The first major test for the H&F 2XV came in the form of Hampstead 2XV travelling down to hurlingham park on a wet Saturday afternoon. Both had started the season in fine form winning all their games with bonus point victories…… this was going to be a bruiser!
The Hammers 2XV were already weakened with the news of a new coach and a new captain, resembling an act of dumb and dumber in James “not sure if you know I’m injured” Cramp and Taylor “limited vocabulary” Williams. The preparation started poorly with the new coach realising none of the squad had listened to his request of picking the kit up from Mcgettigans, and with the help of Slade “pretentious” Buchner the uber bills began to rack up on the one-legged coach.
The warm up was slick and effective with Angus “Jonny May” Lean and Tim “Vunipola” Macnaughton getting the troops going. Ed “Grandad” Clark was getting the backs fired up, rumour has it he is now the 3rd best 9 at the club…. Not the best way to treat your elders.
The game kicked off and Hammers had started very well, utilising the structures that have been put in place this season, the scrum setting a good platform for our talented backs to run from. Sustained pressure led to a successful penalty kick from Jack “not quite Wilkinson” Davies.
Shortly after this there was a horrific injury to the Hampstead centre who had already made some very good inroads to our half. Our thoughts and best wishes are with the Hampstead player in his recovery from this injury!
This understandably spurred Hampstead on, and they were fighting well for their friend, displaying some very abrasive and constructive rugby. They took a 10-3 lead at half time.
Words of wisdom were flying around at half time, with a lot of the experienced players chipping in with the systems we should be doing, the main one being the forwards needing to dominate the contact area and rucks. Nick “also loves a golf cart” Powell getting riled and putting the frighteners up the boys, nobody wanted to see him on the Fulham palace road in a golf buggy.
The second half started, and Hammers began to control the game, utilising the structures well again and beginning to spread the ball through the hands which was impressive in difficult conditions. 10 minutes into the second half and 4 changes were made, with Rhys “Statham” Williams, Dom “Peel” Woodfine, Ed “I’m a 10 not a 15” James and Slade “pretentious” Buchner entering the fray and making big impacts.
The first big of magic of the day from Casey “strictly come dancing” Dennis, made some space out of nothing and fed Lean for the Hammers first try of the day. Not long after this Dennis made another fantastic break, which had the fans on the side-line holding up the 10 signs for his showstopping footwork, another try, and the hammers were 15-10 to the good.
Hampstead rallied, they decided to tighten up and really take the fight to us, resulting in a Chad “3 birds fighting over me” Buchner receiving the sin bin, luckily none of these girls were waiting for him…. Hampstead then scored from the resulting line out, with their kicker nailing a difficult conversion.
17-15 with 3 minutes to play! The Hammers kicked the ball well at the kick off and won a very effective turnover within the Hampstead half. The kick was tough, but one which would win us the game. Did Davies, who had missed pretty much everything all day, have it in him to make the kick…… of course he did, backing himself and producing a superb match winning kick! The sideline was going crazy with the 10s raised once again, Dennis ears had pricked noticing this, but unfortunately this wasn’t for him.
The match finished with a hard thought win for the Hammers 2XV, a first competitive win for Williams as captain and Cramp as coach! The boys were coming down the tunnel with a lot of energy and joy, even Grandad Clark managed a DAB! A fantastic way to end the game.
Again, we wish the Hampstead player who suffered the injury all the best in his recovery and look forward to facing them again later in the season.
MOM – Casey Dennis
DOTD – Chad Buchner
Debuts – Alex Peers, Chris Appleyard, Ed James