Hammers vs Rochford
The return of cup rugby called on the sun to come out over the hallowed turf of Hurlingham Park for what looked a tough fixture for the Hammers on paper, particularly given recent results from both sides.
After another great performance but tough result away from home to Nigerians last week, the Hammers were as keen as ever to get a win especially with the long-awaited return of James Smart to the starting line-up.
The Hammers came out pumped in the first 10, putting their strong runners to use and stuck Rochford on the back foot in their own half. A few changes in possession and some good defensive pressure from the home side led to Rochford making handling errors early doors, and handed possession back to Hammers pack on a number of occasions.
After a string of strong phase play, a quick switch of play led to debutant Jack Hooper with one man to beat in the corner. A quick step inside his opposite man was enough to allow a glamorous dive over the line for the cameras. 2 post-match pints please for debut try scorer… 5-0 Hammers.
The remainder of the first half consisted of strong defensive play from both sides, each exchanging big hits on every possible occasion including one particularly big (offside) hit on Hammers lock Ryan Thomson… thoughts on whether or not he remembers that one this morning?
Soon after, Rochford struck back with some good footwork and support lines in the backs, bringing the game back level.
It was clear to see the game was open for the backs to play round the flanks and a great chip over the top from Jack Hooper towards the try line saw the Hammers forwards secure a turnover ball 5 metres out from the line. No try on this occasion.
Second half started well once again for the hammers with flanker Magnus making a clever dart through the middle of an open ruck to create some forward momentum. A string of offloads and fantastic support lines from fellow gingers Hooper and Hamish ended up with the man who started the move, Magnus, finishing in style over the white wash bringing the hammers back level and into the game.
The latter stages of the second half saw Rochford take control and put more points on the board. Some great individual efforts from the Rochford 15 left the home team facing another defeat but certainly with some positives against a very well structured team.
Next week the Hammers are expecting nothing but a win on home turf in the league against Enfield, and will be looking to start a run of W’s going into the Christmas period.
FT: Hammers 18, Rochford 48