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.
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