St John’s Leatherhead continued their excellent season with a 36-21 victory against a strong Haileybury side.
Haileybury also played their part in an outstanding game. The game started frantically and the visitors were in superb form putting St. John’s under pressure from the off.
However, it was the hosts who opened the scoring after exerting pressure on Haileybury’s set-piece. That first score coming form a driving maul after errors gave the home side territory. Haileybury didn’t panic and continued to play some great rugby and with an overlap outside looked as though they would score a try from distance but a fine defensive read and interception meant it was 14-0 rather than 7-7, a crucial point in the match.
Haileybury hit back with a fine effort from Kayode Ariyo, who was a fiercesome presence on the wing for Haileybury. Dawes converted from wide out.
St Johns exerted continual pressure at set piece time and got another penalty before Haileyubry’s man of the match, Ollie Heazel, scored a fine solo effort to get his side back in the game with Dawes again converting.
St Johns analysis was paying dividends and they were forcing errors at line-out time and this was giving them territory and keeping the dangerous Haileybury backs at bay.
St. Johns scored a superb team try from a scrum after a nice break by the outside half and his team flooded through and scored in some style. They added another to make it 31-14 at half time.
Haileybury are a strong team this year and fought back tremendously dominating the second half and making the hosts fight for the victory. The visitors had one spell where they were camped on the home line and got held up and tackled just short.
Haileybury were playing at a terrific pace and despite losing talismanic hooker Ed Harris kept battling away but to no avail. When the score eventually came it was star man Heazel who set up the dangerous Spencer Owen. Heazel took a pass one handed and burst through the defensive line and fed Owen who outpaced the cover for a superb score.
Haileybury kept going and the superb vice captain, Charlie Harrington made a 50m break but couldn’t find his support runners. Harry Collins did the same but his long pass didn’t go to hand.
Despite the valiant efforts of the men form Hertfordshire they couldn’t produce the telling score that would have put doubt in the home teams psyche and made for an even more exciting final few minutes.
St. Johns crossed again from a set piece to give the score a slightly flattering look but they deserved the win as a result of the pressure they exerted at the set piece and their dogged defence in the second half. The analysis they had done beforehand clearly paying dividends.
This was a top class game of schoolboy rugby which either side could have won.
Full Time: St John’s Leatherhead 36-21 Haileybury