at 13 points apiece.
Ruislip opened the scoring in the second half with another Burns penalty but Reilly replied in like form for Tabard when Ruislip were caught offside. Hopcroft then scored the best try of the match. Ruislip were within spitting distance of the Tabard line when they knocked the ball back. Hopcroft powered through the Ruislip back line to kick the ball downfield, where he duly gathered and raced in under the posts to give Reilly an easy conversion.
With time running out Ruislip levelled the scores again when their No.8, West went over from a short penalty. Then, with just five minutes to go Reilly converted another penalty to give Tabard the lead, which they held, despite some tremendous pressure from Ruislip, to take the win by 26 points to 23.
Next week Tabard are away to Woodford, kick off 3pm.
Tabard: Cunningham, Hopcroft, Thomas (Murphy 72m), Edwards, Roberts, Reilly, Van der Vlught, Lake B, O’Neill, Lake W, Kidd, Weizman, Hall (Miller 50m), O’Connor and Stoba.
Tabard 2nd XV beat Boreham Wood 25-17 in the merit table.