Tabard suffered a 26-18 home defeat to Old Haberdashers in their London Two North West opener on Saturday.

The hosts fell behind after just two minutes when they conceded a penalty for being offside at the ruck. But three points from Jack Reilly’s penalty levelled up the contest.

Old Habs were awarded a scrum which allowed them to drive over from close range for the opening try of the match. This moved the score to 8-3 midway through the half. Tabard closed the gap with another Reilly penalty two minutes before half-time but a lapse in concentration by the Tabard defence allowed the visitors in for a try in the corner. The successful conversion saw Tabard turn round 15-6 down.

The home side started the second half brightly enough, winning penalty after penalty, but couldn’t quite clear their lines.

Old Habs capitalised fully on their first bit of real possession of the half with a kick deep into Tabard’s 22.

The ball was not dealt with effectively and the visitors were gifted their third try of the afternoon. Another penalty extended Old Habs’ lead.

Tabard brought on John Tilley and Teddy Gough in the pack and their fresh legs added much needed momentum to their efforts.

Tilley in particular made some big dents in the defence and his offload to Leon Leonidas allowed him to cross for Tabard’s first try.

Reilly scored Tabard’s second try after a powerful run which had seen him held up in the corner.

The conversion moved the score on to 23-18 but a last-minute penalty conceded denied them a losing bonus point in their first match of the season.