5th bonus point win rounds out a Brilliant Q1

What on earth is going on in the house of commons… Another Saturday was upon us forecasting yet another train strike and, of course, a spot of champagne rugby.

The boys turned up rolling dice after the 2 hour, 20 mile car journey to Old Haberdashers’ RFC just north of the city; nevertheless, the sun was shining and the smell of the freshly cut pitch had the Hammers in good spirits especially after the miserable forecast given earlier in the week.

As Hammers ran out, physically prepared by Ian Burbedge’s S&C intern Ben Hatton and mentally primed by the Caravan’s wise words they were ready for the most anticipated whistle blow they receive every week.

Old Haberdashers came out firing down the hill with wind behind for the first half and Hammersmith & Fulham were shaken. Execution and ball retention lacked, and Haberdashers made the bottom corners a hard place to exit along with the helping hand from mother nature. With possession against the Hammers, defence remained strong as usual, and the inside-men quickly cottoned on to the fact their fly half was throwing an inside ball every other phase. However, as phases passed Hammers lost composure at times and discipline lapsed leading to three penalties all in front of the posts throughout the first half, all of which were pinned by the opposition 10. Hammers knew they had a game on their hands, and they needed to buck their ideas up – it was flat.

As possession turned, strong carries by Josh Smith and sub-par Pete Clark gave the backs a platform and it was flung out wide to the honey badger Tim Russell who marched the team up the right-hand side of the pitch into the opposition half. Phases started to build and eventually the whistle went in favour of Hammers with a penalty around the oppositions 10 meter line with the touchline in sight; however, some slick communication from Carolan saw Weaver’s wand fire a quick tap and miss pass to the opposite side of the pitch to Carolan who gave a second miss pass to Matt Killeen on the wing who of course finished strong in the corner with the first try of the game. At this point momentum started to shift and it appeared the Hammers had started to wake up from the car journey with another try coming in before half time as Marshall McCloud gathered a kick from the opposition on the half way line, injected his pace onto the ball before sending Killeen through a gap on the filthiest line of the season thus far:

The boys received a stern talking to from Mark at half-time.

Second half kicked off and it was clear birthday boy Ed Wynne who just came on as the impact prop heard Mark loud and clear as he caught the hanging restart from Weaver and went bulldozing through the opposition with no intention of any footwork. Phases built off this play with lovely edge to edge joué with strong collisions from Proctor and Hart and finally concluded in a backs move just outside of the 5-meter line with Weaver sending a miss pass over the top to McCloud who ran it over the line for his first try of the season.

The impact subs continued, and Bryce Morgan introduced himself to the game in style with a classy kick behind which was scooped up by Tim Russell who dotted down continuing his fight his as the third top try scorer this season. There was no doubt, at this point Hammers had found their Mojo which was misplaced during the first half and again continued to play in the right areas and gel as a team with great support play and lines being run with special mention to Josh Smith who soon bagged a meat pie under the posts off the back of some great team play.

As Hammers were getting into their notorious sixth gear, the game slowed with ball retention starting to lack off the set piece and some questionable decisions being made. A driving maul from the pack saw Ricky Drewitt presented with a try scoring opportunity once over the line, however with some angles not presented, he was penalised for a double movement over the try line. The bad luck then continued with a pinpoint cross field kick from Weaver finding Killeen who touched down before being disallowed due to an offside call by the touch judge, preventing a Killeen hat-trick in 60 minutes. During this period Haberdashers hit back with a great team-try which came from their outside centre and captain making a strong break through the Hammers and was followed with flooding support play which led to a try.

The fury built in Killeen with anxiety of jug avoidance and so it was time for the wheels to come out once again with a dash down the wing to get the hat-trick he was nearly robbed from; but he wasn’t done there, a brilliant set piece from the Hammers backs within their own 22 saw James Lo giving a perfect ball on the gain line to Killeen who again proceeded to run most the pitch to score under the sticks yet again for his fourth.

Haberdashers were understandably feeling the frustration after this and came back hard with some solid carries up the middle, and with many phases building they eventually found themselves on the Hammers 5-meter line hoping to finish strong on what now looked like a harsh score line. After many attempts close to the break down failing to penetrate the Hammers try line defence, the ball was spun out to the backs but Carolan read they were going to hit the big Haberdashers 13 and intercepted the pass to run 95 meters under the oppositions posts to finish the game.

Another Bonus-point win for Hammersmith & Fulham RFC, as they make it 335 points for the season and 5 out of 5 so far, the biggest total points scored in the RFU right now. Time for a rest week and some well-deserved TLC for the boys who will take on bongos bingo this weekend before heading back home to Fort Hurlingham to face Fullerians on the 15th October.