Hammers 1st XV make it 2-in-a-row!

Saturday. Where else would you want to be but at Fortress Hurlingham ready to watch Mark Jackson’s tricky Reds defend their patch? 

As the winter sun shone down; the boys donned the socks of their previous clubs in support of the Movember charity foundation. Raring to go, the boys made sure not to stop their charitable efforts prematurely – gifting the opposition an early 3 point advantage by giving away a penalty for ill discipline, which they slotted through the posts – London’s friendliest club! 

Back to our regularly scheduled programming – the hammers boys marched up the field with a series of heavy carries from our pack, fast running rugby from our backs and well placed kicks from Ross Anderson at flyhalf. A well executed lineout deep in the oppositions half saw Bournemouth pegged back in their own 22. A fierce driving maul from our forward pack saw us unfortunately turned over right at the try line to everyone’s surprise. The first warning shot had been fired, the boys showing a clear indication they had come here to win.  

The boys bucked up their ideas and went again. Another lineout executed to perfection followed by some heavy carries, set the stage for some fancy rugby to be played. A well timed change of direction saw Joe Carolan getting to the outside and going over the line to open the scoring, also completing the afters – Hammers 7-3 Bournemouth. 

Bournemouth however, came back firing; some patient build up and a composed dummy pass and offload, opening a gap in the Hammers defensive line, their winger eventually going through and scoring in the corner – Hammers 7-10 Bournemouth. 

Knowing that they had another gear to get up to, the hammers boys bucked up their ideas and went back out there. A well executed lineout deep in the oppositions half saw Bournemouth pegged back in their own 22. A fierce driving maul from our forward pa- wait a minute… sound familiar? Deja vu struck as the ball was once again turned over just short of the try line, just as surprisingly as the first time. However, the boys were unfazed and continued to leave their foot on the gas. An excellent passage of play saw the ball go from edge to edge in typical Hammers fashion, ending with Tim Russell finishing the move off in style. Hammers 14-10 Bournemouth. 

The boys were up and running now, carrying  with swagger and ferocity; Ryan Powter sending the Bournemouth defence on their way with a lethal fend, a lovely off the cuff chip and chase from Jack Watters, the Bournemouth 8 couldn’t resist but join in on the fun! Kicking the ball deeper into their own half for our Northern speedster Harry Boyd to hunt it down ahead of their fullback and dot it down in the corner. Hammers 21-10 Bournemouth. 

The Hammers attack on fire, it was time for the boys to show the Hammers faithful what it meant to defend their patch. On the brink of half time, a yellow card saw the boys down to 14 men and conceding a penalty on their own 5 metre line. A quick tap and go from the opposition led to what can only be described as a willingness to win. Over the next 7 continuous minutes; the boys unleashed a brutal front-up defence on the opposition, driving them all the way back to the halfway line where they had to settle for 3 points instead of the all but guaranteed 7 points on their minds  when they thought to tap and go. A solid end to a solid half from the boys. 

HT: Hammers 21-13 Bournemouth. 

The boys took the field for another half of fearlessness, ferocity and the finest form of joué. Harry Scarr rising like a salmon to steal the opposition lineout at the halfway line – the boys quickly turning defence into attack with a quick inside ball to Tim Russell for a strong carry – a prelude to the most beautiful form of violence one could bear witness to. Josh AA lining up the opponent before obliterating the opposition prop, punishing him for being offside at the ruck. Our winger-turned-flanker galloped into the open field, stepping round the covering winger with fancy footwork, trying to run over the opposing fullback (the young man still clearly confused about the position change) before being brought down after such a devastating carry. A quickly recycled ruck and an on the money missed pass out wide to take out three defenders – courtesy of Ben Dugdale – saw the ball finished in the corner by Joe Carolan for his second of the day after instinctually quick hands by Bryce Morgan. But enough about the backs, that carry from Big Josh was really something. Hammers 26-13 Bournemouth. 

Anyway, somehow Bournemouth then scored two tries and a penalty (???)  they were pretty good scored too actually. You can probably go read about it in their match report, but this one  is for the boys. Hammers 26-30 Bournemouth. 

The boys now with their backs against the wall and not long to go decided to turn it up another gear. 

Patient and continuous phase play accompanied with monster carries from the forward pack saw the ball flung wide and destined to be finished in the corner – if not for a cynical deliberate knock on from the Bournemouth scrum half. The ref rightfully awarding a Hammers penalty try and a yellow card to the scrum half for being a hater. Hammers 33-30 Bournemouth. 

With both teams turning up the heat and the clock winding down. The boys were looking for an inch of daylight to put the opposition to bed with another score. But those opportunities aren’t given, they’re earned. A lovely chip and chase well fielded by the Bournemouth back row agonisingly close to their own try line saw some space suddenly open up. A 20m break into open field had the hammers defence scrambling to get back – encouraged by expletives from the hammers faithful and coaches ordering for the breakaway forward to be stopped – the 40 year old (maybe even older) man from down under, Andrew Rogan, stepped up to the plate stopping the big Bournemouth counter dead in its tracks, sending their player tumbling into the turf. A brilliant display of defence fitting for a game of big collisions and big carries from both sides. 

Our stellar defensive work all day was rewarded with a final try epitomising Hammers running rugby: we are taught from a young age that 70% of earth is covered by water, but that’s only because it’s easier to explain than 100% of earth actually being covered by Marshall McLeod and the hammers back three. Our Scottish import at fullback sending Tim Russell bursting through the line once again with a well executed switch. Tim returning the favour with a nice pass back inside to Marshall who sent Ben Dugdale over the line to finish off a scintillating move. Hammers 40-30 Bournemouth. 

With the clock winding down (yes again, I’m running out of opening lines) Bournemouth missed a penalty and the final whistle blew. The boys had handled their business and come out with a big win, hoping to carry on their momentum into next week. 

FT: Hammers 40-30 Bournemouth 

MOTM: Ross Anderson – orchestrating the ever potent hammers attack for the full 80 minutes (apart from the 10 spent in the bin) with a sensational kicking game and even more exciting one handed dummies.  

Hammers 1st XV Women put in commanding performance

After a bit of a shaky start, Hammers earn a penalty off an exceptionally dominant scrum. The penalty was kicked by Erin to the corner beautifully and Hammers have their first real attacking opportunity of the game on their 5m, After a well drilled line out, our 8 man maul gets moving. There’s nothing Medway can do to stop to forward momentum of the Hammers pack, and Emma picks her opportunity perfectly to dive over the line for Hammers’s first try of the game. Converted by Erin, 7-0.
With some hard carries, Hammers were back in Medway’s 22  and earned a penalty right beneath the posts by the pack absolutely demolishing Medway’s scrum yet again. This gave Erin the opportunity to kick for goal, the score line now stood at 10-0.
Hammers get another opportunity for a line out off a penalty kicked to touch by Erin. It feels like deja vu, Hammers are back in exactly the same spot for another line out opportunity. Hammers go for another maul. Expecting us to drive all the way to the line again, Medway bite in to the maul, leaving space for Comfort to peel off early and drive over the line. The ref couldn’t see ball placement and the try wasn’t awarded (TMO evidence would potentially disagree). Medway got a short respite as they get a goal line drop out.
But it wasn’t too long until Hammers were building pressure again. Some great carries and ruck support allowed Hammers to play the ball out to the backs, making some great runs near the touch line. Quick thinking from Aly at the ruck saw her pick and go before the Medway defense could get organised. She weaved her way through and stormed right down the touchline to go over for try number 2.15-0 to Hammers.
Tappers was absolutely everywhere in attack, filling in as a distribution option she shoots the ball wide to Camille who can see space through a splintered Medway defense. Her incredibly fancy footwork was leaving defenders in her dust and she gets our 3rd try of the game between the posts, converted by Erin, 22-0.
We go into half time at 3 tries up with the aim to seal a final one for the bonus point.
A couple of high tackles and errors from Hammers after the break gave Medway territory and a penalty on our 5m. They opted for the scrum, which they had much improved from the start of the game. Some clean hands and hard runs off the back of the scrum were able to send their center between the posts for their first try which was was also converted, 22-7.
Hammers come back. A scrum on Medway’s 5m line gives us the perfect attacking opportunity. Erin sees gaps open in Medway’s defense as they shoot out to defend and weaves through the line to get over the line. Yet again, no grounding was seen by the ref (TMO budget would be really handy right about now), and Medway could take another breather.
Medway get a yellow card for a high tackle, and Hammers have a 1 player advantage for 10 minutes. With one fewer in defense, Medway was starting to tire. Erin saw space back in behind the ruck and made a break for it. Even getting tackled wasn’t going to stop her getting the try she deserved. She picks up the ball from her own carry, goes again, and offloads the ball to Fizzy running a gorgeous line in support. Fizzy goes over the line giving us the try we needed for the bonus point. 27-5.
Erin seems to have had about 5 Weetabix for breakfast and is powered on some sort of jet fuel as she takes a quick tap and go penalty. Yet again shes running a through gaps between Medway defenders and pops it down right between the posts to give a her an easy conversion. 34-7 to Hammers.
Off the back of a scrum on the 50, Medway go blind are able to send their fast winger down the touch line for their second try of the game. Converted 34-14.
Final score was 34-14, and Hammers showed the beautiful rugby we can play. Everyone really stepped up on Sunday. The forwards delivered with some blinding carries, pin point jumping, lifting and throwing in the line outs, and one of the most dominant scrums we’ve seen in the league so far. The backs held their space excellently, ran hard lines and were weaving and stepping past any defender that would come their way. Our timing, depth and pace on Sunday was something that Medway could not handle, and it was an absolute joy to watch. I can’t wait to see what is next for us.
The 1s now have a 2 weekend gap. As mentioned before, the final 3 games on the year are going to be some of our toughest challenges. Its therefore exceptionally important to look after yourselves and for us to make the most of the training time we do have together. Please come down to as many training sessions as you can, it makes the world of difference to train with a full squad (you also get to see your buddies and you don’t get FOMO). Lets give everything at training for the next couple of weeks, and the remaining games will feel like a breeze.
Match pints:
FOTM: Lauren for excellent engine room work in the scrum and being everywhere in ruck support.
BOTM: Camille for some very fancy footwork and impressive defense on the wing
Coaches player: Livvy for running some beautiful lines and really stepping up her game.
Special pint: Steffy – we are going to miss you and your tries while you are in south america, but please have the most amazing time and don’t miss us too much.

Hammers 2nd XV come up short on the pitch, but win on the fun bus

Following on from last weeks victory at home, our 2’s set off on their first fun bus of the season and travelled to Romford to take on a team deep in bandit country. Essex.

The weather looked bleak, but this didn’t dampen the spirits of our squad as they warmed up with intensity and had that focus from the start of the game right until the end, despite the result, they made us proud.

Facing such a physical team, like Romford, can be intimidating for even seasoned players but we matched their attacking efforts play by play and every person who pulled a shirt on for Hammers on Sunday really put their bodies on the line.

The first half saw Romford receive the ball from kick off, and immediately bring that physicality. Our defensive efforts were strong, however a quick break from one of their speedy backs saw them put in an early (questionable try as everyone watching including their supporters are sure it was knocked on over the line, but we move) try against us. Bringing the score 0-5

We reset and go again, and after some solid defensive efforts from our 2’s, we manage to turn over the ball and finally gain possession, allowing our squad to make some magic happen. Our forwards worked hard, putting in pod after pod with some strong carries to make some space for our backs to do their thing with space and speed. Finally, a break from Natalie saw us gain our first try of the game. Score 5-5.

With the score tied, and not much left on the clock of the first half, we set to receive the ball and start doing the work to try and get that ball over the line again. However, it wasn’t mean to be thanks to some confusing line markings saw us just short of that magic line.

Romford came back to us, and once again our 2’s fought hard to keep them off of our try line for a good while, Romford finally put the pull over the line and failed to convert. The half time whistle finally blew with the score showing 10-05 to Romford.

I won’t go into much detail about the second half, Romford utilised their speed in the backs, and we just didn’t make the most of the opportunities we got. However, that said there was some incredible play from our squad, such as jackling technique demonstrated by Claudia, some incredibly powerful runs from the likes of Xanthe and Ottavia and new player Holly running on in the last few minutes and putting in some great tackles, showing what hard work and determination can really do. We didn’t come home with the win, but the fun bus was a celebration of all things rugby and I am so proud of the efforts of each and everyone of you and cannot wait to get back out there with you on game days and not be stuck watching from the side! Final score 32-5 to Romford.

We have a weekend off this week in preparation for round 4 of the Junior Cup, so make sure you’re down at training and have your availability updated for the upcoming fixture, which will be at home against Windsor.

Heart breaker for the Hammers 2nd XV

The boys born out of wedlock were at home this weekend to local rivals Belsize Park, who’s 2XV have provided many close and hard fought games.

The forecast predicted a dark and damp affair, but quiet the opposite was true. Despite the threat of rain in the skies, the heavens remained closed, and the boys were blessed with what be the last dry Saturday until next May.

Hammers had a bright start to the game. With an intelligent kicking display from fly half Ollie Weaver, Hammers maintained a long stint of territory inside the Belsize 22m. Unable to effectively clear their lines, alongside a string of penalties, the pressure was mounting for Belsize. A swift snipe from (myself) off the side of a maul, supported by winger Rory Nichol, saw a 2-1 created down the oppo blind side. A guaranteed try was the only plausible outcome, but a telescopic arm from the Belsize winger knocked the ball forward off its path. A penalty only was the call. Fortunately, with sustained field position, Hammersmith crossed the whitewash soon after. A right side scrum gave the 2XV backline plenty space to work with, but the space the oppo didn’t account for was behind them. A deft grubber kick from Weaver behind the rushing defence saw captain James Maddigan, more commonly known as Mad Dog, dot the ball down untouched for a try. Successfully converted. Belsize replied with a penalty kick, 7-3. The final notable play in the first half came from Hammers fullback Ned Russell. After receiving the ball from a set piece play, Russell attacked the line with menace. The first defender was dispatched with a hand off, and the second with pirouette that wouldn’t look out of place in Swan Lake.

After loosing a significant amount of blood through his nose, the authors memory of the second half is somewhat shaky. So think of this next segment as more of a tribute to the game, than an accurate recollection of events.

After a change of post for the far side linesman, the 2nd half could make way. Hammersmith began much like the first half, good field position through deep probing kicks from Weaver, Russell and winger Bryce Morgan. Field position was traded backwards and forwards between the two sides, with the Belsize lineout operating well and becoming a dangerous platform for the away side. Belsize tightened up their game to good effect, challenging the Hammersmith defensive line with multiple punchy runs. A few broken tackles proved costly for Hammers, with two tries in quick succession for Belsize. The two sides traded blows in the middle of the field, before a Belsize goal line drop out saw Hammers gain the upper hand again. A few slick passes left to right saw outside centre Ed Haynes collect the ball in space, and with an unexpected turn of pace, stormed down the touchline and across the whitewash. The score was now 19-13. By the final ten minutes of the game, the penalty count was building for both sides, the breakdown was becoming a messy affair. The final few minutes of the match approached, with the score line in the balance. Final blood was taken by Belsize, with a series of picks close to the line eventually seeing them over to score. Despite having missed all previous conversions, the Belsize 10 slotted the pivotal kick, pushing the score in favour of the away side, 19-20. Hammers didn’t have enough time to wrestle back the lead from here, with Belsize kicking the ball out to end a close and well fought tussle from both sides.

Next week, Hammersmith will travel away to Camberley, who currently sit 2nd in the league.

‘Mad Dog’ Maddigan x 1
Ned Russell x 1
Ed Haynes x 1

Ollie Weaver x 2


Ollie Weaver x 1

Hammers 3s Fall Short Against Rosslyn Park

With the world cup already fading into the memories it was time for rugby fans to focus on the important stuff, the Middlesex merit table premier. With a win and an agonising 1 point loss in the first two round, the newly promoted Hammers 3s we’re looking to put things right against Rosslyn Park.

As expected against a physical side, the match opened with an avalanche of big shots and hard carries as both sides looked to impose themselves on the other. Initially Hammers seemed to get the better of this battering their way down the field until prop Elias Pablo crashed over from close to open the scoring. Fly half Joel Mariner couldn’t quite get the extras, bouncing his conversion off the cross bar, leaving hammers 5-0.

The next minutes saw much of the same with momentum swinging towards Rosslyn Park who found themselves down in the Hammers 22. Strong defense was necessary for several phases before the ball was fumbled and quick thinking centre Guy Woodhouse hacked the ball up the field. Scrum half Jake Cheetham picked up the ball, charging up field, before offloading to winger Will Ridge who dotted down for the score. This time Mariner had no trouble adding the extras. 12-0 Hammers.

As the first half progressed, the opposition showed their strength again scoring two quick fire tries to put the scores all Square in the dying minutes of the half. The Hammers then found themselves with a shot at goal in the last play, with Mariner again slotting to take the men in red in at 15-12 ahead.

The second half was played much like the first with both sides looking to win the arm wrestle. Opportunities came for both sides but it took until the last 15 for Hammers to blink first and find themselves regrouping under the sticks 15-17 down.

Fired up the hammers regathered there own kick and pressed the attack. They pushed well into the 22 before they lost the ball and RP cleared their lines. However, a penalty then gave them a chance for a shot at goal, that could put them ahead. Mariner again stepped up from close to the halfway line but somehow found the woodwork again, bouncing the ball off the upright with a fine effort.

Hammers continued to persue the 3 points that could win them the game, pushing on in the dying minutes. However they were to fall short again with Park scoring in the corner in the last play of the game, adding the extras to snatch away the losing bonus point. A tough result to take from a brave team performance


Hammers storm back into form

Like every nautical epic, our tale has a terrifying storm, an old miser with one boot and most importantly, Victory!

Hammers set sail earlier than usual from the Port of Victoria to face the day’s adversaries. As predicted by Ed’s eerily accurate Navy shipping forecast, storm Kieran was prepared to his worst and the rain began. By the time the Hammers arrived at the battlefield the rain seemed unyielding. The field was dotted with standing water and even deeper puddles. Warming up on the 3G left the team drenched before the starting whistle had even been blown. But, that was where our good luck ended….. For Hammers were about to face their greatest foe; ‘A Classic Hammers Start’….

Hammers received the kick off and exited well, however an early penalty put Brighton into the corner, where several pick and go’s later they found their way to the line to take the lead.

Hammers responded with some good attack on the following phases and drove deep into the Brighton half. However, after a midfield fumble the ball was kicked through by the opposition and Brighton then proceeded to win the footrace and extend their lead against the run of play.

Play continued following the restart and things were pretty neck and neck until Brighton managed to stretch the Hammers defence just enough to sneak round the outside and add a third to their tally for the day.

The old foe was proving debilitating to the Hammers, currently 17-0 down after 12 minutes. Yet something was in the back of their minds. They were not prepared to tread the boards of Brighton Pier later actually being as big a loser as they would surely look in double denim. So the comeback began….

Hammers threw together some excellent drives and through sustained pressure won a penalty. The lineout in the corner was won after some superbly subtle acting from Alex Spicer (not be his last performance this day) and the maul marched on towards the line. By the power of some mystically unexplained sea curse, the maul appeared to collapse? Hammers played away and started to camp on the Brighton 5m. A few drives later Big Josh managed to force his way to the line with a rage that was only matched by his disdain for the weather. Carolan added the extras.

The second try for Hammers came in a very similar fashion, with a penalty once again setting the stage for another rousing Spicer acting masterclass. This time the maul held strong and the mighty Hammers pack drove over with Barry Scarr nabbing the credit. Another conversion for Joe.

Late into the First half Hammers were in possession around the half way line with the Brighton defence ready to take what could be thrown at them. With a move straight out of the Leroy Jenkins playbook, Hammers’ favourite adopted Northerner Tom Proctor picked and went through the middle of the ruck. Those old legs found a gear that had long since been forgotten as he sprinted towards the opposition 22. A draw and give on the fullback let the much more capable speedster Timmy Russell put on the afterburners and finish Hammers third try.

The half time whistle blew not too long later and the Hammers went in at half time 19-17 up.

There was a quick start to the second half and Hammers found themselves with a lineout on the Brighton 5m. This was to be Spicer’s ‘piece de resistance’. A trick lineout call and some more superb acting by the supporting forwards cast that sold the entire audience on pitch and in the stands alike, saw Alex Spicer make it to the try line almost completely untouched!

Brighton later responded to this opening act with a penalty kick that brought their total to 20.

A little later on Brighton were attacking up the far side of the pitch and proving difficult to control. Some quick hands and it looked like they were going to break away up the wing, but wait! What was that? Was it a bird? Was it a plane? NO! it was the sight of Big Josh steaming across half the pitch towards the escapee winger, he stood no chance as Big Josh proceeded to execute the most perfect flying lariat you have ever seen! And how does modern society react to such acts of vigilantism? A yellow card, I can’t spek….. It was at this point Brighton decided they had found a potential chink in the Hammers armour….and the penalty calls for a scrum began.

Although it’s always hilarious to see a winger try and be a flanker… Hammers were under the cosh in the scrums and were doing just about enough maintain their own ball. However this didn’t stop the Hammers from pushing ever onwards. A series of attacks later gave Hammers a break through the middle. The channel was flooded but an offload didn’t quite make it to hand. However, the ever low to the ground Ben Dugdale managed to recover the play and deliver a lovely little scoop up to Jack Watters who had the gas to finish the move and score under the posts.

Big Josh made an emphatic return to the pitch after his time on the naughty step with another great cover tackle after Brighton took a cheeky quick 22 dropout. His reward this time? A face full of mud and a period of short term blindness….Josh really hated the weather……..

Storm Kieran reared his ugly head again deep into the second half but that wasn’t enough to throw Hammers of their game. Making up for his previous error of not stepping a hooker in open field, second favourite adopted Northerner Harry Boyd finished another great try in the far corner. Northerners do like this weather….

Brighton, through a series of penalties, made their way into the Hammers 22 where they were to strike one final blow across the bow of the great warship HMS Hammer. Despite the best effort of First Officer Ed Farher making his debut at tighthead, Brighton managed to win their own scrum ball and begin their assault. The tight defence was solid and the Hammers held strong. However Brighton once again managed to stretch away and score in the far corner to earn themselves a bonus point.

As the game drew to a close Hammers gained a lineout just outside the 22. Hammers won the ball and followed up with a series of pick and go’s. Big Bad Barry eventually breaking the line and charging down the wing. A good connection with his scrum half partner in crime and Ben Dugdale scored the final try of the match.

The final whistle blew and the Hammers had earned their first away win of the season in an absolute stormer! The final score 41-25. The story continues next week back in blighty when Hammers take on Bournemouth. Roll on another epic!

Pop Quiz Hammers!

Its here – the annual Hammers Pub Quiz, raising money and glasses for a worth cause!

Get your team together, click on the poster for more details, and get involved!

Ecstasy and agony at Hurlingham Park

Saturday, 21st October 2023, will go down in history as a devastating day for most England rugby fans, as a last-gasp score left the faithful fans with a hollow feeling. It got even worse for the singers of “Sweet Chariot” when South Africa pipped the England national team to earn a place in the 2023 Rugby World Cup Final.

Going into the game, Tunbridge Wells had four wins and two losses; the inverse of the Hammers, who had two wins and four losses, making this an enticing 9th vs. 4th place fixture. The weather was respecting the behemoth occasion by releasing the heavens upon the hallowed grounds of SW6. New flatmates, Tim and Marshall, had a particularly romantic moment in the pouring rain as they performed “One Day More” on the ride to Hurlingham Park, where the weather remained very miserable indeed.

Tunbridge Wells kicked off, and it was caught by a sliding Harry Scarr before both teams engaged in some excellent kick-tennis. Joe Carolan delivering some excellent bombs with his now trademarked “throw the ball at his foot and hit it really hard” technique, which fired the Hammers downfield. Wells began the afternoon with several handling errors, and the Hammers utilised the opportunities with our former center turned scrum-half, now playing at 10, Ross Anderson in the pocket for a delicious chip over the top of the advancing Kent midfield. Joint second-fastest winger in the club, Tim Russell latched onto the bobbling ball and dotted down for the first try of the game. Joe Carolan conversion: 7 – 0.

The thousands of spectators down at Hurlingham Park really got to experience the highs and lows of the beautiful game as they relished in the ecstasy of a 50-22 from Ross Anderson, before flinching with anxiety as he recovered a Tunbridge grubber, dummied the chasing winger, and then cleared the ball (to midfield) all from our own try-line. After some uninteresting pressure, Wells won a penalty and opted for the points: 7 – 3. The weather persisted, resulting in more and more kicks as both backlines looked to gain an advantage, Peter Morris producing some fine nudges from his own 22 to relieve the pressure on the Hammers.

At the 20-minute mark, Tunbridge Wells had mounted an all-out attack for the Hammers line from a solid driving maul; they worked it nicely to the back, hit a good runner in the middle, produced a nice tip-on carry, dropped the ball, and allowed Scott Van Berckel to boot the loose ball forward. At that moment, it was as though someone had fired the starting gun for a 100m race; within seconds, the Hammers’ back three were flying forward in a perfect chevron, hunting the ball down as it thundered over halfway. Often described as lightning-quick by everyone, Peter Morris, Marshall MacLeod, and Tim Russell raced forward. The former honey badger got there first and demonstrated his unselfishness by slicing the grubber wayward into the path of Peter Morris. The Austrian playmaker returned the favor as he gathered the loose ball and offloaded it back, just as the Wells’ players started to surround them both. The passage was pure skill and just good rugby, not an absolute fluke that helped avoid an embarrassment for a spurned opportunity. Joe Carolan missed conversion, before rightfully blaming the post: 12 – 3.

As we entered spooky season, the Hammers were haunted by their discipline yet again. Wells took the points again: 12 – 6. After the restart and another knock-on by Wells, the weather proving to be their second biggest challenge of the day after, of course, the monstrous carries of, the newly unsingle, Josh Asafu-Adjaye. Inspired by Captain Proctor, the Hammers drove forward and won a lineout, a little too convincingly, and as a back writing this, Tonbridge Wells did something very anti-rugby: they didn’t compete in the pushy things after the lineouts. Clearly confused that their

forwards could think coherently, the Hammers lost their concentration for a brief period and allowed Tunbridge to gain significant territory, resulting in another penalty won in their opposition 22. It was in this moment that Marshall MacLeod (the Hammers’ joint-second fastest winger) suddenly decided that he was hungry and instead of opting for meat pies, opted for some cheese. With a man advantage, Wells fashioned some strong carries to score a well-worked try under the sticks. Conversion was good as the whistle sounded for half-time: 12 – 13.

The Hammers came out flying, gathering the kickoff and making excellent yards through huge carriers from Zak Underwood and Alex Spicer. Ross Anderson risked it all as he put his ribs on show to the Tunbridge flanker as Pete Morris skipped beautifully through a gap in midfield. He was brought down agonizingly close to the line. After a quick ruck, Ben Dugdale whipped the ball out to our gorgeous hooker, Scott VB, who dotted down. Joe Carolan missed conversion: 17 – 13.

The second half continued the lovely game of kick-tennis, Ross and Joe delivering some excellent bombs. Tim Russell caught a long return kick and was promptly decapitated by the opposite center, resulting in the ref dishing out the second yellow of the game. Even with a man down, Tunbridge drove forward and scored an easy try out wide, primarily due to the lackluster defense from the Hammers. Conversion was good: 17 – 20.

The Hammers faithful knew there was going to be a game on their hands now as the final quarter of the game proved to be a true cat-and-mouse story. The Hammers’ greatest ally on the day, another handling error from the Wells backline, allowed Pete Morris to gather the loose ball and offload to Tim Russell, who basketball-passed the ball to Joe Carolan, finally getting out of second gear for the first time that day. Still not flat-out, Joe needed the torque of the lower gears to leg-drive his way over the try-line to score. Joe added the extras: 24 – 20.

Hammers just love playing rugby, especially in their own 22, and delicious hands by Jack Watters and Barry (short for Barracuda) Scarr led to a knock-on by Wells well into their half. The scrum led to a period of stalemate for both teams, several minutes of high kicks and phases in the middle of the park. Harry Boyd (joint second fastest winger in the club), now on, galloped forward multiple times, striding into the open space left by the Wells backs, fleeing as the escaped convict he now looks like with his new buzz-cut.

Tunbridge used all of their tactical genius to pick-and-go to the tryline to impose a presence onto the Hammers. They eventually barreled a maul over, and the conversion was good: 24 – 27. The game really hotting up. After the restart, Tunbridge came straight back, relentless carries, smart offloads, and hard lines. The Hammers’ defense was holding out, but they were being slowly driven backward by some impressive phases. Tunbridge battled on, making precious ground with every carry, inch by inch they crept closer to the Hammers line before… HARRY BOYD! Now, when you think of Harry Boyd, you think of raw pace, a clean pair of heels, and dust trailing after him as he approaches MACH 1. Once he had gathered the ball from another Tunbridge knock-on, there was no stopping the inevitable: a 70-meter run down the wing and another try for the flying winger in his debut season for the Hammers. Joe Carolan conversion: 31 – 27.

Surely that was it for the day, and as the skies became gray, so did the outlook for the Hammers. Conceding penalties in their own 22 is not a good way to finish the day, even with outstanding hits from Josh Smith and Ryan Powter. Tunbridge looked to the corner to complete their playbook for the day, a rolling maul led to another forward’s try. It wasn’t particularly beautiful rugby, but it was effective, and the conversion rubbed salt in the wounds of the Hammers: 31 – 34. Final score.

Fair play to a well-drilled Tunbridge Wells team, who kicked skillfully and carried stronger. It was another tough loss for the Hammers to take, but some impressive performances from Harry Boyd, Peter Morris. Scott VB and Harry Scarr also had excellent games up front.

Man of the Match: Harry Boyd

Dick of the Day: Marshall MacLeod

Tries: Tim Russell (x2), Joe Carolan, Scott Van Berckel, Harry Boyd.

Conversions: Joe Carolan (x3)

Hammers overpowered on the road

Saturday 23rd Seotember was a sobering day for the men from Hurlingham, as they went down 41-0 to a tough, physical, cohesive Bracknell side.

On their arrival in Berkshire, Hammers were greeted by dry, warm conditions (which would usually play into their hands as exponents of joue running rugby), but also a pitch that, although in great nick, was suspected to be a few metres narrower than standard.

Hammers started the first half playing up the hill and soon after receiving kick-off it became clear that the narrow pitch had been a clear predictor of Bracknell’s playing style, with their large, aggressive pack picking good, direct lines off 9 and 10 and beginning to making inroads in the Hammers defence. Add to that a well-drilled set piece and strong maul, helped by some sloppy Hammers errors, and Bracknell were able to cross the Hammers whitewash 5 times in the first period. Hammers were disappointed to have started the game too passively, with their line speed in defence not sufficient to knock the home side off their stride and not causing enough disruption at the breakdown to slow their ball. In attack, Hammers lost their shape too frequently and did not keep hold of the ball for long enough to test Bracknell on the edges, where they are typically most threatening. All-in-all, a decidedly sub-par first half meant the Men in Red went into the break trailing 29-0, with it all to do in the second half.

After some calm but stern words in the huddle, Hammers were much improved in the second half, dominating long periods of possession and territory. On the day though they were just not quite clinical enough to make the pressure count on the scoreboard. A second half score of 12-0 to Bracknell flattered them, with a try coming in the dying seconds through the middle of a tiring, hastily re-jigged Hammers defence following some late injuries.

Despite the scoreline, respect must be paid to a couple of the men from SW6. Up-front, Josh Asafu-Adjaye and the timeless Andrew Rogan did not take a backward step all day (scrums excluded!). Kudos also to Toby Hiram, who put in a battling display in the 7 shirt on debut, and Ben Navabi making his debut at the coalface. Finally, best wishes to Max Dugdale on his recovery from a nasty shoulder injury.

All eyes now return to Fortress Hurlingham for a huge game against Marlborough, where Hammers will hope to return to winning ways.

Hammers back on track with a bonus point win!

Week 2 of the season was firmly in the rear-view mirror; the Hammersmith bandwagon couldn’t wait to depart and move onto the next week. Hurlingham, resembling the Serengeti more by the week, welcomed a Maidenhead team, high off the previous weeks victory over Camberley. Opposite fortunes in week 2 but nothing is given in this topsy turvy competition.

New week. New shirts. New Hammers.

Hammersmith and Fulham received the ball to start the game. Immediately deciding to secure ball and exit, moving the play into Maidenhead’s half. Rugby, especially in 26-degree heat, is much easier when you play in the oppositions half. This is where the first 20 minutes were played. Ball possession was retained and pressure applied. Hard lines and big hits ensued as the arm wrestle began.

Hammersmith was first to break the deadlock. Maidenhead this week were tasked with the difficult job of defending a centre channel from Carolan and Jack, both hard and surprisingly fast ball carriers. Off the back of a stable Hammers scrum Dugdale passed the ball to Tim; off his wing running at 10. With the defense’s eyes fixed on the centre channel Tim spotted a hole and turned on the afterburners. With Joe adding the extra 2 points Hammers were up 7-0.

Not content with the one try Hammers, more specifically Tim, had to have a second. The crowd had a front row seat as Tom Proctor rose like a salmon, stealing the opposition’s line out. Ball was distributed out to the wing where the defending winger offered Tim the outside. Worth mentioning at this point Tim’s new addition of felt boots give him an additional 5 points of speed, making him easily the second fastest winger in the club. Anyway, round the outside Tim went and touched the ball down just far enough out to give Carolan a tricky kick which he slotted.

There were points in this half where Hammers were idle in defense the wagon occasionally slipping into neutral; plenty of room for improvement. No doubt Mark Jackson and his coaching team will pull some more drills out of the catalogue to sharpen breakdown, tackling or defensive skills in the following week.

While I could recount the following 3 tries for hammers, it could be a bit repetitive, and the backs heads would be at risk of over-inflating. A special mention however should go to the Nugget, who dusted off the boots and earned himself another first team cap. What Nugget lacks in mobility and neck he makes up for with scrum height, providing a strong scrum platform for the time he was on the pitch. Before the match he was quoted saying “Rogan will have to play 3 more years to be the oldest cap for the club”. After the match he was lost for words… and breath… or both.

Man of the match goes to one of our new Aussie imports Ryan. While we don’t actively recruit to the extent other teams in Level 5 do, we never struggle to attract quality talent from Australia. Some we can’t seem to get rid of… Ryan led the charge in defense tackling just about anything that moved, a quality performance to defend fortress Hurlingham. Next stop for the Hammers wagon: Bracknell.