Haringey Rhinos went into Saturday’s game against Bank of England just one place above the relegation zone and without a win in 2012. However, with returning players in several key positions, including Dom Gains at open side flanker and no nonsense centre Carl Brown, the Rhinos were confident.
From kick off it was clear that this confidence was well placed. Within minutes from kick off the home team were rampant. Hard running lines from Club captain Cameron Howson around the fringes of the rucks and some excellent darts skipper Andy Swainson, the Rhinos soon pushed Bank into the corners. Following a series of penalties, Haringey kicked the ball to the corner and opted for a driving line out. With a clean take from lock Felix Jakens the maul pressed the line. After the drive came to a halt, Howson was able to break a would be tackle and dot down near the right hand upright. Ben Jackson was able to add the extras.
Following the kick off, the Rhinos were able to launch a sweeping attack downfield, with Gains again involved, linking excellently with full back Shaun Huiskamp. The move broke down in the Bank 22 after an infringement at the ruck. Haringey opted for a shot at goal and Jackson was successful with his attempt.
With only ten minutes played, the Rhinos were 10-0 up.
However, as has been the case too often this season, this pressure soon turned to over exuberance by the home team and they soon found themselves conceding frequent penalties and the visitors were able to establish a foothold in the Haringey half. After one incident of an early jump at a Bank lineout, the visitors used their free kick to hang a high kick into the Haringey 22. Under real pressure from the kick chasers Huiskamp spilled the ball which was pounced on by a chasing player. The Bank kicker added the extras and the game got underway again.
Once again, repeated infringements by the home team gave Bank a penalty on the Rhinos 10 meter line. The solid Bank kicker slotted the penalty to draw the game level.
However, with just minutes left to play, Haringey were able to force a turn over from the re-start. Swainson, flanker Rob Wood and prop forward Tom Burrows drove the team down field. Dom Gains ran an excellent line and smashed through a tackle, opening the field. He was able to offload to fly half Tom Love who stepped an oncoming defender and fed Carl Brown. From the edge of the 22 Brown ran a swift arc and was able to glide through the Bank defence to score under the posts. Jackson again converted as the half time whistle went.
Half time: Haringey 17-10 Bank
Playing up the hill and into the wind now, the Rhinos were unable to exert the kind of dominance they had shown in the first half. Bank also struggled to impose themselves and the game was fairly evenly matched, with neither side looking particularly threatening.
The first score of the second period wasn’t to come until the 65th minute. With Bank camped just outside the Rhino’s 22, a Haringey player was caught in an offside position. The resulting penalty was easily converted taking the visitors within four points.
However, despite some intense late pressure on the Haringey line through both scrums and driving line outs, the home side were able to see of Bank for the win. Ben Jackson, for his kicking and tactical play was named man of the match.
Full time: Haringey 17-13 Bank
Haringey produced some of their finest rugby of the season and were able to close the game out with confidence. Next week they travel to fellow strugglers West London needing to continue their winning ways.
1. Daniel Thompson
2. Nick Wood
3. Tom Burrows
4. Felix Jakens
5. Rob Handley
6. Rob Wood
7. Dom Gains
8. Cameron Howson
9. Andy Swainson (capt)
10. Tom Love
11. Tom Armer
12. Carl Brown
13. Gareth Jones
14. Ben Jackson
15. Shaun Huiskamp
16. Vusi Mdluli
17. Andy Stear
18. John McDevitt