London North West Three: Battling Tabard showing signs of turning the corner with hard-fought Datchworth victory

Mark Salteras recycles the ball to score in the match between Datchworth and Tabard. Picture: DANNY

Mark Salteras recycles the ball to score in the match between Datchworth and Tabard. Picture: DANNY LOO - Credit: Picture: DANNY LOO

A battling defensive display earned Tabard a fine 20-18 win over Datchworth – even if it was in the balance right up until the final kick.

Mark Salteras recycles the ball to score in the match between Datchworth and Tabard. Picture: DANNY

Mark Salteras recycles the ball to score in the match between Datchworth and Tabard. Picture: DANNY LOO - Credit: Picture: DANNY LOO

The Radlett-based rugby club had got off to the perfect start in glorious conditions at the picturesque village side.

There were just three minutes on the clock when the ball was recycled from a line-out across the backs, where Jonny Aguila’s textbook line bisected the home defence.

And from there they were never headed again although Datchworth were always in touch.

A Tom Wood penalty narrowed the gap but Jack Reilly, who had converted the earlier try, bagged one of his own to cancel that out.

Mark Salteras recycles the ball to score in the match between Datchworth and Tabard. Picture: DANNY

Mark Salteras recycles the ball to score in the match between Datchworth and Tabard. Picture: DANNY LOO - Credit: Picture: DANNY LOO


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It was after this that Tabard’s defence came to the fore.

Datchworth were well on top in terms of possession at this point but even after the visitors lost Dan Calnan for 10 minutes, they couldn’t get through.

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All they could manage was a further Wood penalty, leaving Tabard 10-6 up at the break.

The second half started just as the first had, with Tabard on top, and after 53 minutes they had their second try, Aaron Priscott brushing off a number of tackles to score in the corner.

John Aguila celebrates a score in the match between Datchworth and Tabard. Picture: DANNY LOO

John Aguila celebrates a score in the match between Datchworth and Tabard. Picture: DANNY LOO - Credit: Picture: DANNY LOO

Datchworth finally got a try shortly after through Alex Nolan, which Wood converted to leave the gap at two.

But with the game in the balance and six minutes to go, Aguila broke clear and looked to be going in for his second.

He was stopped short but Mark Salteras was following up.

It still left Tabard just seven points ahead and the hearts were in the mouth of the visiting support as James Hankin went over on the last play.

Tom Blackwell drives for the line in the closing moments of the match between Datchworth and Tabard.

Tom Blackwell drives for the line in the closing moments of the match between Datchworth and Tabard. Picture: DANNY LOO - Credit: Picture: DANNY LOO

Fortunately Wood’s kick was off target and the win was Tabard’s.

Try scorer Aguila believes the performance shows the club are turning the corner after last season’s relegation.

He said: “Last year was a tough one for us, from being one of the top teams to losing every game.

“But we’re not playing too bad this year. It’s still early in the season and we’re still missing a few players, but we’re getting there.

James Hankin goes over to score with the last move of the game to give Datchworth a chance of a draw

James Hankin goes over to score with the last move of the game to give Datchworth a chance of a draw in the match between Datchworth and Tabard. Picture: DANNY LOO - Credit: Picture: DANNY LOO

“We’re still working on little bits but what we’ve got is really good.”

Tom Wood lines up the final kick to draw Datchworth level on points in the match between Datchworth

Tom Wood lines up the final kick to draw Datchworth level on points in the match between Datchworth and Tabard. Picture: DANNY LOO - Credit: Picture: DANNY LOO

John Aguila goes for the line in the match between Datchworth and Tabard. Picture: DANNY LOO

John Aguila goes for the line in the match between Datchworth and Tabard. Picture: DANNY LOO - Credit: Picture: DANNY LOO

Wilf Lake on the ball in the match between Datchworth and Tabard. Picture: DANNY LOO

Wilf Lake on the ball in the match between Datchworth and Tabard. Picture: DANNY LOO - Credit: Picture: DANNY LOO

Jack Reilly breaks forward in the match between Datchworth and Tabard. Picture: DANNY LOO

Jack Reilly breaks forward in the match between Datchworth and Tabard. Picture: DANNY LOO - Credit: Picture: DANNY LOO

Dan Calnan runs at the defence in the match between Datchworth and Tabard. Picture: DANNY LOO

Dan Calnan runs at the defence in the match between Datchworth and Tabard. Picture: DANNY LOO - Credit: Picture: DANNY LOO

George Hurford is tackled in the match between Datchworth and Tabard. Picture: DANNY LOO

George Hurford is tackled in the match between Datchworth and Tabard. Picture: DANNY LOO - Credit: Picture: DANNY LOO

George Hurford carries forward in the match between Datchworth and Tabard. Picture: DANNY LOO

George Hurford carries forward in the match between Datchworth and Tabard. Picture: DANNY LOO - Credit: Picture: DANNY LOO

Dan Calnan takes a hit in the match between Datchworth and Tabard. Picture: DANNY LOO

Dan Calnan takes a hit in the match between Datchworth and Tabard. Picture: DANNY LOO - Credit: Picture: DANNY LOO

Jack Reilly kicks for goal in the match between Datchworth and Tabard. Picture: DANNY LOO

Jack Reilly kicks for goal in the match between Datchworth and Tabard. Picture: DANNY LOO - Credit: Picture: DANNY LOO

Dan Calnan looks to break the Datchworth line in the match between Datchworth and Tabard. Picture: D

Dan Calnan looks to break the Datchworth line in the match between Datchworth and Tabard. Picture: DANNY LOO - Credit: Picture: DANNY LOO

Jack Reilly kicks for goal in the match between Datchworth and Tabard. Picture: DANNY LOO

Jack Reilly kicks for goal in the match between Datchworth and Tabard. Picture: DANNY LOO - Credit: Picture: DANNY LOO

Mark Salteras is tackled by Tom Blackwell in the match between Datchworth and Tabard. Picture: DANNY

Mark Salteras is tackled by Tom Blackwell in the match between Datchworth and Tabard. Picture: DANNY LOO - Credit: Picture: DANNY LOO

Liam Walker is held up by Jack Reilly in the match between Datchworth and Tabard. Picture: DANNY LOO

Liam Walker is held up by Jack Reilly in the match between Datchworth and Tabard. Picture: DANNY LOO - Credit: Picture: DANNY LOO

Alex Nolan dives for the line to score for Datchworth despite the tackle from Mark Salteras in the m

Alex Nolan dives for the line to score for Datchworth despite the tackle from Mark Salteras in the match between Datchworth and Tabard. Picture: DANNY LOO - Credit: Picture: DANNY LOO

Alex Nolan dives for the line to score for Datchworth despite the tackle from Mark Salteras in the m

Alex Nolan dives for the line to score for Datchworth despite the tackle from Mark Salteras in the match between Datchworth and Tabard. Picture: DANNY LOO - Credit: Picture: DANNY LOO

James Watt cuts inside Jack Reilly in the match between Datchworth and Tabard. Picture: DANNY LOO

James Watt cuts inside Jack Reilly in the match between Datchworth and Tabard. Picture: DANNY LOO - Credit: Picture: DANNY LOO

James Watt hands off in a tackle by Jack Reilly in the match between Datchworth and Tabard. Picture:

James Watt hands off in a tackle by Jack Reilly in the match between Datchworth and Tabard. Picture: DANNY LOO - Credit: Picture: DANNY LOO

Adam Paine is dragged down in the match between Datchworth and Tabard. Picture: DANNY LOO

Adam Paine is dragged down in the match between Datchworth and Tabard. Picture: DANNY LOO - Credit: Picture: DANNY LOO

Dan Blackwell looks to break through in the match between Datchworth and Tabard. Picture: DANNY LOO

Dan Blackwell looks to break through in the match between Datchworth and Tabard. Picture: DANNY LOO - Credit: Picture: DANNY LOO

Wilf Lake passes off the back of a ruck in the match between Datchworth and Tabard. Picture: DANNY L

Wilf Lake passes off the back of a ruck in the match between Datchworth and Tabard. Picture: DANNY LOO - Credit: Picture: DANNY LOO

Deniyi Olashore chases back to collect a kick in the match between Datchworth and Tabard. Picture: D

Deniyi Olashore chases back to collect a kick in the match between Datchworth and Tabard. Picture: DANNY LOO - Credit: Picture: DANNY LOO

Stuart Young takes a hit in the match between Datchworth and Tabard. Picture: DANNY LOO

Stuart Young takes a hit in the match between Datchworth and Tabard. Picture: DANNY LOO - Credit: Picture: DANNY LOO

James Hankin goes over to score with the last move of the game to give Datchworth a chance of a draw

James Hankin goes over to score with the last move of the game to give Datchworth a chance of a draw in the match between Datchworth and Tabard. Picture: DANNY LOO - Credit: Picture: DANNY LOO

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