Ruislip routed as Luton Rugby stay in the hunt
London One North: Ruislip 0 (0) Luton 39 (10)
A determined Luton performance at Ruislip on Saturday saw them nil their hosts as they scored a 39-0 victory to stay third in London One North, writes Ryan Lewis.
In a match that was played in wet and windy conditions, Luton earned victory through some resilient defence and hard work all over the pitch.
Playing with the wind and downhill in the first half, Ruislip were on top for the first 30 minutes.
The hosts pinned Luton inside their own 22 for the majority of that period, with phase-after-phase stopped in its tracks by Luton’s defence.
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Great defensive work and discipline from the whole team ensured Luton didn’t give away any penalties as Ruislip were unable to convert their pressure into points.
Ruislip’s frustration at their inability to break down Luton’s defence slowly began to grow as Luton broke the deadlock on 29 minutes.
With Luton’s first meaningful venture into the Ruislip 22, good running from the forwards forced the visitors on to Ruislip’s tryline.
And Luton were clinical in converting their pressure into points as Michael Weston, who scored two tries in the win over Bedford Athletic last week, scurried over from close range to the right of the posts.
In terrible conditions for kicking, Rik Hobbs was unable to convert as Luton led 5-0.
The visitors doubled their lead six minutes before the break when a great kick by Rik Hobbs forced Ruislip into a lineout five metres from their own line.
Pat Nelly then won stole the set-piece for Luton and the ball was moved through the backs’ hands as Dave Brennan side-stepped Ruislip’s Ian Clancy to score in the left corner.
So, despite a first half dominated by Ruislip, Luton’s superb tackling, discipline and work-rate meant they led 10-0 at the break.
With the elements on their side, Luton extended their lead just two minutes into the second half.
They won a scrum 40m out and Tom Mahendran, playing at full-back, exploited a gap in the Ruislip defence as he sprinted away.
Ruislip’s scrambling defence prevented him from scoring, but winger Doug Fluker was on his shoulder to score in the left corner.
Luton’s all important fourth and bonus point try then arrived on 50 minutes.
Outside centre Jake Hobbs received the ball from brother Rik inside the 22 and he shrugged off the home side’s defence to power over as he stretched out to ground the ball.
Now trailing 20-0, Ruislip looked beaten as, straight from the kick-off substitute Connor Sibley returned the ball at pace.
Forcing himself forward and attracting defenders to him, Sibley off-loaded to Weston who showed his pace to get inside Ruislip’s half before off-loading to replacement Marc Tindall.
In space, Tindall showed his power as he ran straight at the Ruislip backline and, having sucked in the defence, he found Jake Hobbs out wide to round off a great team move and score his second try in as many minutes, as Rik Hobbs converted from under the posts.
Luton registered their sixth try through substitute Brandon Lewsey after 62 minutes when he was on hand to cross the whitewash after another powerful run from Jake Hobbs through the tiring Ruislip defence had created an overlap on the left wing.
And the visitors completed the scoring on 66 minutes when a Ruislip attack in the Luton half was intercepted by Doug Fluker, who ran the length of the pitch, only to be stopped just short of the line by a great tackle from Ruislip full back Tom Woodstock.
However, Luton won the resulting ruck as Mahendran scored under the posts and Rik Hobbs converted to seal the 39-0 victory.
Luton now welcome Woodford to Newlands Road on Saturday in London One North.
Ruislip: Tom Woodstock, Danny Rowe, Ian Clancy (Mark Coleman 40), Matt Young, Robert Jones, Tim O’Leary, Ian Bevis-Knowles (Samba Malawakula 28), Sam Fieldhouse, Steve Pearham (C), Daniel Barry, Jordan Halnsworth, Mark Porter (Scott Brown 52), Ian Broderick, Samuel Zimba, Paul Reed.
Luton: Sam Pacey, Ben Murphy, Jack Elborn (Marc Tindall 51), Karl Rodell (Connor Sibley 51), Pat Nelly (C), Adam Harris, Michael Weston, Tom Albone, Robbie Smith, Rik Hobbs, Chris Davies, Dave Brennan, Jake Hobbs, Doug Fluker (Brandon Lewsey 48), Tom Mahendran. T: Weston, Brennan, Fluker, Jake Hobbs 2, Lewsey, Mahendran. C: R Hobbs 2.
Referee: Kalvin Withers.
Star Luton Man: Pat Nelly. This match was won by the pack and the captain led by example with some great work in defence and in the set-piece.