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Home > News > London Nigerian 25 - Ruislip 26
Your News London Nigerian 25 - Ruislip 26

It was thrilling, mesmeric ... spell-binding even. London Nigerians three year sojourn in London Division 2 was ended in this humdinger of a match against the leagues form side, Ruislip.

The visitors struck first, stretching the Nigerian defence for a score in the right corner followed by a superb touchline conversion for a 0 7 lead. They missed the chance to stretch the lead as a straightforward kick at goal was pushed wide. Nigerian came back strong and Richard Small soon had a chance at goal but his penalty kick also drifted wide. It was left to the Flying Doctor Chichi Obuaya, in Nigerian colours for the first time since December, to open the scoring for his side and in some style too. Obuaya showed no ring-rustiness and no lack of soccer skills as he kept an attempted Ruislip clearance in field with his shin before picking it up and embarking on an electric run from half way. Slaloming from left to right, he sidestepped past at least four would-be tacklers before arcing round Ruislips right wing and scoring in the corner with his trademark swan-dive. Small missed with the conversion but the game was finely balanced at 5 7 inside the first quarter.

Given a huge psychological lift, the Nigerian pack upped the tempo significantly, putting in possibly their best technical display of the whole season as they bossed the visiting forwards all over the Linford Christie pitch. This was most evident in the line-outs with Phil Taylor like accuracy from Steve Hanlon and imperious jumping by big Chima Ijeoma. Considering the shambles of recent weeks, it was a remarkable turnaround that saw the hosts claim a number of Ruislips throws and lose just the one of their own throws all afternoon. Nigerian were able to turn this dominance into points first via a Small penalty to gain an 8 7 lead and later by an Osondu Anodu try to open up a gap at 17 - 7.

Early in the second half, Nigerian had their guests under pressure leading to a charged down clearance by Ibi Shelleng who followed up for a simple score to give his side a seemingly unassailable fifteen point advantage at 22 - 7 with 25 minutes to play. Unfortunately, the Nigerian effort did start to tail off at this stage and Ruislip showed the kind of determination that had done for Staines a fortnight earlier.

A second try came for the visitors in very similar fashion to the first, moving their hosts defence around until an opening came out wide. Conversion missed and Nigerian still had a healthy 10 point lead with the scores at 22 12. This roused the Nigerian forwards back into action and they had Ruislip on the back foot once again. Small was unsuccessful with a penalty shot at goal and within minutes the visitors struck again with a converted try to narrow the lead to just three points inside the last 10 minutes of the game. Small was successful with his next penalty stretching the lead to a more comfortable 6 points. A few minutes later, the big fly half attempted a drop goal that would have put the game beyond the visitors only to watch it bounce agonisingly off the cross bar.

Ruislip probed and attacked. Their forwards tried to drive over the try line from a line-out. Nigerian resisted several attempts until the visitors moved the ball wide. Nigerian seemed to have all avenues covered but their visitors number 13 had other ideas as, reminiscent of Obuayas score, he evaded the clutches of several defenders to touch down a mere few yards to the left of the posts to bring the scores to within one point at 25 24. His fly half calmly slotted the conversion on the final whistle to snatch victory from their shell-shocked hosts. 25 26. And with Welwyn winning against Bury St. Edmunds, any chances of avoiding relegation blew away in the wet April wind.

One final hurrah at Tabard next week and then a summer of wound-licking & regrouping to plan an assault on London 3 Northwest. Presumably, the aim must be to bounce straight back but that is a story for another year.

Man of the Match: Chichis irrepressible form ball in hand, scoring the try that invigorated his team is a strong candidate. Steves leadership and throwing in at the line-out was critical to the big improvement in Nigerians forward play. Chima was immense in attack and defence as has been his habit all season long. Remi Williams was extremely sharp at No. 9 facilitating the high-tempo game that Nigerian played. There were other big performers including Small & Anthony Obiekwe but one man stood out in this rearguard action. Playing through the pain barrier and on one and a half legs, loosehead prop, Ossie Omokhodion refused to take a step back all afternoon and seemed ready to go to hell and back to keep his side away from the drop. Big Up the CEO!

Report by IK Iroche

Next week: Last game of the season - Tabard away.

1. Osahon Omokhodion

2. Steve Hanlon

3. Osondu Anodu

4. Anthony Obiekwe

5. Chima Ijeoma

6. Ritchie Ross-Forrester

7. Maynard Ahukanna

8. Jemi Akin-Olugbade

9. Remi Williams

10. Richard Small

11. Chichi Obuaya

12. Ali Shelleng

13. Wole Olufunwa (C)

14. Ibi Shelleng

15. Ugo Ekeowa

16. Hisham El-Marazki

17. Tunde Adeniji

18. IK Iroche

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