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Henwood hails young Romford side

PUBLISHED: 15:00 10 September 2014

Romford & Gidea Park's Charlie Wilkinson goes on the attack at Luton (pic: DNR Glover)

Romford & Gidea Park's Charlie Wilkinson goes on the attack at Luton (pic: DNR Glover)

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Coach draws positives from opening-day efforts

Romford & Gidea Park head coach Grant Henwood praised his young side after they achieved a credible draw in their opening London One North fixture of the season.

Park travelled to last season’s fourth-placed team Luton on Saturday expecting a tough test, but managed to come away with a 24-24 draw to achieve their first point of the new campaign.

Henwood’s team led 24-16 with around 15 minutes to go, but the coach wasn’t too disheartened at missing out on victory and instead praised their efforts.

“I don’t know if I would have taken a draw before because you play rugby to win, but at the end of the game we would have taken a draw,” said Henwood.

“They had a couple of penalties late on and the nerves were present for the coaches and the players, they definitely played a part.

“We were 24-16 up with 15 minutes to go, but some unlucky calls against us during the game have cost us and we’ve drawn.

“Still, the boys stepped up and played with their heart and soul. They played an 80-minute performance.”

Although Park made the worst possible start, conceding a try inside the opening exchanges, they bounced back brilliantly.

Matthew Catchpole went over for their first try of the season before Ben Lawrence charged over and added the conversion.

Park led 17-16 at half-time and extended that when Darren Cooper scored a third try for the visitors, with Lawrence adding the extras.

However, Luton responded late in the game and Henwood felt some inexperience played a part, but acknowledged the quality of the opposition.

He added: “It was probably a little bit of inexperience perhaps that meant we couldn’t close the game out.

“We scored three tries which was pleasing and we could have possibly had a fourth and that would have been a bonus point, so that is encouraging.

“Luton were fourth in the table last year. They put in a strong performance and they will be a dangerous side again.

“We have a young side, I think the oldest guy we have is 26 so they are learning, but I was really impressed.”

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