Hammersmith and Fulham 4th XV v Old Streetonians 2nd XV
Saturday 11 November 2018
A grey and wet Hurlingham Park greeted the Hammers 4th XV as they arrived ready for a crucial game against Old Streetonians, who were sitting one place above in the league table.
With the warm up done and a well observed minute silence for Remembrance Day completed, Matt Baddeley got the game under way with Hammers looking to apply some early pressure in the Old Streets half. Some very strong carrying up front was creating space around the field and Hammers were going through the phases well to continue moving forwards and into the Old Streets 22. When Matt Perry then spotted some space in behind the Old Streets defence, a well weighted box kick down the line allowed Kris Connor to race down the wing, gather and touch down giving Hammers the score their start had deserved. The conversion was missed, although touching down under the posts under no pressure would have been appreciated!
The Hammers forwards were enjoying a great start and this translated into the scrum were they were clearly the dominant pack. The front row of Jan Vermuton, Abe Knight and Mike Spurgeon nearly got what they deserved by pushing Old Street over but a knock-on frustratingly saw the opportunity disappear.
A turnover then led to a long kick down field, and Hammers, thinking the ball had bounced out, stopped playing. However the referee had not blown his whistle (and Hammers sub Chris Dale refused to flag!) and so the Old Streets winger raced up the wing, gathered and scored to give Old Streets a try completely against the run of play. A lesson in playing to the whistle all round!
This brought Old Street back into the game, and with some good direction from their scrum half it was their turn to play the rugby in the Hammers half. Some strong defence prevented them from scoring initially, but with the pressure mounting and getting out of their half proving tough for Hammers, the score eventually came which would see Old Street go into half time 12-5 to the good.
Some strong words from Will Parker and ‘Matt Kelly, mark 2’, Adam Nixon, ensured Hammers came out fired up for the second half, and Tim Le Breton immediately scythed through the defence to bring play into the Old Street half. Having eventually been turned over and a clearing kick taking play to just outside the 22, Hammers had a lineout and the chance to inflict some early damage to the scoreboard. What followed can only be described as ‘forwards porn’. A driving maul from outside the 22 all the way over the line, with skipper Parker gleefully touching down at the back! Le Breton successfully converted and Hammers were back to 12-12.
Hammers once again started going through the phases well and Jack Petchey and Will Symington were starting to come to the fore with some strong midfield carries. This created some space out wide and with some intricate hands, Kris Connor was over in the corner for his second try of the game.
With the momentum firmly in their favour, Hammers were determined to make it count and yet more strong work up front, coupled with some excellent hands saw Ruaridh Young, who had been carrying well all game, run a great support line to go over and put Hammers into a 22-14 lead.
A brilliant, long defensive set from Hammers in the middle of the pitch led to another turnover, and from the resulting scrum the ball was spread wide through the hands of Le Breton and Baddeley to Victor Alabrune, who had to gather well! Alabrune skinned a few men down the outside before cutting inside and feeding Young who crashed over for his second try.
That finished things off and saw Hammers get a well deserved victory, as well as the try bonus point.
Final score – 27-14.
Man of the match – Ruaridh Young. 2 tries and brilliant support running.
Tin Man – Chris Dale. For his honesty in not flagging the ball as out to allow the Old Streets first try! An honorable mention to JP for forgetting that a number 8 can pick up and touch down when over the try line!