Saints sink London All Blacks
London Division Two NW St Albans 29 London New Zealand 17 SAINTS returned to winning ways at the weekend with a well earned victory over struggling London New Zealand. They will, however, be disappointed that after an excellent first 40 minutes, they did
London Division Two NW
St Albans 29 London New Zealand 17
SAINTS returned to winning ways at the weekend with a well earned victory over struggling London New Zealand.
They will, however, be disappointed that after an excellent first 40 minutes, they didn't go on to win by a more emphatic scoreline.
The game started very brightly with both teams from the outset wanting to play an attacking brand of rugby.
It was the home side who got the better of the early exchanges. A fine chargedown was made by Charlie Howard on his opposite number's attempted clearance kick. The ball did bounce favourably for the St Albans man, but he gathered well and showed a good turn of foot to run in from 30 metres. Full-back Kentish converted.
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In the set scrum, St Albans' slightly bigger and more technically adept pack were starting to take control.
The visitors were under increasing pressure every time the packs went down. Indeed Saints' next score resulted from an away side scrum on their own 22.
Saints hooker Brenton Lemiere stole one against the head, the forwards drove on with the ball at number eight Justin Joubert's feet. As they reached their opponents' line, the scrum broke up, the ball spilling out the side. Tom Styles was quickest to the loose ball and Saints were 12 points to the good. Once again Kentish converted.
Despite St Albans' dominance of possession, the crowd were witnessing some crunching tackles by the opposition, some borderline legal. There was a real passion in the game. Indeed one of these tackles was duly deemed 'dangerous'. Mark Kentish stepped forward and his penalty gave Saints a 17-0 lead.
London New Zealand then manufactured what was indeed a quality score in the corner to give them some hope, but just before half time, Saints struck again. The away side, with new belief, were trying to run the ball from deep in their half.
The ball was ultimately spilled midway between the 22 and halfway line. Quick reactions by wing Ed Coy saw him fly-hack the loose ball into the opponents' 22, his pace getting him to the ball first, he then showed impressive dribbling skills to steer the ball over the visitors line and touchdown for a superb individual try. The successful conversion meant that St Albans led 24-5 at the break .
The second half was rather an anti-climax. It was as if the home side felt they had already done enough to win. Although the endeavour remained, the intensity had gone.
A scrappy LNZ try briefly gave the away side renewed hope but this was cancelled out by Coy's second score. A deep clearance kick from the opposition was fielded in his own half by centre Martin Alderton, an exchange of passes later and John Sayers was running into space. His brilliantly timed pass to Coy allowed the winger to perform his trademark skip around his opposite number and dot down in the corner.
With 10 minutes to go LNZ managed to charge down an attempted touch find from centre James Dickinson and in the ensuing melee the away side were awarded a slightly fortuitous try. This was duly converted to leave the final score at 29-17 in favour of St Albans.
The Man of the Match award was given to prop Dave O'Leary.
This week Saints travel to the Linford Christie Stadium in West London to be entertained by London Nigerian. With both teams locked together on six points in the league, this is an away fixture that Saints are targeting to win. To do this however, they will need to conquer their apparent phobia of this part of the world.
St Albans - Kentish, Coy, Dickinson, Alderton, Tsangari, Howard, Morete, Huddleston M, Lemiere, O'Leary, Hillier, Sayers, Huddleston C, Styles, Joubert. Reps: Callan, Mineikis, Trude.