Former Saracens academy prop Najee Mundicha makes his mark as Bishop's Stortford Rugby Club beat Old Albanian in pre-season friendly
Bishop's Stortford ran in six tries and kept a clean sheet as they kicked off pre-season with a 38-0 victory over Old Albanian at Silver Leys.
Director of rugby Andy Long fielded a different starting XV in each half - the visitors did the same, even changing their kit at the interval - and they scored 19 unanswered points in each period.
Stortford are now preparing for a trip to Greene King IPA Championship side Ealing Trailfinders this Saturday.
"It was really pleasing," said Long. "It was good to get our first run out and the boys were really keen to play having been training since June.
"We got out of it what we needed to. We were tested for periods of the game and OAs certainly put us under pressure for periods of the game.
"It was pleasing not to concede any points and we scored some nice tries.
"We had 32 players getting game time and there were probably another 15 players who either weren't involved or were injured, so you're talking about a squad of around 50.
"We've got Ealing this weekend, which will be our toughest test of pre-season, followed by Hertford [on Thursday, August 29], so everyone will have had enough game time."
Stortford went from their own try line to OAs' try line as full-back and summer England Counties representative Nick Hankin made a fantastic outside break and fed Mike Ayrton – making his debut on the wing alongside brother James at centre, both of whom signed from Cambridge – who showed his pace to go under the posts and open the scoring. Ex-Brentwood fly-half Brad Burr kicked the conversion.
Stortford doubled their lead as Hankin himself scored the second try, chasing Sam Coleman's box kick following turnover from Australian Dan Elsom and cruising past the OAs defenders to touch down. Burr again landed the extras.
Before half time, Tom Lewis carried up the middle, taking three OAs players with him. Another chip and chase was gathered by James Ayrton, who had some smart interplay with Winter who then crossed.
Early in the second period, new recruit Najee Mundicha came on as a replacement and quickly made his mark with Stortford's fourth try as he powered his way over the line.
The 6ft 5in prop, who weighs in at 120kg, has arrived from Hertford having missed all of last season through injury. The 22-year-old was formerly in the Saracens academy.
"He's obviously a big guy and he's working very hard at his game," said Long.
"He knows he's got to get fit and keep working hard because National League 1 is a very different environment. We're looking forward to having him involved."
The fifth try came following some more strong carrying in heavy traffic, with James Apperley dragging some tired OAs bodies over the line. Tom Banks kicked the conversion.
The icing on the cake was applied by winger Joss Linney as he left the covering defenders in his wake to dot down before Sam Cappaert added the extras.
Stortford starting XVs: First half - Will Roberts, Harrison King, Seb Brownhill, Tom Lewis, James Apperley, Luis Ball, Dan Elsom, Charlie Kingham, Sam Coleman, Brad Burr, Mike Ayrton, James Ayrton, Sam Winter, Rob Duff, Nick Hankin; Second half - JP Nel, Dec Caulfield, Ben Harrison Price, Jon George, Will Palambo, Euan Tremlett, Ollie Jones, Baxter Wilson, Tom Banks, Austin Pope, Sam Brown, Sam Cappaert, George Keen, Joss Linney, Tom Walker.
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More by this authorMichael Vaughton