Tabard collapse adds to Staines disappointment

Tabard raced into a big early lead but were eventually pegged back by Staines. Picture: DANNY LOO

Tabard raced into a big early lead but were eventually pegged back by Staines. Picture: DANNY LOO - Credit: Archant

Tabard left Staines with two bonus points after a 31-26 defeat – but will be wondering how after letting a 20-7 lead slip.

The result lifts the Middlesex side above Tabard in the London North West Two table and out of the relegation zone, adding increased significance to this weekend’s fixture with bottom placed Old Merchant Taylors.

Staines were allowed back into the game that should have been closed out by the visitors.

Tabard had full control of the majority of the game despite gifting seven early points in the first five minutes.

The early score galvanised the visitors who responded with four unanswered tries within the first 30 minutes of play and it looked as though Tabard were set to run away with the game.

Rhys Lewis was first on the scoreboard followed by a try in the corner for Alex Walton.

Mark Salteras showed a great turn of pace to brush aside four Staines tacklers and was rewarded for his efforts with a try off the base of a driving maul before fellow back-row Toby Davies was next to cross the line after taking a quick tap from five metres.

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Significantly none of these scores were converted and Staines took full advantage of Tabard’s lack of execution scoring two unconverted tries themselves before half time.

The first came after a loose ball was caught by Staines’s scrum-half who dropped over the line for his second try and then a fumble by Tabard in the Staines 22 allowed the home side’s full-back to outsprint the Tabard cover.

Staines continued the pressure at the start of the second half but it was Tabard who got the first points of the second half with a Jack Reilly penalty.

He repeated the trick to stretch the lead to 26-17 with 20 minutes remaining.

But as with the first-half Tabard were unable to close out the game.

Staines responded almost immediately, running the ball from their own 22 the full length of the field to score under the posts.

And they took the lead with 10 minutes remaining thanks to another converted score and despite a desperate period of sustained attack, Tabard were unable to break through.