Saints sparkle at Hampstead

PUBLISHED: 16:42 18 September 2008 | UPDATED: 13:37 06 May 2010

London North West Three Hampstead 19 St Albans 26 JOE Shaw sparkled as St Albans opened their league campaign with a fine win at Hampstead on Saturday. A splendid second half performance saw Saints overturn a 19-4 first half deficit.

London North West Three

Hampstead 19 St Albans 26

JOE Shaw sparkled as St Albans opened their league campaign with a fine win at Hampstead on Saturday.

A splendid second half performance saw Saints overturn a 19-4 first half deficit.

They outscored their opponents by four tries to three in a highly entertaining match to claim the two points.

St Albans started strongly and from the second scrum the Hampstead pack were pushed over the line. Scrum half Nick Lister had only inches to go when he picked up and dived over. Kentish's conversion saw a disagreement between the touch judges but the referee ruled that it was just wide.

Saints then appeared to go to sleep and the Hampstead three-quarter line took full advantage. Their main strike weapon was a strong running full back who burst into the game on 20 minutes when he took a pass and scored in the corner. The conversion was missed.

St Albans did not heed the warning and with the hill in his favour the Hampstead full back repeated the trick nine minutes later with a try under the posts for an easy conversion. Three minutes further on and it looked like Hampstead had done enough when, following a forward pass that a quarter back would have been pleased with, the Hampstead winger completed a move that started from their own 22m area. The conversion was added and Hampstead led 19-5.

Sparked

Just after the restart St Albans were forced to make two changes with both centre Doug Morette and flanker Tom Styles having to leave the field. Phil James was introduced in the centre and Joe 'Swede' Shaw was handed an unusual position at flanker.

Saints suddenly sparked and with the front five so dominant Shaw was able to play almost as an extra centre. Within five minutes the replacements had made their mark. James passed to Shaw who in typical fashion burst through several tackles to score near the post and Mark Kentish added the conversion. The St Albans hardy band of supporters had hardly had time to draw breath when Ed Coy was fielding a kick ahead by John Andrews and sprinting to the line for another try which again Kentish converted.

Saints were now well on top in both forwards and backs and the Hampstead back line which had seemed so potent in the first half was a spent force.

When they tried to break out they were met with strong tackles and turn overs. With 20 minutes left St Albans scored the crucial try. They were awarded a scrum on the Hampstead 10 metre line on the right hand side of the field.

With the new experimental laws taking the offside line five metres behind the scrum Saints had plenty of room to work a miss move. The inside pass from Martin Alderton to a rampaging Joe Shaw set him free for his second score. Again Kentish kicked the conversion to complete the scoring.

Coaches Trude and Lister were very pleased with the performance and awarded the Man of the Match to Joe Shaw for the impact he made.

St Albans II got their Herts/Middx Merit Table One campaign off with a good win by 15-10 against 2007/08 title winners Old Ashmoleons.

The third team also ran out winners in a friendly against local rivals Old Albanians.

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