Back on the home ground for Hammers, both teams were looking forward to a fast and physical contest, which historically has always been very close. A fine day with a bit of rain the night before, perfect for a quick game of rugby.
Early pressure with some fast work from the forwards from Hammersmith saw an infringement about 10 meters out from HACs line for offside. Duty was passed over to the fly-half Kiwi Josh who stepped up and slotted the first 3 points from the tee.
However in true derby fashion, HAC then returned with vigour and the next 10 minutes needed some stout defence from the Hammers. Some quick hands and strong running from HAC led to the flanker running over in the corner, duly converted by their fly-half.
The next 15 minutes were played end to end, with the bulk of possession being in the middle of the field. Some strong defence and running from both sides, kept players on their toes with no players particularly breaking the line or finishing off. It wasn’t until 5 minutes before half time that after a spell of strong attacking phases were put together, Josh McClean cross for Hammers first converted try.
HT Hammers 10 – HAC 7
The second half had much more action that the first, with the left wing for HAC crossing early following quick hands from the backs and a strong line break! This however was not converted taking the score to 10-12.
Not to be deterred the Hammers bounced back, stringing together a number of wide phases they worked them selves deep into the HAC half. Strong carries from the Hammers forwards created a miss match and numbers on the lefts wing, following some quick foot work and a well timed draw and pass from Hooker Rich Horsley Winger James Lo was put away in the corner. A side line conversion and another penalty from Kiwi Josh put the Hammers out to a 20-12 lead with 13 minutes to play.
With 10 to go a moment of madness saw debut winger David Bloxsom sent for an early shower after receiving a yellow card for a tip tackle. This was to be a pivotal point in the game with the HAC players “smelling blood” and turning their game on.
Good conditioning and some excellent support play saw the flood gates open for HAC, with firstly their fly-half running through a gap in the defence and dotting down under the posts. This was converted, followed by their Number 8 who had been a menace all game with runs forcing his way through a pile of Hammers bodies. Two more breakaway tries, one from their fullback and one from their wing which involved a line break and excellent support finished off the scoring, with them both tries converted.
Two weeks in a row the Hammers squad were guilty of playing 70 minute rugby and letting the opposition run away the game in the final stages. Huge positives can be taken away from the
140minutes of positive rugby, but a lot of questions need to be answered for the 20minutes that put all the hard work to waste.
Hammers are to face Belsize Park away next Saturday at Regents Park.
Hammers 20 – HAC 40
MOM – Tommy K
Tin man – David Bloxsom
Tries – James Lo, Josh McClean
Kicks – Josh Thomas (2x con, 2x pen