Fulham and Hammersmith Rugby
07/04/18 – Hammersmith & Fulham 2ndXV vs London Scottish
The final league game of the season and everyone is prepared for an exciting game. The tourists are back from Barcelona and they have brought the sun back with them, a sunny 18 degree day with a slight wind and fast track, the scene was set for good day away.
With the warm up complete and the final team runs rehearsed the team was ready. With bagpipes playing in the background, Gary Leith lead the Hammers out onto the pitch.
Scottish kicked to start the match and Hammers returned with a strong run, some disciplined forward patterns earned a penalty and they edged further down the pitch. A clean take in the line out and a well directed maul put the Hammersmith on the front foot. Charging runs from Rob Fox and Cillian Waldron through the centres pushed the play further into the attacking 22. The loose forwards of Scottish were stalking every ruck but unfortunately gave up a penalty 5 out from the line. Lining up for the set play anticipation was high, Billy Rylance picks the ball and drives a pack over the try line, appealing the grounding to the referee, when there are clearly 2 bodies under the ball.
Another scrum 5 out an this time the ball is passed wider to James Watson who breaks for the line and with and outstretch arm scores a try right next to the posts. With the conversion confirmed the Hammers make it 7-0, as they head back to the centre.
The restart from Scottish is wayward and travels straight out of play, and Hammers capitalise from the scrum with a solid link up between the centres, back into positive territory. Again the organised forward patterns have the Hammers moving forward, Gary Leith sees an opportunity and makes a sniping run, a couple of the Scottish players see this and decide Gary would be better without a head. Keeping his head, just, Gary marches the play down the field with a kick to set up for an attacking line out. Another controlled maul sets the play which results in Billy Rylance driving through over the try line making no mistake and clearly grounding the ball this time. The unfaltering boot of Eldredge makes it a clean 14 points.
The kick is clean but Hammersmith fumble the catch, the ball is regathered and the attack is on down the short side, Sol makes a short but skillful run before kicking the ball downfield into touch clearing the defensive territory. Scottish set a full line for the throw but with a sneaky trick play hit the jumper at 2 who feeds it back to the hooker, he is away down the side line and bursts through two red shirts, he is away until he is forcibly stopped by Watson’s head. Time is off as both players took a big hit. Play resumes and Hammers get a good drive on the scrum where they have been dominant all day, the ball comes cleanly and good meters are gained through the open field. Unfortunately too many metres as the back runner is isolated and the quick to counter ruck Scottish earn the penalty. Pushed back to the half line for the line the Hammers have the support of their bench right behind the hooker. James Roche and Bob Davies have been all over the defensive line out and this one is no different, stealing it out of the air. Hammersmith send it wide and charge down the field. Sol is cut down before he can score in the corner, but support arrives to secure the ball. A couple of mid field crashes by the forwards draw the defence in and Hammersmith look to send it wide, not the cleanest of set ups, but good recovery in the hands of Waldron and Lewis Stenson put Ralston in space to score in the top corner. The sometimes faltering boot of Eldredge can’t add to the score and it stands at 19-0.
Half Time Hammersmith 19 – London Scottish 0
Hammers restart the second term with a solid kick, which goes to one of London Scottish’s solid runners who charges right into the pack requiring multiple bodies to bring him down. Some half time changes bought further firepower to the Scottish centres who tool the next hit up again making good gains for the athletic Scottish team. On the front foot Scottish looked to spin it wide but Josh Petit had other ideas and as the ball travelled through the air an out stretched Petit intercepted, gathered and continued on his way through open space to dot down 5 points of his own. The increasingly faltering boot doesn’t help and the score is at 24-0.
A good take by Scottish sees them bring play back into the Hammers half. Full of energy and with plenty of players keen to run the ball Scottish pick up the pace of the play bringing into the game the pace of their wingers. Solid covering defence by the back 3 make sure neither get through and do a good job of putting them into touch. Time is off as Petit has his jackling hand taped back together which gives the team a chance to catch their breathe. Another line out stolen by the Bob-Roache towers and the play crashes into mid-field, only to be turned over again by some isolated running. The Scottish scrum holds together and the ball is out cleanly but confusion in the backs causes it to go to ground, the referee deems it to be a free ball which is taken advantage of by Hammersmith. The ball goes wide right and into the hands of Ultan, returning for his first game since injury. You wouldn’t know though as he builds speed and cuts a swathe through 3 defenders, still the fullback to beat he casually draws the man and passes to where, if he were 10 years younger and hadn’t been on tour the previous week, Andrew Rogan would have been. Instead Rogan is lagging a metre or so off the pace and watches the ball sail over the touch-line, missing the opportunity of a certain try and in this act earning himself tin man.
Play is resumed and through strong defence Hammers win the ball back, Probably Petit in there somewhere. A quick tap of the ball had Scottish on the back foot with and overlap, clean hands saw Lewis outrun a diving fullback to place the ball down and keep the scoreboard ticking over. Conversion unsuccessful. 29 – 0.
Hammersmith receive the kick and push their way down field through solid work from the forward pods. Some undisciplined play is creeping into the Hammersmith game as everyone is feeling confident, pinned for not releasing Scottish receive a penalty, not wasting any time, they tap and catch the Hammers on their heels a couple of quick passes and some fancy footwork sees the Hammers defence scrambling, but it is too late, the line is broken and they can only chase as the Scottish speed beat them under the posts for 5 points of their own. A neat conversion makes it 29-7 with not long to play.
Hammersmith use the opportunity to bring on fresh legs switching up their halves combination to their younger scrum half Dave Buchanan and John McManus to flyhalf. After a wake up call of the line being broken, the focus is back onto the team structure. Strong carries from Tim through the mid-field bring the momentum back the Hammers way and controlled play earns a penalty on the half way line which McMannus advanced to 10 out with an outstanding kick. The line out is taken and the drive is on falling just short of the line, Scottish defence is strong and pushes back against the forward hit ups several phases result in no advantage gained until Rylance picks a mismatch, gets some speed and punches the line breaking through for his second. McManus takes over kicking duties and is closer but cannot add points this time. 34 -7
With only minutes to play London Scottish are laying it all on the line some loose passing and isolated running result in Hammersmith ending up with the ball edging their way further down the field. Scottish find themselves again defending on their own try line which they do successfully for several phases, but as the Hammers offensive line spreads out an overlap is created on the blindside, quick hands and the ball is out to Eldredge who steps back inside, with an excellent decoy by Roche on the outside, is over the line and puts it down to take the score to 39 – 7.
Full time Hammersmith 39 – London Scottish 7
Man of the Match: Josh Petit & Sol Lucas
Tin man : Andrew Rogan
Rylance x 2, Watson, Ralston, Petit, Stenson, Eldredge
Eldredge x 2
’was an overcast Saturday with heavy rain overnight, waterlogged pitch which played in the favour of Kilburn Cosmos large pack. Some were playing through their heads the loss earlier in the season with Jonny Sexton style 45m drop goal in the dying minutes to take a win for the Cosmos on the holy land of Hurlingham Park.
The warm up looked slick and the lads were up for the battle knowing the odds were partially against them from a league positioning perspective. This did not phase the Lads routine and commitment. Knowing we had the direction of De Wolf, Will Parker (beer bench due to suspected broken neck/thumb) and Tillbrook (c) the tables would be turned with structure, structure, structure.
The game kicked off, boy did the hammers apply the pressure, for the first five minutes Cosmos couldn’t leave their last third. Everyone on the pitch and the beer bench swing lowing in full force could see a try coming. They were not disappointed a well executed and dominating driving maul put us to five metres out then some quick hands to Hamish who executed the chance with no hesitation. Five-nil to hammers.
After the kick off some against the play Cosmo pressure and little lack of discipline from the Hammers gave them an opportunity to come away with points.
Five – three….. then another try for the Cosmos which was not converted from a bit of sloppy play and a turnover from the Hammers trying to exit their 22. After some strong words from Tilbrook the Hammers started to front up again, with some blistering pace down the wing from Emmett (11) and Mark Bishop (15) yards were being gained then after a lost ball the Cosmos were on the attack. Matt Perry (9) who had been bossing it from behind the pack decided to put his body on the line but sadly did not come out well and the stretcher of Parker and De Wolf was needed. Ed Brown (9) came on knowing he had a point to prove (as he arrived very very late… tin man possibility). The game started open up, we went wide but sadly George (13) had to retire from international duty due to a legacy knee injury.
A bit of Cosmos pressure followed, then on the attack, Ed Brown (9) put up a box kick which was duly chased by Eldridge and Brown. The Cosmos 15 didn’t know what to do, he half committed but the full commitment of the Hammers boys saw Eldridge gather inside the 22 and pass outside him selflessly to Kris Conor to convert.
Notable injury around the 30 minute mark for George legacy knee issues, will be a big loss for the rest of the season.
The first half then stagnated with piles of pressure from the Cosmos and a solid line of defence from the Hammers which they were unable to break. Although we got away with some ill-discipline as the Cosmos were unable to convert 2 penalties.
The first 15 minutes of the second half was very much the same as the latter stages of the first. Continual Cosmo pressure until the larger Cosmos pack finally rolled over the line to what looked like a dubious grounding but was awarded none the less.
This put the Hammers into over drive. Pressurising the Cosmos with some flare knowing they needed to bring a W home.
Quick snipe from 9 with Emmet outside him pass was about to be completed and Emmett had been smashed without the ball and was out cold. The Hammers boys were screaming for a penalty as Emmett was clear through, when he came to he had a Mark Bishop golden lock within the cut, so a notable hammer on hammer collision!
Hammers still trailing by a converted try, Ed Brown tried to gain some yards with a well weighted box kick that their winger collected in the air. A steam rolling slightly overweight 9 was on his way and there was no stopping him. The winger had not quite made it to the ground (all of 1” according to the beer bench) and was hit rather hard. Was this a yellow card offence, the Cosmos seemed to think so but the referee thought that it was a 50/50 challenge and awarded the Cosmos a penalty. A lucky break for the hammers to not have gone down to 14 men.
Some notable yards gained as the game was coming to its close with the Cosmos sitting back trying to slow the game down knowing they could no longer play the route one rugby that has turned so many other teams over. The backs were in the zone with the well drilled moves, commitment in the ticks and some quick ball.
Hammers scrum, the referees watch was beeping as the ball was fed in to the scrum. Some same way rugby opened up an over lap that was spotted, the ball was shipped from 9 to 12 to Mark Bishop who committed the defender and we had a 2 on 1 sympathetic pop to Kris on the wing outside the 5m line. The clock hit 81 mins and Kris was in, the beer bench, the players were besides themselves. It was like the moment Johnny Wilkinson sat in the pocket and time seemed to stop….. the ball was knocked on…. the whistle blew for full time… then the flood gates started!!!
Thanks to De Wolf and Parker for making this an epic season.
The beer bench deserve a special mention, at times I felt like a Welshman in the principality stadium.
Some notable hits from Tillbrook, eldridge and Tommy.
Mom – Eldridge
Tin man – Ed Brown (horrendous admin and punctuality)
Debutants – George Evans, Andy Punter and Charlie McCarthy.
Warmer temperatures graced West London as the V’s looked to turn up their own season to inferno-like temperatures away at Twickenham. The hosts were sat above us in 2nd and hadn’t lost for some time.
The Hammers began well keeping possession and battering away at the oppo line. Soon SBW spotted a ginger Devin Toner in the line and gleefully skipped through before a never before seen, chip and chase resulted in a line out to Twickenham around their 5 metre line.
After good yards from Whitechapel and Paul Davey, the Hammers were soon over the line with a tap and go from Wyss.
With a 5-0 lead the next 20mins or so found the hammers stuck in their own half, but essentially defending like troopers. An embarrassing call for the posts from a Twickenham penalty resulted in an even more embarrassing miss and they were about to be taught a lesson for that decision. A no.8 scrum pick up in the hammers own half got momentum going before the Mitchell brothers combined majestically with Whitechapel who went over to finish a move that started some 75 yards back. Taking the V’s in 10-0 at the break.
An emerging theme for the game became the lack of kicker for the hammers. 6 different men did step forth. 6 different kicks. 6 misses to touch……despite that we got back up their end and after great composure on the line it came down to no.8 vs winger, at which point there was a cry of “lord have mercy upon my soul” and a try was indeed scored.
The tempo of the game was extremely high it must be said, and finally the oppo broke through after a few shirt grabbing attempts in the backs and some twinkle toes from Butter Beans Bigger Brother rounding a tired Hammer. With 20 left the score was 15-5
Keeping things calm and looking after the ball paid off soon after, with the defence being sucked in by the forward ball carriers, Jamie Drysdale skipped through a tackle or two 35 yards out and touched down for a welcomed bit of meat.
With 10 left most of us could barely stand, but with some quick thinking and quicker feet from Charlie Allen, sniping from the ruck and a deft offload combining with the basketball training of Whitechapel, paid off as he weaved through again for 30-40 yards out and go under the posts to bury a now feebled Twickenham. With Stiven Danby now on the pitch, the extras were slotted to make the final score 29-5.
Al Hamilton – 7
Ever elusive in the loose, but a solid front row performance must be attributed to some of his good work in that area.
Stiven Danby – 6
Suggestions of mis-placed hair straighteners led to a late arrival and a brief appearance off the bench for this usual starter. His place-kicking boot was missed in the first half for sure.
Angus Hortop – 7
A very solid day around the park with some effective carries to go with being a part of a very sturdy front row action.
James Mitchell – 9
Two vital turnovers bailed the team out when under pressure in their own half on both occasions. Plenty of hard yards made with ball in hand and robust in defence as usual.
Dan Kenney – 7
Busy all over the park. An all around positive outing minus the headlock tackle.
Michael Cusition – 9
Firing into the line like a freshly polished shotgun. Hitting as hard as a bucking horse, whose brains had just been introduced to a led filled cartridge or two. Relentless.
Jack Mitchell – 8
Thrived as the game become more broken up in the second half. Some textbook chop tackles helping his side gain turnover or two.
Mark Wyss- 8
Ton of yards made and two meat pies. Couple of defensive lapses against smaller ratty opposition who didn’t fancy running straight.
Charlie Allen – 6
This young man dealt well with the frequent change of position throughout the game, before finding himself delivering a few pee-roller passes at scrum-half in the latter stages of the game. Thrives best in open space – similar to Gareth Thomas.
Antoine Bourgalt – 7
The extra protein shake before the game really helped him deliver a solid first half, feeding his runners with succulent ball at all times. Sadly he went a bit too ‘Va Va Room’ and tackled a player before retreating 10 – resulting in a yellow card for the flamboyant Frenchman.
Felix Whitechapel – 8
Came on strong when it mattered with two second half tries to shut out the game. Top notch support running.
Ben Hubert – 5
Some catching practise (and Beta Blockers) may need to be involved in next weeks training schedule.
Paul Davey – 7
A very strong first half, weaving his way around like a hyperactive scatty scuttlebutt, making great yards in the opposite 22. Few link up problems with his inside man made for a more quiet second half. Defensively very sound.
Jamie Drysdale – 7
The man known as the ‘Bolton Basher’ held his own very well against in the first half, before really coming alive in the second half with a try to really take the game away from Twickenham. A performance to re-ignite the memories of Kevin Maggs romping down the park.
Rory Newton – 9
Not featuring too often in the match (through not fault of his own), the brother of Peter Saigen and cousin of Naro Quintana showed excellent decision making and pace to run the ball back from deep well into the opposition half. He looks to have made the right choice in hanging up the racquet and switching sports.
Betram Darcy – 6
A good effort late on in the match. Otherwise, probably the most sexy linesman I’ve ever seen.
Michele Bongiorni – 6
Some good bursts of pace, and often demonstrated the guile of Diego Dominguez. Caught napping a little on a grubber kick through, but otherwise very solid from our favourite y-front model.
Man Of The Match:
Wyss (2), Whitechapel (2), Drysdale.
The HFRFC Dinner, Dance and Awards Night is approaching and it’s time to get your tickets!
The event is on the 28th April at the Star & Garter in Putney. There are ONLY 100 tickets. Tickets will be sold on a 1st come, 1st served basis.
Early Bird Ticket £60 can be purchased until Friday 16 March 2018.
Ticket Price from 2nd March then be £65 until sold out.
How to book your place?
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2. Then please EMAIL : firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please state name used as reference, full name and number
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Hammersmith and Fulham travelled to North London on 3rd of February with an 11 year losing streak for Enfield against Hammers on their side but with H&F below Enfield in the table.
Mark Blyghton, captain, had said throughout the weeks training that this was a must win match and Hammersmith & Fulham were fighting their way out of a hole.
Well, Hammers came out swinging for their season.
Uncharacteristic of the year H&F were the first on the score board. H&F defence causing a loose ball, allowing James Lo to run over the whitewash and Hamish Dalgarno to convert.
Characteristically Hammers punished themselves by giving away penalties, and Enfield gladly converted a penalty in front of the posts.
After some thumping tackles, H&F caused the ball to be turned over and Tom Parkinson to roll back the years. Brushing off tackles, as if they were minis on Sunday, he dived over the line – conversion missed.
This purple period in the middle of the first half was paying dividends for Hammers. Enfield could not live with the physicality of the ‘smaller’ pack. With a wet ball and aggressive defence came the mistakes. James Lo quite happily collected a dropped ball and no one was catching the wing. Converted by Dalgarno.
The second half did not have the same x factor as the first but required Hammers to put Enfield to the sword.
With Enfield now in Mark Blyghtons metaphorical ‘hole’, they had to fight from the ropes.
They were camped firmly in Hammers 22 but the defence held out, with a knock on from a ferocious hit from 2 of Hammers back row.
This saw the momentum swing back to H&F. Back up in Enfield 22, Hammers were clinical with their next try. Winning a scrum against the head, the ball went through the hands of Tom Assal, Tim Murray, Charlie Precious, Dave Bloxsam and finally to Keith Rogers who superbly finished in the corner.
Enfield did come back with one try but Hammers had the bonus point win at the 60th minute mark.
A good win all round, allowing hammers out of the relegation spots.
A team finally coming together.
Final Score: Hammersmith and Fulham 24 – Enfield Ignatians 8
Hammers 4th team welcomed HAC to a grey and wet Hurlingham Park on Saturday, looking to avenge the frustrating defeat that HAC had inflicted on them in November. With a strong warm-up completed, and the rain thankfully stopping in time for kick off, HAC got proceedings underway.
Hammers started strongly with some excellent carrying from the forwards allowing John McManus to find some good territory in the HAC half. With Hammers pinning HAC back in their own 22, continued strong carrying got them close to the line and after a couple of phases, Mark Johnson forced himself over to open the scoring.
It was more of the same following the restart with Hammers again camped in the HAC half and looking to add another score quickly. A cross-field kick from McManus fell agonizingly short of finding wing Cillian Bane, but Hammers didn’t have to wait much longer for their second score. A trademark rampaging run from Gael Ofi created some space out wide and Oli Scholes was on his shoulder to take the offload and touchdown in the corner. 12-0 Hammers.
It had been a perfect start from Hammers, but following the restart HAC finally managed to get their hands on the ball and went through some phases nicely, putting Hammers under pressure in their own half for the first time in the game. This pressure eventually told and HAC crossed down the left wing to get themselves on the scoreboard.
Hammers used the opportunity to regroup well and bring play back into the HAC half. On the back of continued dominance up front, the ball was spread into the backs and into the hands of Chis Jager. Jager looked up, and having spotted the gap, scythed through the defence before outpacing the full back and touching down in the corner for a brilliant individual try. 17-5 Hammers.
Halftime – Hammers 17- HAC 5
The second half started off with neither team being able to put too much pressure on the other, and with some good tactical kicking not many opportunities were being created. However, HAC then broke the second half deadlock first, breaking free down the left before evading the cover to dot down and bring the score to 17-10.
The game was back in the balance and Hammers needed to front up for a big last 25 minutes to see off the HAC challenge.
The Hammers forwards were still dominant up front, and with more pressure on the HAC scrum a penalty was won that McManus duly dispatched to take the scores to 20-10, and give Hammers a little bit of breathing space.
The restart was well claimed by Johnson and following a strong break up the middle from Andrew Tillbrook, play was back in the HAC half. Hammers were now starting to ramp up the pressure, and with HAC bodies getting sucked in to try and stem the tide of Hammers ball carriers, there was space out wide and following a long pass from McManus, Matt Baddeley managed to offload out of the tackle freeing Will Finn to scamper over in the corner and bring the score to 25-10.
There was still time for HAC to bring play back into the Hammers 22 with a penalty kicked to touch, but the Hammers defensive line held firm and closed the game out for a fantastic win.
Final Score: 25-10
Tries: Mark Johnson, Oli Scholes, Chris Jager, Will Finn
Kicks: John McManus (1 con, 1 pen)
Tin Man: Karl Watson – Forgetting his kit four weeks in a row!
Man of the Match: Chris Jager – Some strong carrying, big hits and a fantastic try!
Coming into this weeks game both teams had been struggling with recent results, with London Nigerian sat at just above the mid way point in the league table and the Hammers sitting in relegation zone at 11th. After two very good training sessions in the wet weather, the Hammers boys were desperate to put in a big shift and produce the upset they had been long waiting for.
With both the home crowd and wind behind the Hammers the game kicked off.
Within the first play of the game the Hammers asserted themselves and took full control. The lads were very quickly rewarded for this initial push with a try from back rower Julie Draper. With such a quick score it was essential the boys didn’t ease off.
After the restart the Nigerians were once again pinned back within their 22, struggling to get out of their own half and taking a beating from the home sides’ attack. The Nigerians’ scrum half did not help the cause missing touch 5 times in the first half subjecting his team to an onslaught from the Hammers back three.
Hammers wing James Lo soon capitalised on these mistakes with a try in the corner following a strong touch line run. Scrum half Ollie Chambers slotted the kick to make it 12 – 0 in almost as many minutes.
With another restart and the wind still on the Hammers side the Nigerians found themselves in an all familiar position for the day, the Hammers seemed to have great control of the game at the half way point in the first half. After some decent phase play flanker Magnus Barber managed to get on the end of a superbly timed offload to run in another home try. Ollie once again hitting him target and keeping the score board ticking over in favour of the home side.
Not to be out done by the forwards, fullback Hamish Dalgarno and winger David Bloxsom both put their names on the score sheet picking up a try a piece before the close of half time.
HT HFRFC 29 – London Nigerian 0
The second half kicked off with the wind blowing into the face of the Hammers. London Nigerian now had a chance at inflicting some damage back onto their opposition. However, some great defence and even better set piece from the pack leveraged the control back in favour of the home side.
Just past the 10 minute mark in the second half the score board ticked over again, in favour of the red and whites as Julien Draper picked up his second try of the match. Ollie managed to turn the 5 pointer into a 7 pointer with the home side now well and truly out in front and looking very hard to catch.
Moments later London Nigeria responded with some attacking play of their own. They managed to make impressionable yards through some decent phase play from within their own half. A penalty kick towards the corner flag then found them within touching distance of the Hammers’ try line. Nigerians resorted to some classic “ball under the shirt” rugby opting for a driving maul which led to their Number 5 getting over the line for their first score of the afternoon.
With less than 10 minutes to go and the game well in the home sides control captain Mark Blyghton opted for a kick at goal following a string of infringements from the away side deep in their own half. Ollie nudged the additional 3 points putting the score well and truly out of reach of the visitors.
To top things off, the Hammers finished some well deserved play again through Dalgarno who carved his way seamlessly through the Nigerians back line to snatch his second for the day. Ollie once again picked up the conversion which put an end to the play for what was a thoroughly enjoyable bonus point win for the Hammers.
FT HFRFC 46 – London Nigerian 5
Tries: Dalgarno 2, Draper 2, Barber, Bloxsom, Lo
Kicks: Chambers (4 con, 1 pen)
MOM: Tom Assal
Anticipation had been building through the week as the Hammers 2’s side began preparation for a double header (for the uneducated/unaware, this was a league and cup match in one) against Bishop’s Stortford III team (BS). The previous result of Hammers travelling the 31.85 miles (as the crow flies) to the BS ground saw blood and tears for Hammers where we lost heavily 36-7, this only fuelled the preparation and desire for revenge.
The Hammers were “fully prepped”/had mostly arrived by 12:30 ish as the jovial Australia Day cobwebs had been blown away (mostly) by those irresponsible enough to consume alcohol the night before game day. Any way I deviate from the purpose of this report, the match…
With BS arriving late due to the long trip, kick off was pushed back by 10 mins – a prime example of the gentry required to be a Hammer. At 14:10, with devilish wind and rain hammering (no pun intended) down on the yellow shirt of the French referee, he blew his whistle and we were off.
Hammers kicked off through the disintegrating boot of Eldridge, almost instantly winning the ball back through a BS knock on. The Hammers scrum was dominant from the off with the front row of Williams, Johnson and Conway rumbling their way towards the try line with arrogance that can only be described as front row swagger. We came close with Eddell running good lines in the centre, but this trip to the BS 22 was not to be fruitful.
BS began to battle their way out of their 22 until a loose loopy pass was intercepted by the bearded hooker Johnson. Showing his blistering pace, he trotted in from 25 metres out, a simple conversion in front of the sticks from Taylor W meant Hammers were leading 7-0.
A period of dominance from BS was to follow, they held on to the ball with effective use of a series of human cannon balls and battering rams with top tackles coming in from Fox, Rylance and familiar faces Roche and Pettitt. The BS barrage was too much to contain and saw Hammers slide to 7-14 down. Déjà vu of our previous trip to BS was at the forefront of all our minds, we had to move on.
Despite Thompson jumping 20 seconds early to try and catch the kick off, Hammer’s found a new foot hold in the game with Lucas making good metres, supported by the forwards continued domination at the set piece resulting in Conway scoring a sneaky try at the back of a maul. Taylor W slotted conversion number two and we were at 14-14.
HALF TIME – Score was tied 14-14
The second half began and the first five minutes showed both sides cancelling each other out with the only notable event being Taylor W getting smashed in the midfield with a tackle that can probably still be heard echoing around the sanctuary that is Hurlingham Park. Baxter showed he’s not just a pretty face as he continued to put his body on the line for the club making some great tackles. Still fuelled on adrenaline from the rib tickler Taylor W joined the forwards and managed to sneak himself a try from a pick and go! He added another 2 points taking his running total for the game to 11 as Hammers now led 21-14.
A passage of good play from Hammers saw Sheppard loop around and score in the right-hand corner. An almost impossible kick for Taylor W slid just outside the post making the score 26-14 Hammers. Sheppard’s glory was short lived as he was subbed off for the “experienced” Leith.
Hammers were sensible and opted to take the points as the referee awarded a penalty in front of the posts – need I say more Taylor W stepped up… and missed. Bane despite showing great pace (with his new boots on) didn’t quite manage to score but certainly gets a gold star for effort.
Victory was looking more likely as the Betfair exchange odds for a Hammers win moved to 1.27 (please gamble responsibly). These odds were only slashed further to 1.12 as Leith despite the paternal sleep deprivation stole the ball from a BS scrum and scored in the right corner. Cue Taylor W (again), with expectations wavering from a couple of misses those little stick legs built up some momentum and slotted it, Hammers lead extended 33-14.
With victory surely imminent, a momentary threat to the Hammers try line and an eye watering (he cried) boot to the eye for Rylance (he probably deserved it as well) BS stole themselves an unconverted consolation try. Hammers lead 33-19.
By this point the wind and rain were boring/freezing all involved and many looked as though they were waiting for the final whistle, but not Ralston who decided to rub more salt in the BS wounds by scoring a great try. Taylor W did his job and perhaps unsurprisingly with the pressure off slotted his kick. Hammers lead 40-19.
The final whistle blew, followed by cheers all round from the men in red, as this vengeful victory moves us to the top of the league and through the next round of the cup.
FULL TIME – Hammers win 40-19
Over the past two seasons, the Hammers Vets side has quietly been enjoying a resurgence following the creation of a new Vets Middlesex Merit Table. It has led to the return of some big names synonymous with the glory years in the noughties, playing alongside those who saw active service in the 90s. Names such as Clarke, Furniss, Lines, Campbell, Rumble and Hunt are back down as regular names on the team sheet. As games are played on Friday nights, it means those who are fit and able, but also with weekend family commitments, can sneak a game and a load of beers in with fellow Hammer comrades once a month.
Having come runners up to a strong Ealing team last season, the Vets have started the 2017/18 campaign strongly, winning their first two matches in style against London French and Teddington. Last Friday, it was the turn of Grasshoppers, played under the lights of the vets new home ground, Allianz Park. The stadium now has two teams of galacticos plying their trade on its hallowed north London astro-turf.
Now if truth be told, Kim Jong Rogan was initially assigned the task to attend the match and take some notes on who scored etc and include a bit of a running commentary, primarily based on the fact he wouldn’t have made the side, however as he only arrived with ten minutes left on the clock, details in the following report are lacking. However at half time, the Vets found themselves up 20 points to 8, despite a frantic and poorly controlled start to the game, probably as a result lingering Christmas fatigue, and with Grasshoppers running some strong lines off a decent backrow/halfback combination.
In the second half, Hammers eventually started to take control of proceedings, helped in part by a decent bench, and further aided by Tom Parkinson scoring four tries. This included two where he ran pretty much the length of the pitch, as well as one or two other moments of magic involving much of the back line.
What was even more surprising, almost suspicious, was the fact that Ryan Dilley, who usually averages 2 tries a game, failed to chalk up a single point. Jury is still out on this phenomenon, but one can only assume he’s got tied up in some dodgy Asian betting syndicate and was trying to hinder the Hammers win. The vets ended the game victorious with a 58 – 8 win, particularly pleasing to the young whippersnapper Blyghts, and the squad look forward to the next game and beers at Staines on Friday 9th February.
For his lack of enthusiasm, and failure to score a single point Dilley was awarded Tin Man, whilst MOM went jointly to Parko and the vets very own Benjamin Button, Sly, who both put in a sterling 80 minutes in the centres. An honourable mention must also go to Ed Clark and his colleagues at Saracens for hosting us once again.
Should you want to get involved with the vets, and fancy a run, please email Adam Jones on email@example.com. Not only do the vets have additional league fixtures coming up this season, but plans are afoot for an over 45s game on Old Hams day on 14th April.
(Please read in Yorkshire accent)
Hi guys, weekends (been) here again, hope you’ve had a good week and earnt a few quid. Whaattt.
This week our second team had a few fixtures cancelled, but last minute on Friday Esher offered us the chance of an away day fixture….. Simply Loveleh.
Following intense exchanges about opposition, travel arrangements and whether Watson would wear his No.1s or not we were on our way to Esher…… be seeing you.
The warm up started with a bit of a laugh, a joke and some absolute banging tunes, but after some stern words from senior players the warm up went well and we were ready to go…… Big Up.
The game started well with phase play working very well for the hammers, recycling lead to some swift passes for Taylor to go under the posts……. Simply lovely.
We then decided to try and run everything from our 22 for the next 10 minutes with no luck, but also no score….. Moving on.
After some solidity at the scrum and some nice phase play rugby, Magnus barber made a nice break on the outside with a great pass inside to Skipper Cramp, who then reversed the Pass to the screaming JLO on the burst for a simply simply lovely score.
The scoring for the half wasn’t finished with Billy Rylance finally running a line he should be proud of with a great finish…. Plenty in the tank sir.
Half time- Hammers 19-0 Esher Abbots
Esher started the second half extremely well scoring two well worked tries from a driving maul and some good hands….. bloody good shot sir.
After the second try and the realisation the game could go to Esher if the Hammers didn’t work their issues out, the huge hits and incentive of a free pint got to Watson (even though he’s very wealthy), Rylance and Rob Fox….. Plenty in the tank.
Esher managed another penalty score (never a fan of kicking for goal in a friendly)… whatttttt
Hammers then decided to do the same to take the score out of reach of Esher……plenty in the tank sir.
With the final whistle going, the hammers had won and were relieved after a strong showing from a young Esher team.
Final score – Hammers 22 – 15 Esher Abbots.
Listen guys, its tough out there, stay safe. Be seeing you.
League match v Romford ravens 102-0
Yep that is not a mistake, 102-0, biggest ladies Hammersmith score in history, and first time to break 100points! And what an epic score it was. Big kudos to the ravens who never gave up despite playing with 13 players in the end, however, the day was ours. First league match of the new year and we had a game plan knowing how our old rivals play. Plenty of blue ball and stretch the legs.
7 mins in and our first try came from Helene as she pushed over the line 5-0. 2 minutes later Michelle made her first of many long runs around the fringes to make it 10-0. A few minutes later came a trio of tries, another 2 from Michelle (1 converted by Onora) and 1 from Katherine weaving her way through the solid Romford pack. This was followed by an immense run by Alex, back from injury, although sadly couldn’t quite make the line but as she said, she and I are like one and I was on her shoulder to help finish her try, converted by Michelle.
4 more tries followed taking us to half time, one a 50m sprint from Jess (conv Michelle) and a fourth from Michelle. An awesome catch from a restart by Bukky (conv Michelle) who proceeded to sprint the pitch while everyone watched and clapped, and an equally awesome similar sprint down the wing by Annabel to score under the posts.
HALF TIME 58-0
A similar story was to occur in the second half. 3 min in and a break by Ella who offloaded to Katherine made the score 63-0. 2 more tries to Michelle taking her total to 6 and a further conversion by Onora and the score became 75-0 within 10 minutes. Jackie with her first taste of a centre position scored 80-0, quickly followed by one from Ella (conv Onora) and another by Katie. At this point it slowed down a little, but Jackie and Katie ran through for one more a piece, Katie’s’ taking us past the 100 mark.
The ravens pushed us to the end and the last 5 minutes saw us defend like trojans. We could have become complacent, but the hammers spirit did not give in and the match ended 102-0. Full time and a very happy Mark and Frenchie – proud of our efforts in executing the game plan almost perfectly.
A great bench mark score to start 2018 and to show our opposition that we mean business. I hope I got everyone’s scores, you made it very hard this week but thank you to Alison for keeping track on WhatsApp.
Forward of the match went to Carola for her smart runs and carries, and defensive play.
Back of the match went to Jackie, who in her second ever match played for the first time as centre and once realising that she could run through people scored an epic 2 tries.
2 special pints went to Michelle, one for each of her hatricks
After a hard fought draw away at Ealing Hammers were looking forward to the familiarity of being back at Hurlingham Park. However fate and a lack of hot water intervened resulting in the home fixture against Pinner being played at the neutral ground of Chiswick Rugby Club. Hammers on the losing side after a very tight game the last time these two meet.
Following a solid warm up, Hammers took themselves by surprise, having the vast majority of the initial territory and possession. This new found intensity from the kick off just resulted in confusion leading to a number of poor decisions in the final quarter. Eventually allowing the big ball carriers of Pinner an easy run into Hammers half and a simple 3 points.
A less good start from the resulting kick off and a couple of missed tackles left Hammersmith and Fulham back in their own 22. Despite and number of ‘body on the line’ tackles keeping Pinner’s large pack a few feet short for a number of minutes the second row eventually managed to barrel over leaving Hammers 0-10 down.
Being back in this familiar territory helped calm the nerves, the scrum and line out, initially under pressure, shored up. Resulting in good clean ball for both the backs and forwards to start playing their structures, despite the loss of the hard running Joey Graham at outside centre.
10 minutes later though , after a number of silly penalties Hammers were back on their own try line.
It was time stand up and be counted…..
Big carry after big carry charged at the Hammersmith line and each time they were repelled. Across the pitch Hammers players fronted up and most importantly went LOW! Pinner came so close that the eventual knock on was over the try line.
A quick scrum, pick from Tilbrook and box kick from Will Finn saw hammers jogging back up the pitch with their heads held high. It was game on. After some sustained pressure and a solid kick of Chris Jager Hammers went in at half-time 3 – 10.
Who knows if it was De wolfs team talk, the appearance of Captain Will Parker or Emmetts shouts of encouragement from the side-line? Hammersmith and Fulham stormed into the second half, the structures worked, a few big carries and a solid scrum saw them 20 feet short of the Pinner try line. Great forward pressure form a number of pick and go’s leading to the inevitable try for Zander Stephan on debut. The resulting conversion drawing the scores level at 10 apiece.
Hammers had the momentum, a few classy breaks in the back line and the ball was back with the forwards and most importantly back in Pinner’s 22. Again they had no answer to the pick and Jager got in on the action to dot down next the posts. A simple conversion and it was 17-10.
This time it was Pinner who needed a strong come back and they did. A couple of minutes in the 22, their big ball carriers sucked in the Hammersmith defence leaving a hole big enough for the centre to stroll through and score in the corner. The tricky conversion was missed meaning Hammersmith and Fulham had a 2 point lead heading into the final quarter of the match.
It was Pinner however who had the possession and territory; it was once again time for the Hammers defence to show what it was made of. Forwards coming off the base of the ruck, tap penalties and strong mid-field runners were time and again stopped in their tracks by players in red shirts.
As the onslaught continued the ref had enough, with the number of penalties leading to a yellow card for Karl Watson on debut. (A week before he’d been playing on the same ground for Chiswick but one night out the Hammers was all it took to convince him to come and play for the friendliest club in London!)
Trying to capitalise on the extra man advantage Pinner opted for the scrum rather than the easy 3 points. But with The American coming off his wing to help out on the flank the Hammersmith scrum held firm.
More ‘body on the line’ tackling in their own 22 resulted in a Hammers player down with a nasty cut to the head, everyone soon relaxed though on the discovery it was only Kane Hands. As a defence continue to hold strong tempers flared, punches were thrown. The resulting yellow card for Pinners tight head prop resulted in 14 men apiece for the remaining 5 minutes.
4 minutes of possession in midfield and victory was almost within Hammers grasp. One last attack from Pinner ended as the cool head of Will Deprez took a good catch under pressure, and cleared into touch. Ending a fantastic game rugby, where both teams walked off knowing they’d given everting. Although it was Hammers walking off with the all important W!
Final Score: 17-15
Man of the match – Mike Spurgeon, continuous and solid defence, putting his body on the line.
Tin Man – Tilbrook, manging to be punched by a prop and failing to land a return.
P.S Huge thanks to Chiswick Rugby Club for use of their facilities and ground.
Looking to follow on from a solid winning performance against Chiswick the week before Hammers travelled along the Upper Richmond Road to face top of the league Rosslyn Park B’s on their 4G pitch.
Continuing from where they left off the week before, Hammers started the game strongly playing organised and disciplined rugby on the fast surface which Park struggled to deal with. Ed Brown (9) capitalising on the pace of the ball to snipe from the side of the ruck and go over for the first try of the game. Gathering the re-start Hammers worked the ball back, through slick hands and structured play, to see Bob Davies (5) bundle over for his first try for Hammers in the 3 years he has been with the club.
Park responded the way a team that sits top of the league would, putting pressure on the resilient Hammers defence. Keeping them out for over 5 minutes eventually saw Park take a shot a gaols to cut the Hammers lead to 3-12 after twenty minutes. However, this pressure from Park kept up and Park ended up holding onto the ball effectively and scored two tries to take a 20-12 lead at half time.
The second half saw both teams continue the physical and expansive rugby that had been played in the first half as they searched to establish and capitalise on a lead. Park looked though as they had done enough to win when they lead by 23 points with 20 minutes left to go, however a well taken try from Shaun Curtis (13) and two scores from inform winger Leon (11) – one of which came from Ryan Kenny (6) turning the ball over on Hammers own 5 metre line and quick hands from Bertie (8) releasing Leon sprint clear from half-way – saw Park’s lead cut to 8 points with 12 minutes to go. Try as they might Hammers could not create the opportunities that they structure play deserved and Park kicked a penalty and held on to win the game by 11 points, 40-29.
A well-played game by both sides, but Hammers realise that accurate retention of the ball is crucial in this league to winning and couldn’t help but feel that they could have gotten more out of the game and look forward to taking on Belsize Park in two weeks’ time.
Leon Joseph x2
Man of The Match: Leon Joseph
Tin-Man: Seb Money – Leon scored hat-trick, touch judge Seb ruled his foot was on the line as he grounded the ball
Hammers began very well, with direct ball carrying from Tomos Edwards and Michael Cushion. Before long the pressure told and Hammers were 10-0 up thanks to tries from Jim Mitchell (showing that marriage infact does not sap you of any strength) and Jamie Drysdale.
A few lapses in defence however, soon led to us going in level at the break at 10-10.
The second half saw a high tempo set with both sides exchanging tries despite Hammers dominating the territory battle. A few stray final passes from the hammers kept London Welsh in the game and with 10 mins to go Welsh hit back to cut the hammers lead to 22-20.
Some smart “up the jumper” rugby along with the boot of Craig Duffy positioned the Hammers back in the Welsh 22. A couple of rhinos later Duffy jinked through a gap with the athleticism of a young Gary Player and touched down for the vital meat pie. A tidy conversion by Stiven Danby put the game out of reach from Welsh with 2 mins left on the clock.
Tackle of the game: Rory Newton dump tackle on no.8 approx 3 stone heavier than him.
Controversial moment: SBW denied fairytale comeback try (after knee surgery) by shocking referee call of crossing.
Try of the game: Jamie Drysdale from 35 yards out finishing off a backs move.
Man of match: Craig Duffy – providing top service for the forwards. Metronomic touch finders and spotting the gap in the 77th minute to seal the game.Tin Man: SBW for running into his own player and subsequently blocking himself from scoring a guaranteed try. Try Scorers: James Mitchell Jamie Drysdale Michele Borngorni Craig Duffy x2
It was a strong Hammers 3rd that took to Fortress Hurlingham against local rivals Chiswick on a frosty 6th January. Benefiting from a near full compliment of players returning after the festive break, it was a confident captain Steve Harris (15) led the boys in a warm-up characterised by the typical positivity and a forgiving demeanour from Andrew Rogan (3) directed at the highly skilled but low-functioning Billy-f*£king-Rylance (6).
After a delayed kick-off, the boys received the kick-off from a Chiswick only to find themselves quickly on the defensive. What followed was sustained period of pressure that lasted for approximately 15 minutes but was characterised by excellent line-speed defence and bone-crunching tackles. The second row pairing of Thomas Broadway and Tim Lawson was especially physically, backed up by a beefier George O’hara (2), who put his xmas-added muscle to good use by not taking a back foot against the direct running of the powerful Chiswick forwards. Nevertheless, after a fluid passage of play that saw Chiswick stretch the Hammers defense, they eventually scored out wide in a well deserved try, opening the scoring at 5-0. Game on.
The boys quickly bounced back. A short line out in the Hammers 30m mark was ably called, caught and passed by Tim Lawson, who passed to Dave Buchanan (9) in what would prove the start of a man-of-the-match performance at 9. Dave fed Jack Davies (10) who found the waiting hands of Mark Johnson (8). A swift sidestep found a hole, and after big meters he offloaded to Rylance who ran it further, before finding the waiting hands of Taylor (13). Taylor then ran it if from approximately 35 meters out, beating defenders to score in the corner. Hammers back in the game.
Two quick tries followed. Direct running by Josh Myers (12) up the guts from our own half created opportunities out wide that were exploited by Jack Davies to score near the posts. Minutes later a powerful rolling maul followed, grinding its way to the line before Cillian Bane (11) – in what was the first of a brace of tries – somehow got the ball and scored under the posts. 3-tries-to-1 up.
At this point the typical Hammers ‘forget-what-got-you-there’ period began. A series of penalties saw Chiswick fight their way back in the Hammers corner for a line out they won, before they spun it to the mid-field and poor tackling allowed them to score near the posts. Shortly after, a uncharacteristic miss-kick for touch was caught on the Chiswick 10 meter line by their 15 who had wheels. He then proceeded to carve up the field and take advantage of Hammers dog-leg defence. 3 tries a piece, with only the Hammers more accurate goal kicking keeping them ahead by 4.
Despite these setbacks, the boys emerged from the half confident that their skills and fitness would see them out. What followed was a brilliant mix of running Rugby and a score board that regulatory ticked over. Line-outs led to mauls, and powered by the legs of Simon Khalil tries were scored. Front foot ball led to gaps out wide, exploited by Sol Lucas (14), and Cillian Waldron (13, replacement). Whilst Chiswick did score again, to get within 5 points, the last 20 minutes saw a brace of tries take the final score out to 48-26. Full time!
In a season where the wins have been hard to come by at times, such a commanding performance bodes well for the second half of the season. Here’s to next week!
Hammers turned up keen and fired up for the first game of the 2018 fixture list, hoping to leave behind some of the disappointing results seen in the first half of the season. Whilst results hadn’t gone our way, the Hammers 1st XV were playing some attractive rugby and looked confident in all pre match preparations.
Following a minutes silence for the tragic loss of Old Ham Seamus Luke, play got underway
This continued past the first whistle as the Hammers dominated the first half. Despite letting in a try after 20 minutes, the Hammers bit back by scoring 3 tries in quick succession.
The first came after a blistering flat line from back rower Angus simply split the Belsize defence in two with as hard line off 10. Beating one more man and being caught by another, a one handed offload to fellow back rower Magnus put the first points on the board.
As if that wasn’t textbook enough, the second try came from another break of the Belsize midfield as fly half Jack used some fancy footwork to reach around the defender and tee up an inside offload to Lloyd Beeston who had one man to beat 15 meters out. In true Christmas spirit, presents had continued into the new year for lock Josh who offered a cracking support line to make it a 2v1. A simple and quick inside pass from Lloyd to Josh finished off yet another good offloading try.
Whilst still carrying the momentum of the previous two tries, it was time for the backs to have a crack. After receiving the kick off, hammers ran straight back at Belsize and put the ball straight out to winger J Lo who only had 4 men to beat over 50 meters. One, two, three, four handoffs produced an easy finish for the Hammers winger to make it 19-5 to the home team.
The second half gave little to scream and shout about for the Hammers. Belsize clearly had a wake up call and came back at the Hammers on a number of occasions, admittedly down to poor decision making and handling errors being punished. Letting in 4 tries in the second half left Hammers with too much to salvage but a try scoring bonus point. A late push from the home side wasn’t enough to secure the bonus point and the game ended with a flattering score line for Belsize to take home.
Final Score: Hammers – 19, Belsize Park – 34
Harpenden away next in a must win game.