One small step with Finchley win but day provides Datchworth with giant leap towards promotion

PUBLISHED: 13:48 14 March 2019 | UPDATED: 13:48 14 March 2019

Alex Nolan scored twice for Datchworth at home to Finchley. Picture: DANNY LOO

Alex Nolan scored twice for Datchworth at home to Finchley. Picture: DANNY LOO

©2019 Archant

If victory over Stevenage Town seven days earlier had inched Datchworth closer to promotion from London Three North West then the events of Saturday provided the village side with a giant stride forward.

Their own victory, a 28-0 success at home to Finchley, was fairly routine even if the strugglers did make the Men in Green work incredibly hard for the bonus-point win.

But the news that would have reached them back in the dressing room would have sent spirits soaring as main rivals Old Streetonians suffered a shock reverse at Harrow.

That has dragged Stevenage back into the reckoning as their win away to Kilburn Cosmos has pulled them level on points with the Londoners.

It all means that Datchworth are now nine points clear of the chasing pair with just three games remaining. and they have won three more games than the duo as well, a vital consideration if two teams end level on points.

This victory saw Datch start minus James Young, James Watt and Tom Bennett, vital and regular components of their back line.

But playing with a strong wind behind them for the first half, the hosts took an early lead as scrum-half Ed Cockburn went over after picking up from the back of a scrum.

Alex Nolan grabbed the second, bursting through midfield from close range and John Simons got the third from a pushover scrum.

The bonus point was registered before the 30-minute mark with Nolan taking an inside ball from full back Nick Moore and going over for his second try.

Sam Brunton held his nerve and slotted all four conversions from various positions for a 28-point margin.

With the wind dying down Finchley weren’t offered the same assistance in the second half and the home side continued to search for more points.

The momentum lasted until the hour mark when fly-half Tom Wood left the field through illness.

And after that Datchworth were happy to take what they had and closed the game out without too much fuss.

The leagues shut down for a week before returning for the final sequence of games, which starts with a trip to Old Merchant Taylors’ on March 23.

That is followed by their final home game against Verulamians a week later before rounding out the season away to champions-elect London Welsh.

They will hope to have promotion all wrapped up by then.

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