Hammers 4s 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!