Enfield Ignatians 23, Lowestoft & Yarmouth 6
PUBLISHED: 12:01 11 January 2012
L&Y travelled into the outskirts of London for their first game of the new year and came up against an in-form Enfield side brimming with the confidence their second place in the league warrants. Despite a rousing performance for 60 minutes when they led by a single point, the game turned away from L&Y not for the first time this season when a clear try was disallowed, they lost concentration and their captain Marc Thomas to the sinbin within seconds, and with him the game.
The visitors started well from their Xmas break, with some good pressure defence and the upper hand in the scrums. A collapsed scrum gave Russ Chapman a chance of a long distance penalty but he pulled it wide, and shortly afterwards a surging break by the Enfield No8 earned them their first territory in the L&Y 22. After several phases and a couple of scrums, the L&Y defence remained stout, but eventually the Enfield fly half doubled back to the blind side of a breakdown and squeezed his powerful winger Tan Mbono into the corner for a five point lead. L&Y hit back straight away with the midfield of Scott Nelson, Dave Tiueti and Steve Adams all making ground and good support forcing a breakdown offence which Chapman converted. Within minutes, Chapman doubled his tally with a 40m penalty for a similar offence and L&Y were a point ahead. The remainder of the half was even, with Enfield using their rolling maul to good effect, but L&Y’s hassling defence proving disruptive and the long boots of Nelson and Tiueti making use of the wind and pinning the hosts back. Up front, Thomas and young locks Ryan Oakes and Dan Proctor were comfortable in the lineout and Proctor was having his best game to date around the park.
The second period began with L&Y withholding an Enfield attack then making ground up to the home 22 via Nelson’s accurate line-kicking. The L&Y forwards rumbled infield towards the posts where they forced a blatant infringement and the Enfield flanker was sent to the sideline. Instead of the kick, Thomas opted for the scrum and despite looking a little rushed his forwards battled to the line and Proctor arrowed his way over by the posts. However the referee was unsighted and disallowed the score, L&Y went back for another scrum and this time a lack of concentration allowed a determined Enfield seven-man scrum to shove them clean off their own ball and the scrum half cleared superbly way into the L&Y half. They promptly forced a penalty in the next play and the fullback took the ahead by two points. From the restart, an outside break from Mbono was stopped by James Gee and Dan Boardley but Thomas was caught off his feet and sent to the bin. Enfield went for the jugular and from the next lineout their prop managed to dive through for their second try. For the next ten minutes it was a reversal of fortunes with Enfield back to 15 and L&Y down a man and struggling to contain the flow. Despite this, L&Y managed to get to the Enfiled line and were putting pressure in the right hand corner, keeping them pinned back. From a 5m defensive scrum the flyhalf put a long high kick down the touchline, which debutant Wayne Beer fielded well, but collected a flying tackler at the same time. He was turned over and the Enfield 9 sent another kick long into the L&Y deadball area and the No8 just beat Adams to the touchdown thanks to wickedly unlucky bounce. With the game lost, L&Y rung the changes, bringing on Richard Bristo, Aaron Trindall and Donald McArthur, and again they seemed to be equally likely to score next, however in the rush to force the next score, and loose pass from Chapman bounced beyond Nelson and Enfield scooped it up and finished off the match with a fourth unconverted score in the corner. In the end, the difference in the sides was a slight lack of composure and confidence, but L&Y know they are just starting a journey at this level and have plenty of room for improvement.