Smith ecstatic with Hendon's shock win at Hitchin
PUBLISHED: 10:00 15 January 2019
Herts/Middlesex One: Hitchin 10 Hendon 18
Phil Smith hailed his Hendon side after they toppled Herts/Middlesex One leaders Hitchin 18-10.
The Greenlands Lane outfit produced one of the shocks of the season with a magnificent success away from home.
Despite the final result, it was Hitchin who scored the opening try in the fifth minute as the match looked to be going to script.
For much of the next 30 minutes, Hendon defended with exceptional tackling from all players with Nick Andrews excelling to stop the heavier Hitchin pack from scoring.
Hendon had two opportunities in the period, commencing with a long kick to touch by Dan Watterson.
From the lineout, Hendon claimed possession with Billy Burrell tunnelling over, but the referee adjudged the ball had been held up.
From the resulting scrum, the ball went down the backline for Watterson, coming in from fullback, to dive through defenders in the opposite corner to score an unconverted try and Hendon were level at 5-5.
In the second half, Hendon started to take the initiative with carries by forwards Mike Culhane and Luke Pollard and neat footwork by ever-improving halfback Rob Casey.
a surprising run through the middle by Hitchin looked a likely score, but wing Will Theaker stopped him short allowing the Hendon defence to reclaim possession.
The visitors then took the lead in the 60th minute when Watterson successfully kicked a penalty.
Hitchin came straight back with an unconverted try, but that proved to be their last score of the match.
Chris Kiyingi dotted down at the end of a 15-phase move to put Hendon back in front, with Watterson converting to make it 15-10.
Watterson then made sure of the win with another penalty, denying Hitchin a losing bonus point.
Head coach Smith said: “Our game plan for this match was well executed by the whole team who had trained well to defend the opening half as necessary and then run around their heavier pack in the second period.
“I am delighted with the boys who continue to strengthen in this most competitive League with only five points separating fourth to ninth.”