Over the past two seasons, the Hammers Vets side has quietly been enjoying a resurgence following the creation of a new Vets Middlesex Merit Table. It has led to the return of some big names synonymous with the glory years in the noughties, playing alongside those who saw active service in the 90s. Names such as Clarke, Furniss, Lines, Campbell, Rumble and Hunt are back down as regular names on the team sheet. As games are played on Friday nights, it means those who are fit and able, but also with weekend family commitments, can sneak a game and a load of beers in with fellow Hammer comrades once a month.
Having come runners up to a strong Ealing team last season, the Vets have started the 2017/18 campaign strongly, winning their first two matches in style against London French and Teddington. Last Friday, it was the turn of Grasshoppers, played under the lights of the vets new home ground, Allianz Park. The stadium now has two teams of galacticos plying their trade on its hallowed north London astro-turf.
Now if truth be told, Kim Jong Rogan was initially assigned the task to attend the match and take some notes on who scored etc and include a bit of a running commentary, primarily based on the fact he wouldn’t have made the side, however as he only arrived with ten minutes left on the clock, details in the following report are lacking. However at half time, the Vets found themselves up 20 points to 8, despite a frantic and poorly controlled start to the game, probably as a result lingering Christmas fatigue, and with Grasshoppers running some strong lines off a decent backrow/halfback combination.
In the second half, Hammers eventually started to take control of proceedings, helped in part by a decent bench, and further aided by Tom Parkinson scoring four tries. This included two where he ran pretty much the length of the pitch, as well as one or two other moments of magic involving much of the back line.
What was even more surprising, almost suspicious, was the fact that Ryan Dilley, who usually averages 2 tries a game, failed to chalk up a single point. Jury is still out on this phenomenon, but one can only assume he’s got tied up in some dodgy Asian betting syndicate and was trying to hinder the Hammers win. The vets ended the game victorious with a 58 – 8 win, particularly pleasing to the young whippersnapper Blyghts, and the squad look forward to the next game and beers at Staines on Friday 9th February.
For his lack of enthusiasm, and failure to score a single point Dilley was awarded Tin Man, whilst MOM went jointly to Parko and the vets very own Benjamin Button, Sly, who both put in a sterling 80 minutes in the centres. An honourable mention must also go to Ed Clark and his colleagues at Saracens for hosting us once again.
Should you want to get involved with the vets, and fancy a run, please email Adam Jones on email@example.com. Not only do the vets have additional league fixtures coming up this season, but plans are afoot for an over 45s game on Old Hams day on 14th April.