Life of Reilly for Tabard in the mud and rain

PUBLISHED: 12:07 22 February 2016 | UPDATED: 12:09 22 February 2016

Tabard celebrate after Jack Reilly's try in the last play clinched the win over HAC. Picture: KEVIN LINES

Tabard celebrate after Jack Reilly's try in the last play clinched the win over HAC. Picture: KEVIN LINES

Archant

A Jack Reilly try with the last play of the game sealed a 17-10 win for Tabard over Honourable Artillery Company and a huge four points in their battle to avoid the drop.

The conversion was irrelevant but the fly-half nailed it anyway, adding to two earlier kicks and a penalty try.

The match, played in torrential rain and on a pitch quickly becoming a mudbath, was heading towards a draw after HAC scored their second try of the day on 67 minutes to level things up.

But a late drive forward gained Tabard a 5m scrum in front of the posts, and they continued their dominance in the set-piece allowing Reilly to ghost between two defenders for the winning score.

Coach Jamie Traxon was naturally a delighted man at the end.

He said: “Sitting there at 10-10 with a couple of minutes to play, it felt like we’d lost it after the territory and possession we’d had.

“The boys did fantastic. We dominated the scrums all day long, the kick chase was really good.

“I’d have been happy with the two points, don’t get me wrong. but if would have felt like a loss.

“But I back the boys to make the decisions on the park, they’ve gone for it and it’s all worked out.

“I’m really pleased.”

Tabard’s domination in the scrum was the cornerstone of this win.

Time after time the hosts drove HAC back, winning penalties in the process.

Reilly kicked one after 33 minutes before having two further attempts on the stroke of half-time, both drifting wide.

It meant Tabard went in to the break 5-3 down after HAC had opened the scoring with a rare piece of back play.

Reilly had another two shots at the sticks but with conditions treacherous, he struggled to get anywhere solid to place his standing foot and both missed.

When they finally took the lead on 57 minutes it was fitting it came through the scrummage.

After a number of penalties against the visitors, the referee decided enough was enough and awarded the penalty try.

A pushover in the corner levelled things up before Reilly’s late intervention.

The win, which is Tabard’s third since the turn of the year, has seen the Radlett rugby club pull themselves off the foot of the London North West Two table into 10th place, seven points clear of the bottom two.

And Traxon puts the upturn in fortunes down to a renewed self-confidence in the team.

He told the Herts Ad: “[There’s] a bit of togetherness and a bit of belief. All of a sudden you get one result and it gets infectious.

“There’s been a really good atmosphere over the last few weeks and even though we lost last week [against Harpenden], there’s still that positivity and belief we can [avoid relegation].

“I think before Christmas there was a ‘we might do it’ attitude. There’s a real strength of character showing. It’s good.”

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