[quote_left]Maximum points after a very strong second half[/quote_left]
The fixture on Saturday 2nd April against Shelford was another tricky hurdle for the Wild Geese to overcome in their hunt for the National League 3 title, but overcome it they did, finishing with a bonus point try in a 34-17 win, after a nervy start when they conceded a converted try after 8 minutes to go 0-7 down. They eased their way back into the game with penalty goals from Pete Hodgkinson, after 12 and 15 minutes respectively, reducing the deficit to a single point. They took the lead after 24 minutes with a try from Ben Kitching, and Hodgkinson added a penalty goal after 33 minutes, to give the Wild Geese a half-time lead by 14 points to 7.
[blockquote]Report by John S Hunter[/blockquote]
Their half-time deficit encouraged Shelford and they started the second period with real intent and had the large majority of possession for the first 10 minutes of the half. However, the Wild Geese defence was, as usual, up to standard, and kept them at bay. Once possession was regained by the Wild Geese, they moved play to the other end of the pitch and a penalty goal from Hodgkinson after 13 minutes ensued. Shelford responded with a penalty goal 2 minutes later but a try by George Owen after 23 minutes gave the Wild Geese a clear lead of 22-10. A pushover try from a scrum by Darren Livett after 30 minutes, converted by Hodgkinson, saw the Wild Geese almost home, but Shelford were not done yet and added a converted try of their own 5 minutes later, after our old enemy, i.e. the yellow card, had been shown. That left it to the Wild Geese to produce the barn-storming finish with the bonus point try from Livett coming in injury time, to make the final score 34-17.
The foundations for this win were laid by a sterling performance by the pack, who dominated scrum, lineout, ruck and maul, against a Shelford side who – to their credit – never gave up. If one is to be picky, then the back play involved too much lateral movement on the day; however, they compensated for that by their defence.
[blockquote]Images © Nick Moore 2016 and reproduced with permission[/blockquote]
This means that the Wild Geese kept their 6 league points differential over their nearest challengers – Tonbridge Juddians – who secured the same outcome vs. Guernsey. Before one starts looking forward to the TJs visit to Hazelwood in 2 weeks time, there is the not insignificant hurdle of the 4th placed team in the league – Hertford – to be faced away next week. Winning the league doesn’t come easy…
London Irish Wild Geese: Jerry Cronin, Matthew Cornish, Eddie Fraher; Michael Jones, Andy Evans; Brent Jones, Scott Moore (Capt.), Darren Livett; Tom Barker, Jordan Gott; George Owen, Seb Rodwell, Ben Kitching, Ollie Turner; Pete Hodgkinson. Replacements: Charlie Connor, Liam Martin, Tom Richards.