Reilly grabs victory for Tabard in dying seconds against London Nigerian

Jonathan Tilley and Teddy Gough try to get a Tabard maul moving forward. Picture: DANNY LOO

Jonathan Tilley and Teddy Gough try to get a Tabard maul moving forward. Picture: DANNY LOO - Credit: Archant

A last-minute penalty from Jack Reilly gave Tabard a narrow 20-17 win over London Nigerian at Cobden Hill in London North West Two.

The Radlett-based rugby club needed to dig deep trailing 17-10 with just nine minutes to go.

But a try from Reilly, which he duly converted, tied things up and when a Nigerian tackler failed to roll away, the fly-half claimed the victory.

Charles Sandison had scored Tabard’s first try of the day.

Tabard coach Cameron O’Connor was delighted with the way his team battled until the end.

He said: “The boys have been building towards that over the last few weeks. We had a very good performance against Belsize Park [last time out] but couldn’t get the win. But here we managed to hold on and get one over the posts at the end. I’m over the moon.

“We built pressure and created space on the outside in the first half but those last couple of passes didn’t stick or we took wrong options.

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“But we felt at half-time that if we could hold the ball and get some phase play in, the gaps would open up.

“The boys are tight and the one thing is, if we don’t get the result, they’ll fight right until the end.

“Whoever’s out there, we always work hard for each other. It’s a great quality to have.”

The first half was scoreless, with both sides having good field position and territory at times.

Tabard arguably had the better, Mark Salteras and Aaron Priscott getting close in a spell which saw the visitors pick up a yellow card and Reilly turn down two very kickable penalties to go to the corner.

Nigerian hung on and just before half-time it was their turn for a man advantage when George Hurford was penalised for a dangerous tackle.

It brought the opening try of the game, two minutes after the restart.

Nigerian’s rucking was excellent throughout the game, giving quick, clean ball to Freddie Chalke on numerous occasions. It happened again to allow the backs to pass the ball out to James Fraser on the wing, Chris Morgan adding the extras.

They should have added a second moments later but centre Sam Moorby stepping into traffic when there was options out wide.

But back to full strength shortly after Tabard levelled things up in similar fashion; a quick break and swift passing finding Sandison on the wing.

Both sides created chances but it was Nigerian who retook the lead in controversial circumstances. Jack Flanagan got it right in the left corner but it did appear as if his left hand was in touch. The referee, however, was unsighted and awarded the try.

Reilly added a penalty before London got a second unconverted try through Caolan Cotter.

Morgan hit the post with his conversion and then missed with a penalty as the visitors tried to kill off the game.

They both missed and when Reilly stretched over with nine minutes to go, it set up a grandstand finish.

And Reilly supplied the winning touch with seconds remaining.

O’Connor is now looking for his side to use the result as a springboard.

He said: “We know what we’re about in this league and we know if we play to our strengths and play to our full capability, we can knock over anyone on the day.

“The next couple of games are ones we’ve targeted, against teams that are around us. We need to pick points up there and we started that against Nigerian.”