St Albans come up just short after top of the table battle

PUBLISHED: 06:34 21 November 2019

St Albans V Hendon - George Saunders in action for St Albans.


Picture: Karyn Haddon

St Albans V Hendon - George Saunders in action for St Albans. Picture: Karyn Haddon

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St Albans fell to their first defeat of the season as Hendon won the big battle at the top of Herts Middlesex Division One.

St Albans V Hendon - Ross Taylor in action for St Albans.


Picture: Karyn HaddonSt Albans V Hendon - Ross Taylor in action for St Albans. Picture: Karyn Haddon

Both sides were undefeated coming into the contest at Boggymead but it was the north Londoners who left with the victory, although the hosts could at least content themselves with a losing bonus point from the 19-12 defeat.

St Albans V Hendon - Sam Howell in action for St Albans.


Picture: Karyn HaddonSt Albans V Hendon - Sam Howell in action for St Albans. Picture: Karyn Haddon

From the kick off it was clear that both teams were motivated but it was Hendon who showed the more confidence at the start. They quickly moved play deep into the Saints half and from a line-out they set up a driving maul that crashed over the line for a 5-0 lead.

St Albans V Hendon - Ross Taylor in action for St Albans.


Picture: Karyn HaddonSt Albans V Hendon - Ross Taylor in action for St Albans. Picture: Karyn Haddon

A strong scrum as usual gave the home fans some hope of regaining a foothold but retaining possession was proving problematic.

St Albans V Hendon - George Saunders in action for St Albans.


Picture: Karyn HaddonSt Albans V Hendon - George Saunders in action for St Albans. Picture: Karyn Haddon

It also meant Hendon's swift and co-ordinated back line were able to test the St Albans more often than some would have liked and they moved further ahead when missed tackles allowed them to add an extra seven points.

St Albans V Hendon - George Saunders in action for St Albans.


Picture: Karyn HaddonSt Albans V Hendon - George Saunders in action for St Albans. Picture: Karyn Haddon

That was after a mere 15 minutes but that was when Saints finally turned up. The pack was assertive in the tight and Ross Taylor and Shaun Rafter began claiming line-outs.

St Albans V Hendon - Joe Shaw in action for St Albans.


 Picture: Karyn HaddonSt Albans V Hendon - Joe Shaw in action for St Albans. Picture: Karyn Haddon

A clever kick to the wing sent Foster Kavanagh racing over and even after the intense battle brought injuries to Charles Woollard and George Saunders St Albans were able to draw level.

St Albans V Hendon - George Saunders in action for St Albans.


Picture: Karyn HaddonSt Albans V Hendon - George Saunders in action for St Albans. Picture: Karyn Haddon

A strong attack on the Hendon line and incessant pressure created the opportunity for George Trude to find the gap and George Elliott added the conversion.

St Albans V Hendon - George Saunders in action for St Albans.


Picture: Karyn HaddonSt Albans V Hendon - George Saunders in action for St Albans. Picture: Karyn Haddon

The same intensity from both sides returned after the break and Hendon were able to take the lead with what turned out to be the only score of the half.

St Albans V Hendon - Liam Rogers in action for St Albans against Hendon .   Picture: Karyn HaddonSt Albans V Hendon - Liam Rogers in action for St Albans against Hendon . Picture: Karyn Haddon

The hosts still had 30 minutes to pull themselves back into it and they came close on a couple of occasions only to see the attacks fail to breach the green wall.

St Albans V Hendon - Liam Rogers in action for St Albans against Hendon .   Picture: Karyn HaddonSt Albans V Hendon - Liam Rogers in action for St Albans against Hendon . Picture: Karyn Haddon

Hendon could have extended the advantage late on, a brilliant cover tackle by Fraser Morris preventing an intercept score and a penalty that drifted wide.

St Albans V Hendon - Liam Rogers in action for St Albans against Hendon.   Picture: Karyn HaddonSt Albans V Hendon - Liam Rogers in action for St Albans against Hendon. Picture: Karyn Haddon

They remain second with a trip to Barnet Elizabethans up next on Saturday.

St Albans V Hendon - Foster Kavanagh in action for St Albans.


Picture: Karyn HaddonSt Albans V Hendon - Foster Kavanagh in action for St Albans. Picture: Karyn Haddon

Elsewhere the second team continue to sweep all before them with a 73-0 victory over Bishop's Stortford.

St Albans V Hendon - Foster Kavanagh in action for St Albans.


Picture: Karyn HaddonSt Albans V Hendon - Foster Kavanagh in action for St Albans. Picture: Karyn Haddon

Matt Smith, John Sayers and James Dickinson all went over twice and Adam Jasinski, Will Latham, Jake Mounsden, Roy Dube and Will Batchelor once. Harry Trude landed nine of the 11 conversions.

St Albans V Hendon - Foster Kavanagh in action for St Albans.


Picture: Karyn HaddonSt Albans V Hendon - Foster Kavanagh in action for St Albans. Picture: Karyn Haddon

The thirds also enjoyed plenty of tries as they beat Woodford 37-24.

St Albans V Hendon - Sam Howell, George Saunders and Foster Kavanagh in action for St Albans. Picture: Karyn HaddonSt Albans V Hendon - Sam Howell, George Saunders and Foster Kavanagh in action for St Albans. Picture: Karyn Haddon

Joe Nelson got two and there was one each for Jon Constantinou, James Tyreman, Lance Talmadge and grizzled veteran Mick O'Shea.

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