London Nigerian were desperate to turn their form around as they welcomed Harrow to Heston on Saturday.
The game started brilliantly for the home side, a lineout on halfway was gathered by the forwards and the maul rumbled up close to the opposition 22. As it went to ground the ball was spun to fly half Chris Morgan, he took the ball flat and at pace, breaking the blitz defence, drawing the fullback to put centre Nathan Alliston in under the post. Morgan then converted. 7-0.
A characteristic of LNRFC’s season has been the inability to maintain pressure for long periods. They immediately let Harrow gain territory with needless penalties and eventually the visitors were in a good enough position to narrow the lead to four. 7-3.
LNRFC responded well. They used their superiority in the line out and maul to make ground. Harrow were penalised and the penalty was converted by Morgan for 10-3. Unfortunately London Nigerian conceded multiple penalties to give away territories at the end of the half and Harrow narrowed the lead once more, 10-6.
The second half began and was scrappy to begin with. Both sides trying to maintain possession and territory. LNRFC began to have more of the ball and were using forward runners effectively to gain ground. Chris Morgan was heavily involved and eventually showed pace and a neat dummy to dive over. 15-6.
Nigerian were keen to gain an advantage however needless penalties after the restart saw Harrow retain possession. The scrum was struggling so the visitors piled on the pressure with their set piece. To make matters worse Alliston was then sin binned for not releasing. Harrow used their man advantage effectively with another scrum setting the foundation for their number 8 to crash over. 15-11.
Knowing that they needed to hold on to the ball whilst down to 14 men, LNRFC kept the ball in the forwards. Drives round the fringes of rucks and pods of runners were effective with Sean Baker and Jon Hardisty making particularly strong carries. Once Alliston returned Nigerian won a penalty in front of the Harrow posts for Morgan to slot over. 18-11.
Harrow were determined to gain at least a draw from the game and LNRFC had to defend doggedly in the final few minutes. They didn’t help themselves when the home scrum half, thinking the game was over, kicked the ball out 5 metres from his own line with minutes to play. Thankfully the defence was strong and the game ened 18-11.
Man of the match was Chris Morgan for controlling the game from fly half, finishing with 13 points and setting up the other try. London Nigerian finish 2016 on Saturday with a trip to Hammersmith & Fulham. Please come show your support.