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  • Fulham and Hammersmith Rugby: Hammers 4s v Rosslyn Park – Match Report

    An early kick off meant that the troops rallied at 10am at Rosslyn Park’s 4G ground on a particularly arctic Saturday morning, which only worsened the agony for those with post—Office Christmas party sore heads and nagging beer fears. With the addition of a seemingly endless wait outside the locked changing rooms, spirits were already downed by the onset of hypothermia .. underhand tactics by our hosts? The jury is out… 

    After a much-needed warm-up the boys were suitably fired up, with Captain for the day Tom Parkinson winning the toss and opting to kick. With the ball lofted deep into enemy territory by Fly Half Matt Baddeley, battle was commenced. Unfortunately it didn’t take long for Rosslyn Park to find their stride, with their handy centre partnership capitalising on dusty heads in the Hammers’ line; they broke through, pushed wide and cut inside to score their first try under the sticks. With an easy start, the on-form Rosslyn Park kicker was able to make it an early 7 point lead. 

    Unfortunately this became a familiar tale for the Hammers in the first half. Rosslyn Park, were able to utilise a particularly heavy pack laden with strong runners in the backline to execute a well-drilled game plan with impressive accuracy and put several successive converted tries past the visitors. Even designated waterboy for the day, Hamish Barker, was out of breath. Just as heads were beginning to go down, the Hammers found themselves on the halfway line with ball in hand. After a few phases of effective carries from the forwards, a backs ball was called and the ball was slung out left by Will Desprez at 9. Moving down the line, the pill found itself in the hands of Chris Jager at 12 running a cutting hard line, which sliced through the seemingly impenetrable Rosslyn Park defences. The fullback was no match for Chris’s step, and like a rampant stag he skilfully danced his way over the line in the corner. With the kick narrowly missed the Hammers were on the board with 5 points in hand. 

    The Hammers’ defences seemed to harden at this point, and the rate at which Rosslyn Park were able break through for the rest of the half was scaled back. Unfortunately, in a tragic case of friendly fire, the Hammers had to clap off front row stalwart Mike Spurgeon after a bad head collision, and with no competent prop replacements, scrums went uncontested; we became 14.  

    With a hefty deficit at half time, heads were lifted by rousing speeches. The Rosslyn Park kicker had very much found his form at this point and the restart was gathered by the hosts. This gave Rosslyn Park strong momentum in the Hammers’ half and it wasn’t long before they were over the line again. Overall, the second half was more of a battle of attrition than the first, with the Hammers’ defences improving markedly as fitness came into play. A few bone crunching hits on the host’s supposedly “chippy” 9 by 12 Chris Jager stoked the competitive fire back into the Hammers and in the dying minutes the boys were able to crash the ball all the way up to host’s 5 metre line, with Hooker Tommy Hayes flying in on the blind side to plant the ball over the line. With the kick converted in the last play of the game, Hammers were able to come away with 12 points. 

    Unfortunately the well-oiled Rosslyn Park machine was able put up too big a tally early on, and under a heavy deficit the Hammers were under the cosh from the start. It was, however a valiant effort all round and the boys walked the tunnel with heads held high. A bad day at the office, but a hard-fought battle nonetheless.

    Man of the Match – Chris Jager for an aesthetic try and a solid defensive performance despite a 5:30am finish only hours before the fixture 

    Tin Man – Hamish Barker; unfairly awarded for a diligent effort running on the water and keeping the boys hydrated. Didn’t play due to severity of hangover (Category 5) and we all just wanted to see him down a pint…

  • Fulham and Hammersmith Rugby: Hammers 2s v London Cornish – Match Report

    On Saturday, the 2nd XV made the short trip across the river to our ‘second home’, Barn Elms to play local rivals London Cornish.

    The lads didn’t leave the sheds until the very last minute to ‘warm-up’, partly due to it being freezing cold and partly due to not having a ball or match shirts!

    Once the game kicked off, Cornish had the majority of possession, but the first 20 minutes of the game were a stale mate with the Hammers defense stepping up to stop the Cornish attack (largely down to an incentive from Johnson offering anyone who made the biggest hit a beer!). However, after some relentless pressure Cornish found a gap in the defensive line and went over.

    After the kick off, the story continued with Cornish making ground in the Hammers half until a great read of the play by Al Horner, who intercepted and ran the length of the field until being dragged down a few meters short. With some quick ball, Hammers manged to get the ball to Leon Joseph to score the first of his brace of the afternoon. This gave Hammers some momentum and soon found themselves in the Cornish half again and winning the penalty, leaving John McManus the easy job of slotting the three points.

    HT – Hammers 10 – Cornish 7

    Hammers carried the momentum through half time and came out on the attack. After stretching the Cornish defense across the pitch, some slick hands from the backs unleashed Leon Joseph to speed round their right wing and score after a great bit of attacking phase play by Hammers.

    With Hammers now accumulating points, Cornish were on the back foot and with some clever kicking, Cornish were being force to play from deep. So much so, after a good nudge to the corner the Cornish full back had a good Hammers line chase on him and he was force to kick. This didn’t go quite to plan as it landed perfectly into a well placed James Cramp (who was catching his breath) on the opposite wing. He marched the ball up as far as he could go until seeing the support line from Lawson who carried himself before, selflessly, making sure the covering deference didn’t get a chance to stop the try and offloaded to the screaming Johnson outside him who add another try to the Hammers tally.

    After the kick off, Cornish then stepped up and applied pressure to the Hammers line that eventually broke down once again after some sustained pressure.

    This didn’t stop Hammers however as they continued with some clever kicking that put Cornish’s left wing under some pressure who tried to showboat by keep the ball alive and slapping it back into play. Little did he realise that Al Horner was steaming up the wing and manged to gather the loose ball and score.

    FT Hammers 27 – Cornish 12

    Overall, an excellent team performance especially with the challenges faced before kick off. The defensive desire was outstanding and the attack was clinical with the opportunities received in the second half. Notable performances on the day included Tim Murray who had a massive tackling and carrying day, also fellow Ozzy Taylor Williams defended strongly and kicked well releasing pressure at crucial points in the game. Wingers Horner and Joseph were busy all afternoon and their tries were well deserved. Debut players George Eddell, Lewis Stenson and Ed Brown all slotted in seamlessly but the main mention most go to the man of the match Simon Khalil who was dominant in the frontrow at scrum time and his wrecking ball carries got the team on the front foot time and time again.

    One final mention most go to JP who had to deal with our logistical nightmare head on and still performed well on the field.

    1. JP
    2. Tim Williams
    3. Simon Kalil
    4. James Cramp
    5. Tom Broadway
    6. Tim Lawson
    7. Tim Murray
    8. Mark Johnson
    9. Gary Leith (c)
    10. John McManus
    11. Leon Jospeh
    12. George Eddell
    13. Taylor Williams
    14. Al Horner
    15. Lewis Stenson

    16. Gael Eyenga
    17. Ed Brown

  • Fulham and Hammersmith Rugby: Six Nations 2018 – Ticket Application

    H&FRFC Ticket Application Form – Six Nations 2018

    Ticket applications for the Six Nations 2018 are now open and can be submitted by completing the form above.

    The deadline is 30th December and please note only fully paid up club members are eligible to apply.

  • Fulham and Hammersmith Rugby: Hammers 3s v Hampstead – Match Report

    A bitterly cold but beautifully sunny winter’s day was the setting for the 40th Anniversary of Hammersmith & Fulham Rugby club which in return promised to serve up two epic home performances from the 1s and 3s.
    First up was the 3s who faced Hampstead 2nd XV, currently 2 places above in the league. With Hammers skirting near the bottom few places, a win was crucial to relieve some pressure and start building momentum towards the second half of the season. With a 1pm scheduled start the excitement had to be momentarily contained while the two sides waited on the referee to arrive.

    Kick off was taken and Hampstead got off to a perfect start with two early tries, going 10-0 up through some strong attacking and expansive rugby. This would be the theme throughout the match with the team in possession making significant yards each time. Next to strike were Hammers through a pick and go from Magnus Barber off the back of a ruck followed by a series of almighty fends before crossing the try line. Steve Harris converted to keep Hammers within touching distance

    Hampstead returned the favour to go 15-7 up before Hammersmith pressure from a line out penalty and good structured play fed one of many strong runs from Ultan to bring Hammers back within 1 point.
    Further points from Hampstead threatened to give them a 6-point lead going into half-time before captain Steve Harris once again produced magic from his boot to kick a 35 metre drop goal into the wind which resulted in Hammers trailing by 20-17 in time for the oranges.

    A controversial try by Hampstead early in the second half was followed by good structured play once again from Hammers, leading to a line break and the resulting try from Cillian Waldron.

    With 20 minutes to go Hampstead now had a 13-point lead and much resolve and determination was going to be needed from the Hammers side in the last quarter. They didn’t disappoint and a snipe from the number 10 Chris Eldridge lead him over the line and once again was duly converted by Steve to make it one score.
    A controlled and patient display from the forwards in the closing minutes with a series of pick and goes broke down a tired Hampstead defence and once the ball was picked up by front row Justin Perry there was no stopping him over the line.

    One point in it and it fell to Captain Steve Harris to kick a high pressure and less than straightforward conversion for the win. With no doubt in his mind Steve slotted the kick between the posts concluding a faultless kicking game from the skipper at 15 and a strongly deserved man of the match.
    Tin man went to Tom Broadway for touching the ball down on his try line with the Referee awarding a try to the opposition.

    Final Score: Hammersmith & Fulham 38 – Hampstead 37

    Tries: Magnus, Ultan, Waldron, Eldridge, JP
    Conversion: Harris x5
    Drop Goal: Harris

  • Fulham and Hammersmith Rugby: Hammers 4s v Old Streetonians – Match Report

    Hammersmith and Fulham 4th XV v Old Streetonians 2nd XV
    Saturday 11 November 2018
    27-14

    A grey and wet Hurlingham Park greeted the Hammers 4th XV as they arrived ready for a crucial game against Old Streetonians, who were sitting one place above in the league table.

    With the warm up done and a well observed minute silence for Remembrance Day completed, Matt Baddeley got the game under way with Hammers looking to apply some early pressure in the Old Streets half. Some very strong carrying up front was creating space around the field and Hammers were going through the phases well to continue moving forwards and into the Old Streets 22. When Matt Perry then spotted some space in behind the Old Streets defence, a well weighted box kick down the line allowed Kris Connor to race down the wing, gather and touch down giving Hammers the score their start had deserved. The conversion was missed, although touching down under the posts under no pressure would have been appreciated!

    The Hammers forwards were enjoying a great start and this translated into the scrum were they were clearly the dominant pack. The front row of Jan Vermuton, Abe Knight and Mike Spurgeon nearly got what they deserved by pushing Old Street over but a knock-on frustratingly saw the opportunity disappear.

    A turnover then led to a long kick down field, and Hammers, thinking the ball had bounced out, stopped playing. However the referee had not blown his whistle (and Hammers sub Chris Dale refused to flag!) and so the Old Streets winger raced up the wing, gathered and scored to give Old Streets a try completely against the run of play. A lesson in playing to the whistle all round!

    This brought Old Street back into the game, and with some good direction from their scrum half it was their turn to play the rugby in the Hammers half. Some strong defence prevented them from scoring initially, but with the pressure mounting and getting out of their half proving tough for Hammers, the score eventually came which would see Old Street go into half time 12-5 to the good.

    Some strong words from Will Parker and ‘Matt Kelly, mark 2’, Adam Nixon, ensured Hammers came out fired up for the second half, and Tim Le Breton immediately scythed through the defence to bring play into the Old Street half. Having eventually been turned over and a  clearing kick taking play to just outside the 22, Hammers had a lineout and the chance to inflict some early damage to the scoreboard. What followed can only be described as ‘forwards porn’.  A driving maul from outside the 22 all the way over the line, with skipper Parker gleefully touching down at the back! Le Breton successfully converted and Hammers were back to 12-12.

    Hammers once again started going through the phases well and Jack Petchey and Will Symington were starting to come to the fore with some strong midfield carries. This created some space out wide and with some intricate hands, Kris Connor was over in the corner for his second try of the game.

    With the momentum firmly in their favour, Hammers were determined to make it count and yet more strong work up front, coupled with some excellent hands saw Ruaridh Young, who had been carrying well all game, run a great support line to go over and put Hammers into a 22-14 lead.

    A brilliant, long defensive set from Hammers in the middle of the pitch led to another turnover, and from the resulting scrum the ball was spread wide through the hands of Le Breton and Baddeley to Victor Alabrune, who had to gather well! Alabrune skinned a few men down the outside before cutting inside and feeding Young who crashed over for his second try.

    That finished things off and saw Hammers get a well deserved victory, as well as the try bonus point.

    Final score – 27-14.

    Man of the match – Ruaridh Young. 2 tries and brilliant support running.
    Tin Man – Chris Dale. For his honesty in not flagging the ball as out to allow the Old Streets first try! An honorable mention to JP for forgetting that a number 8 can pick up and touch down when over the try line!

  • Fulham and Hammersmith Rugby: Hammers 4s v HAC – Match Report

    HAC II 38 – 14 Hammers 4s

    Hammers 4s travelled to the heart of the City of London to play HAC at the fabled Finsbury Barracks Ground – one of, if not the most valuable pieces of land used for playing rugby in the world. The setting in amongst the skyscrapers and trappings of military heritage seemed to have a positive effect on the squad who gathered for an energetic warm up and looked keen and set to take the field.

    Come kick off, the Hammers suffered an immediate setback when Alex ‘The Greek’ the side’s most renowned ball carrier took the ball up in midfield but in the course of taking contact and recycling the ball sustained an injury from a stray elbow evidently from a fellow prop. The result was a broken nose that prevented any further participation in the game.

    Despite losing one of the front re contingent, the scrum was providing a solid platform in the early stages with Chris Hall propping at loose head – a far cry from his usual role, exploiting the open spaces out wide.

    Despite some success in the set piece and some encouraging phase play, HAC were able to make inroads through their big ball carriers in midfield and in the tight exchanges, particularly effective on the inside ball. Hammers defence freaked and was eventually breached out wide .  A second lapse in defence then compounded some unforced handing errors and enabled the hosts to cross again just before half time.

    By this time Hammers we’re down to 14 men after a scrum failed to set safely and stand-in prop Chris Hall fell awkwardly, suffering a nasty shoulder injury, the full extent of which only became apparent later. Despite having made provision for a front row injury the ‘letter of the law’ was applied, meaning that the game reverted to uncontested scrums with Hammers forced to play the remainder of the game a man down. It was an unfortunate but significant blow to the side, particularly given that Hammers at worst had parity in the scrums and took no advantage from going uncontested.

    Despite some notable carriers from lock Benji Reid, centre Ollie Brothwood and skipper Tilbrook, the 4s went in 12-0 down at the turnaround. Despite the injuries and being a man light, there was a positive feeling amongst the squad who had generally held their own without seemingly getting out of second gear. However, it seemed the hosts also had fears they hadn’t used and they showed some fine handling skills in the early exchanges of the second half, exploiting space out wide and scoring a third try.

    Hammers then hit back with some good work of their own, putting together a number of phases before good hands in the back line put centre Oli Scholes in  space and through for a run to the line. With both sides now playing with some freedom, the game opened up and the home side ultimately took advantage, firstly making the most of an interception and again showing the competence in the back line before crossing on the right wing.

    With the result no longer in doubt it would have been easy for heads to drop, but it was encouraging to see the Hammers take up the challenge of chasing bonus points. A fine try followed using the same formula as before with patient forward play followed by good hands in the backs. This time Chris Jager went through the gap created in the HAC defence to score a fine consolation. It was well deserved but ultimately not enough, as the hosts ruthlessly exploited the ambition shown by the Hammers in chasing further scores. The game finished with another interception by an HAC back, to put some deserved gloss on the score line.

    Overall, a disappointing result and a below-par performance from the 4s who had gone into the game full of confidence and on the back of an encouraging run of recent form.  Nonetheless, and not for the first time, the effort and commitment of the group, particularly when down to 14 men provides plenty of encouragement particularly with some influential figures (including regular Captain Will Parker), set for a welcome return next week.

  • Fulham and Hammersmith Rugby: Hammers 4s v Belsize Park – Match Report

    After an uphill start to the season, Hammers 4th XV took the field at Fortress Hurlingham eager for a first league win against a firmly mid-table Belsize Park.

    After a rusty warm up, deputy-deputy captain Andrew ‘Tilly’ Tilbrook fired up his troops and Hammers got off to a solid start. Following a couple of unsteady scrums, the forwards regained confidence through Bob Davies and James Watson’s beautifully orchestrated line out routine, providing a platform for Brazilian winger Mark Bishop to dot down two early tries to put the 4s 10 points ahead within the first 15 minutes. Fast distribution through the 9-10-12 combination of Myers, Eldredge and Jager, supported by sustained pressure from the forward pods, opened up the Belsize defence for two further tries and Hammers walked off at half time with a healthy 25-point lead.

    The fun really started in the second half…in the space of ten minutes, Adam Nixon was penalised for some unintelligible chat to the referee, Colin McDonald uncharacteristically got angry and Abe Knight, moments after an impassioned speech to the team about cutting out Sonny Bill style offloads, kindly popped the ball into the hands of a grateful Belsize centre who promptly brought his team back into the game. A second well worked Belsize try piled on the pressure further, alleviated slightly by Bishop rounding off his hat-trick. Another two Belsize tries followed which the author can’t really remember due to being in a shame spiral after two hideous dropped catches (see Tin Man section for further details), and Hammers started to feel the momentum shift.

    Reinforcements were brought on to spark some life into the team and Hammers started to take control again, with replacement fly-half David Franklin putting the home side back in a commanding position before promptly opening up his face. Winding down the clock with a ten point cushion seemed too easy, and so Chris Jager attempted to take the head off a Belsize player and consequently took a breather for ten minutes at the referee’s insistence. The 14 remaining Hammers rallied and kept their structures to close out the game and record a first league win this season.

    Man of the match – Mark Bishop

    Tin Man – Bob Davies for twice dropping the ball in seemingly no-pressure situations

    Honourable mentions – Abe Knight for gifting a Belsize try, Chris Jager for his time in the bin, Tim Murray for only managing 10 minutes

    Debut – Chris Appleyard

  • Fulham and Hammersmith Rugby: Hammers 2s v Richmond – Match Report
    Turning up to an incredibly windy Richmond, Hammersmith & Fulham 2s were eager to maintain their strong start to the season. Having won a hard fought game against a Richmond team earlier in the season, the team knew they were in for a tough afternoon.
     
    Having chosen to play with the wind in the first half, the Hammers started well with strong, direct runs from the forwards and sharp lines from the backs, stretching the Richmond defence to its breaking point. This quickly put the Hammers team 14 points to nothing up. Richmond came back into the game, but was unable to narrow the score before the break, with the halftime score at 21-7 to the Hammers. 
     
    The second half was a much more even affair, with the wind and the penalty count strongly in favour of the home side. Each team had periods of pressure, resulting in both teams scoring 3 tries.
     
    Within the final 5 minutes of the game with the Hammers up by 11, Richmond managed to get over the line bringing them within one score. Closer than they had been at any stage of the match. The Hammers would need to stop Richmond’s momentum and finish the game well in order to earn the win. The Hammers were able to do this and finish the game off in style, as Sykes was able to chase his own kick and dot the ball down for a try and the final play of the game. Final score: Richmond 29 – Hammersmith and Fulham 42.
     
    The Hammers now go into a bye week nicely placed at the top of the table with 5 wins from 6 games.
  • Fulham and Hammersmith Rugby: Hammers 5ths v Wasps – Match Report

    The sun was out as the V’s headed through glorious Shepherds Bush to Acton to take on Wasps Amateurs and continue their progression up the league this year.

    A fast start, with structured forward play saw the Hammers advance immediately into the oppo 22, thanks to solid hit ups from Michael Cusition and Jimmy Mitchell in particular. The pressure was soon turned into points with Mitchell picking out a 9 stone defender in the line and cruising over the line.

    It wasn’t long after that yet again the Wasps defensive line was looking a little leaky. Paul Davies was through the middle quicker than you can say “Scatty Scuttlebug” and in the end, our own American superstar Chad Brad managed to get over for some meat.

    There was soon a little wake up call at the opposite end. A few too many shoulder stroking tackles let to the Wasps forwards bundling over, and we were suddenly at 14-7 having dominated all of the action previously.

    Luckily that was all Wasps had for the remainder of the match, and a cricket-esque score had been accumulated. 96-7.

    Honourable mentions to:
    Steven Danby who kicked 13/14 conversions, despite running the clock down multiple times when the incorrect tee was passed to him (Gilbert rather than Adidas i think it was).
    Well done to Charles Allen who managed to cast aside the distraction of new love and played with composure on the wing.
    Jack Mitchell showed great pace to break clear late in the second half, and with only 30 yards and no defenders to the line…..the gas tank emptied in a second.
    Jimmy Mitchell had a good go at the record try tally for one game, with 4 meat pies, a performance that only Seb Money could somehow deny MOM for.

  • Fulham and Hammersmith Rugby: Hammers Ladies 1st XV v Beckenham – Match Report

     

    And so the Hammers found themselves making the short (in Katie S’ case, the very short) trip to old foes Beckenham on a clear but somewhat blustery day (you go Storm Brian). Things started off well a little bumpy with a few last minute team changes and our coach driver thinking he was auditioning for the latest the Fast and the Furious film. But we ended up arriving in Kent 30 minutes earlier than expected and with a rather large and rowdy crowd. As it turns out they weren’t there to witness our clash of the titans match but to take part in an annual charity half marathon and bake sale (only one of those things is actually fun).

    Warm up was a funny affair and perhaps the early arrival time played havoc with our preparation as by all accounts the team undertook some of the worst team runs witnessed this century. However, after some stern words from the coaches the team resolved to put this right when it mattered i.e. the actual match. After some inspirational/idiotic words from a stand in captain imploring the team to “do it for the shirt, do it for the girl next door…” the team were suitably relaxed, confused and looking forward to starring in their own Romcom themed match. We started strongly with us dominating early on, holding onto the ball and recycling it well.  There were strong hit ups from the forwards and the backs were doing their usual runny thing but we weren’t able to turn the pressure into points. After coughing up the ball it was Beckenham’s turn to put some pressure on but the Hammers stood firm and we were once more at a bit of an impasse. Beckenham took the ball into contact and after some strong defence the Hammers were able to run defence into attack. The ball made it through the hands into Mich’s arms and she proceeded to run around 4 Beckenham players to score on the right wing. The opposition was somewhat confused how this happened with a fair number of their forwards camped on the half way line wondering what had just happened. The score was unconverted but the Hammers had their noses in front 5-0. I don’t really remember what happened next but believe we didn’t control the restart, Beckenham came at us again, perhaps someone was distracted by a badger and then sadly Beckenham scored. They then decided to copy Mich and missed the conversion. We were all square.

     

    The rest of the half involved much to-ing and fro-ing. Neither team was able to totally dominate and continuity was hard to come by. This wasn’t helped by the quasi-villain of the piece – the ref – who seemed to hate both sides in equal measure. Eventually after some great defensive pressure from the Hammers Mich completed a repeat of her first try to score on the right wing. This time the score was converted, the Beckenham forwards were once again confused and we were 12-5 up As repetition is a wonderful thing we decided to repeat our first try performance by not controlling the restart and allowing Beckenham control of the baby. After some good phases by them they were able to score and convert their try. 12-12, everyone loves a bit of symmetry. We finished the half strongly, camped on their line with a Beckenham player sent off for the most audacious of handballs since Maradona’s Hand of God. Unfortunately we weren’t able to keep control of the ball and the halftime whistle blew with the scores stuck at 12 all.

    Gathering at half time the team were a tad disappointed in their performance and aware that we’d left a number of scores out there. Caroline and Mark worked hard to refocus us and point out that Beckenham were defending narrowly so the second half should be all about moving the ball quickly, gassing them on outside and with the wind on our backs turning them as much as possible. If this was a romcom then this was our time to undertake a makeover, transform from ugly ducklings into beautiful swans, charm the quarterback and become prom queen.  After the wise words of the coaches the forwards decided to ignore this completely, beefing up their pack with Baggers coming in to flank and HP experiencing what is now known as a “Collings Sandwich”. Powerful runs from the pack and some great kicking to the corner from Leah off Beckenham penalties meant we were camped on their try line and ready to pounce. Fred, enjoying a storming game at 8, battled the wind to help ensure her pack could secure some great line outs and form juggernaut mauls that Beckenham just could not cope with. Even putting their bodies on the line read pulling down the maul and getting concussed couldn’t stop the Hammers and Baggers leapt like a salmon to score our third try. Whilst there was some doubt over the grounding calls from Beckenham for the TMO were declined by the referee as apparently someone with an iPhone doesn’t count and the try was awarded. Mich converted again and the Hammers were 19-12 to the good.

    Just like all romcoms the course of true rugby never runs smoothly and the Hammers once more suffered from restartanitis (this is an actual medical thing, just ask the baby doctors). The Hammers turned over field position to Beckenham and they spent the next 5 minutes camped in our 22 and dare I say it on our 5 metre line. However, where before we may have crumbled this time the Hammers stood tall repelling wave after wave of attack, keeping organised and pressing. This pressure ultimately led to a fumble from Beckenham and a loose ball. We were able to regather and punt the ball 40 metres down the pitch. The vicious circle had been broken and the Hammers were then able to spend the remaining 20 minutes holed up in Beckenham’s half of the pitch. Whilst we enjoyed all the possession and territory Beckenham, the wind and our hands continued to frustrate our attempts to add to our tally. Their tackling was brave and they really put their bodies/faces on the line (nod to Ella for helping the opposition out with their various injuries and bleeding). With 10 minutes to go it looked like the win was on if not secure but the try bonus point would remain elusive or so Mark thought…. In a plot twist worthy of M. Night Shyamalanamalana (genuinely how is name is spelt) and predicted by the better coach (Caroline) we were able to score the two tried needed. One went to Younger Collings who burrowed over the line after repeated thrusts from the forwards. We will claim that the tears shed were tears of joy. This was unconverted and the score was 24-12. The final try officially now known as a “Bukky bonus” came from some initial great work from Leah, Fanny and others down the blindside who managed to break through the Beckenham ranks for Onora (returning after an AFL inspired hiatus) to come within a whisker of scoring bar a last ditch tackle from Beckenham. On the resulting throw in on the 5 metre line Beckenham suffered what is commonly known as a “brain fart” and attempted to run the ball from behind their try line only to get held up in a maul. Bukky, after a bit of persuasion from her team, decided the polite thing to do was rip the ball from their hands and dive over from 1 metre out. Again unconverted but the game was won, the bonus point secure and Beckenham had lost their losing bonus point. Awks. Final score 29-12.

    There were a lot of great performances during the game but we can’t afford to give everyone a pint, we aren’t made of money. So forward of the match went to Fred who carried like a Trojan, never stopped working and was instrumental in ensuring the Hammers won clean ball at the lineouts. Back of the match went to Victoire who stayed up past her bedtime with a dominant and bossy display at 9, marshalling the backs and forwards and showing tremendous bravery in defence. Katherine also was presented with her belated debutant pint, which she downed like a pro.

    A huge well done to the players for putting it all out there and for making the coaches smile. Thank you to our glorious supporters and captain/physio Ella who cheered us on and had to compete with a boisterous home crowd. Also, a thank you to Baggers who reminded us all why one should never take on the Russians.

    And finally you can’t have a romcom without some life lessons so here goes:

    1. Beckenham is not 20 minutes drive from Wandsworth
    2. Every team in the league this year is utterly beatable
    3. The unbeaten(ish) season will continue but only if we get ourselves down to training and make ourselves available on game day
    4. We’ve been saying Bukky’s name wrong all season. It’s pronounced Victoria
    5. Someone should make a rugby romcom, I’d watch that

     

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