MATCH REPORT | London Irish 'A' 10-24 Saracens Storm
Saracens Storm ground their way to a hard-fought 24-10 victory over London Irish ‘A’ at Hazelwood in their third friendly of the season so far.
The Men in Black scored four tries on a wet afternoon in Sunbury as Ben Harris, Tom Mills, Obinna Nkwocha and Ethan Lewis all crossed the line as well as four points from the boot of Manu Vunipola.
Storm wasted no time to stamp their authority on the match, and Ben Harris opened the scoring with just five minutes on the clock. The winger made a break just inside the Irish half, and had the pace to go all the way in impressive style. Manu Vunipola’s touchline conversion made it 7-0 in the early stages.
Tom Mills then scored the second try just as the first quarter drew to a close to extend the advantage. A five metre scrum gave the Men in Black the ideal platform, and Ruben de Haas’ brilliant looping pass found Mills in space on the wing who dived over in the corner.
Cameron Boon then came close to a third as his strong carry saw him hammer towards the line, but the Irish defence held him up and got themselves a goal-line drop out.
Irish were eyeing up a score in the final stages of the first half as they repeatedly entered the Sarries 22, but they were met by a solid defence who wouldn’t be beaten, and Storm went back in at half time with a 12-0 lead.
The second half continued in the same physical fashion that the first half had ended, with neither side giving an inch in defence with most of the game being played in the middle of the park.
Sam Wainwright gathered an offload and powered in to the Irish 22 which looked like it would create a scoring opportunity, but a knock on when the ball was recycled saw the chance missed.
Irish then again looked to get themselves on the scoreboard and this time it looked like they would with the ball right on the line, but Harvey Beaton had other ideas and got the turnover to the delight of the Sarries coaches.
The visitors were then rewarded for their defensive effort and got their third try just before the hour mark. Ollie Stonham broke down the wing after de Haas’ snipe, and he popped the ball up to Obinnna Nkwocha who had a clear run to the line from 10 metres out. Vunipola’s conversion pushed the advantage up to 19-0.
Irish did eventually get the try that they will feel their possession deserved with 15 minutes left, and it was Izzy Moore-Aiono who went over. A five metre lineout gave them the territory and the back-rower stormed over to get their first of the afternoon.
Just three minutes later they had another as their route back in to the match got even closer. The match was opening up and a Sarries pass went to ground on half way, which was swallowed up and found Kyle Rowe who had the pace to run clear. The conversion went wide, but all of a sudden the Saracens lead was down to nine points.
Ethan Lewis then put Sarries back in control with a smart ty in the 70th minute. A penalty was kicked to the corner, and a neat one-two at the front of the lineout allowed the Welshman to slide through by the corner flag. The conversion came back off the post, but the lead was back to a more comfortable 24-10.
The defence was called upon again in the final play as Irish looked for a late consolation, but it stayed solid as ever and confirmed a gritty victory at Hazelwood.