LONDON TWO NORTH: Ruislip 5 Staines 18
The derby clash with Staines brought the best out of Ruislip as they produced their finest display of the season although it was not enough to earn the Maroons their third league win.
Dreadful conditions greeted the play-ers and Ruislip were expecting, and got, a huge battle from a Staines team that just missed out on promotion last season and is riding high again this term.
Ruislip were smarting from a poor performance the previous week against fellow strugglers Letchworth and from the off it was a far more committed side as they tore into the visitors, but Staines had just enough in their locker to withstand the onslaught.
Rugby manager Neil Edwards said: "You couldn't doubt the desire today - we tackled and rucked ferociously and with a bit of luck and bit more from the referee we could have sneaked another famous win.
"Fair play to Staines though they came to do a job and were very focussed and will certainly be in the mix at the end of the season.
"We have a key three weeks now with must win games against Eton Manor, Welwyn and Finchley in the cup.
"The team is starting to take shape after a horrendous run of injuries and we are now starting to get competition for places as the Twos had easily their strongest side of the season out on Saturday."
Ruislip were undoubtedlykeyed up but the referee seemed to mistake this ferocity for illegal play and awarded a string of penalties to the visitors, allowing them to quickly build a 6-0 lead.
The Maroons hit back stronglyand after a series of phases debutant scrum half Soran Chirita timed his pass perfectly to put Jamie Wilson in at the corner.
Despite the driving rain both sides attempted to play passing rugby and the Staines efforts were rewarded with a good try for winger Andy Turner, which was equally well converted.
Faced with a 13-5 deficit at half-time the hosts hoped to take advantage of the slope after the break but it was Staines, learning from their mistakes in last season's corresponding fixture, who kicked well tactically and pinned the Ruislip side back.
Full back Joe Baker coped admirably with the onslaught and the Ruislip forwards, with Dan O'Leary prominent, continued to win good ball.
However, imprecise play meant a couple of opportunities were missed and as the clock ran down an attempted counter attack went awry and the Staines winger, from an offside position, kicked ahead and won the chase to score the clinching try in the corner.
Captain Adam Cristol added: "I was pleased with the commitment of the team - we had a fair amount of soul searching last week after our abject performance against Letchworth and the boys certainly got stuck in today."
Ruislip entertain Eton Manor at West End Road on Saturday at 2.30pm. [25a0] The second team produced easily their best performance to date as they saw off Rosslyn Park III 18-5 with tries from James Hedger (2) and fellow winger Luke Batty,who scored from a great pass by lock Dave West.
Coach Ron Matthews said: "I was delighted with the performance in dreadful conditions. Our squad strength should now mean we start making progress up the table."
* Ruislip Threes retained second spot in their Herts Middlesex Merit table with a hard-fought 22-15 win against a competitive Hendon II side.
* Two undefeated sides met at Westcombe Park in Kent and it was Ruislip U14s that emerged with their record intact as they extended their winning run to eight games with a 53-0 victory.
From the first whistle Rhys Verley and Ian Rowe showed Ruislip's intent with thumping tackles and it was defence that was the prime feature of the opening 20 minutes as neither side could find a way through until Verley slipped two tackles to score under the posts, Jack Knights adding the conversion before being substituted following a blow to the head.
Scrum half Tom Nolan added an immediate second, his maiden try for Ruislip, with stand-in fly half Joe Thwaite taking Ruislip into the break 14-0 up and in the second half the young Maroons did not hold back as the forwards started to dominate possession and use the rolling maul to great effect.
Thwaite converted his own try, improving winger Elliott Byfield beat three defenders for a superb individual score and further tries from No 8 Ben Edwards, Verley,with two more and one conversion, Ian Rowe,Robert Baragwanath and prop Matt Pritchard, completed the final tally.