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Home > News > Harpenden 30 - London Nigerian 12
Your News Harpenden 30 - London Nigerian 12

A second defeat in succession - away at Harpenden - disabused London Nigerian of any notion that navigating the way through (and up out) of London 3 North West would be akin to a Sunday afternoon stroll through Regents Park. On this evidence, securing promotion will bear greater semblance to an SAS training hike through Snowdonia.

Like the previous week’s, this loss was particularly galling because for large tracts of the encounter, Nigerian looked the better side. The scoreboard alas, bears no sentiment just naked facts. In their opening loss, Nigerian conceded 16 penalties and lost a man to the sin bin for the last 7 minutes of the match. This time around they conceded 18 penalties against a side with an ace sniper for a Place Kicker. Hence, after coming away empty-handed from an opening 30 minutes in which they were the dominant team - spurning at least two clear try-scoring chances in the process – the visitors found themselves 6 – 0 behind on 35 minutes thanks to a couple of long range penalty goals. Head Coach Roger Coombs was stunned into silence within minutes as Harpenden scored a try from deep in their own half aided and abetted by apologetic Nigerian defending. Turning around 13 – 0 in deficit at half time after playing much of the better rugby is a clear sign that this Nigerian side still has a lot of gelling to do before the sparkling attacking play translates into swashbuckling victories.

In further echoes of the opening day loss, poor decision-making by the visiting side soon let the hosts in for another converted score to extend their lead over the shell-shocked Nigerian side to 20 – 0. It was then that Nigerian minds seemed to awaken to the size of the hole they had dug themselves, finally getting on to the scoreboard with a sweeping move finished off by a delightful dummy & swerve by Ian Morrison, opening his Nigerian account in style.

Credit to Harpenden, roared on by a sizeable home crowd, they upped the intensity of their defence to keep the now-rampaging Nigerian side at bay for extended periods before the visitors' ill-discipline relieved the pressure through the concession of further penalties. Minutes later, Nigerian lost possession in Harpenden’s half, the hosts kicked long, a 3 on 1 ambush on Ugo Ekeowa – the visitors’ lone man in defence – adding a third try to their tally. At 27 – 5, the game was up for the White City outfit.

The visitors did gain a consolation score as some frenetic attacking took them deep into the home team’s territory. Harpenden infringed at the breakdown and Jemi Akin-Olugbade’s quick tap, dummy and aggressive line carried him over the whitewash to lend the scoreline a smidgen of respectability at 27 – 12. The hosts, would not be denied the final word however, rubbing salt into Nigerian wounds with a penalty kick at goal on the final whistle. 30 – 12 and the task facing the vaunted men in green has grown significantly larger. Training should prove interesting this week.

Next week: At home vs Finchley

Report by IK Iroche

Steve Hanlon

Neal Fetterman

Osondu Anodu

Anthony Obiekwe

Ian Morrison

Babs Kehinde (r: Akin-Olugbade, 50mins)

Maynard Ahukanna

Rob Hartley

Mark Lam (r: Iroche, 55mins)

Ugo Ekeowa

Sima Pale

Ali Shelleng (C)

Leon Lam

Marvel Olowu (r: Omokhodion, 73mins)

Luke Davids

Osahon Omokhodion

Jemi Akin-Olugbade

IK Iroche

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