Hammers are back!

Hammersmith & Fulham RFC is excited to welcome all new and returning players to our 2020-21 season!

Pre-season training starts on Thursday 9th July, 7-9pm at Hurlingham Park, SW6. In order to ensure pre-season is safe, productive and fun, ALL new and returning players MUST read the pre-season guidance

Hamtons renews club sponsorship

Hamptons International have renewed their sponsorship of the club for a further three years in a deal which sees them retain their position as main club sponsor.

“We are delighted that Hamtons have agreed to continue their support for the club, particularly during these very challenging times,” said club treasurer Chris Cuthbertson. “We look forward to seeing their logo emblazoned across our jerseys as soon as we are allowed to take to the field again.”

Youth section passing challenge raises £50,000

The Hammersmith & Fulham RFC Youth Section has surpassed all expectations in their Murrayfield or Bust challenge to raise over £50,000 for the Friends of Charing Cross Hospital.

Rugby stars support Hammers charity challenge

A whole host of starts from the worlds of sport and television have made videos to support the Hammers’ youth section challenge to virtually throw a ball from Twickenham to Murrayfield

Murrayfield or Bust

On Saturday 16th May, all the youth players at Hammersmith & Fulham RFC – from the U16s right down to the minis – are joining forces to try and raise £10,000 for the FRIENDS OF CHARING CROSS HOSPITAL

Charing Cross Hospital Covid-19 Appeal

The club has donated £500 to the Friends of Charing Cross Hospital Charity to help out during the Covid-19 crisis.

Charing Cross is our local hospital and has admitted a number of COVID-19 patients, with numbers continuing to grow. Like other medical facilities, they are facing unprecedented challenges and one way they have found to help is by converting their shop, which has been forced to close due to Covid-19 restrictions, to a distribution centre for donations (primarily food and hand cream). The shop is run by the Friends of Charing Cross Hospital Charity, and they are now giving away their existing stock free to NHS workers in the hospital.

They are providing free refreshments for staff and aim to continue for as long as necessary.  Donations have enabled them to provide equipment to the onsite nursery in support of key workers children. But they need to raise more awareness and funding at this unprecedented time.

If you are able to help in any way, here are some of the things they’d be grateful for…

  1. Give their social media channels a shout-out to spread the news of their urgent campaign by retweeting/reposting/mentioning. Please also feel free to add their details to your website/email signatures/communications etc:
  1. Share the link to their campaign to your clients/staff and on your social media channels:

https://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/charity-web/charity/displayCharityCampaignPage.action?charityCampaignUrl=NHS-super-humans

  1. Please consider donating to their campaign (link above!) – they are happy to give a thank you on their website and social media channels for any support given:
  1. Please consider donating any goods that can be made available to NHS staff via the shop. They will be happy to provide acknowledgement on their website.

20-21 league positions

H&F RFC Ladies 1st XV
The Ladies 1st Team has been confirmed as winners of Championship 2 South East. However, the team will not be promoted as the Ladies Section had already decided to decline promotion

H&F RFC Men’s 1st XV
The Men’s 1st XV has been confirmed as runners-up of London 2 North West, finishing behind London Welsh. Based on playing record, the team will be promoted to London 1 ahead of Southwold who were runners-up in London 2 North East.

Full details can be found on the England Rugby website

Portobello offers home delivery

Club sponsor Portobello Brewery is now offering home delivery to bring beer and cheer straight to your door.

Hammers continue their winning ways

 

On Saturday 7th March, Hammers made the coach journey north to play Welwyn in a rearranged fixture, the original postponed due to heavy rains and waterlogged pitches. Having been humbled at the hands of our Garden Centre friends in the corresponding fixture last year, this time round the back stories were very different: Hammers sat in 2nd place, chasing promotion, whilst Welwyn are in the dog fight at the of foot the table that we know only too well.

The weekend was previously earmarked as an “off week” and we were without a couple of first team regulars- those in the team fortunate enough to have other friends and a social life (or, in Alex Hart’s case, a date with a Granny). Pleasingly, the depth to our squad meant we were able to call up very capable replacements.  One such replacement was Marshall “nice tie” MacLeod, who pitched up dressed like a school work experience student, but will have impressed the boss on his first XV debut (more on that later). Iain Downie and Joe Healy made their first starts. The latter coming good on his promise to take Rogan’s position, leaving our club captain to supervise the valuables bag on the sidelines, a role he takes very seriously.

Welwyn kicked off the first half, playing away from the club house. The sky was grey, but holding firm, and there was just a light wind blowing across the pitch. A sizeable Welwyn support was in attendance hoping to see their team get the win to salvage their season. We had Ash. And it was the Welwyn support, rather than Ash, who had the first thing to cheer about. Ten minutes in, possession was coughed up by the backs- *spoiler alert- this will be an ongoing theme *. On this occasion it was via a loose clearance kick and the Welwyn back line countered. A neat chip forward by the Welwyn right winger bounced awkwardly, deceiving the chasing Hammersmith players, and he regathered before dotting over. Not a good start. On the Touch line smoke billowed from Coach Jacko’s ears.  Rogan had missed it. He was watching the valuables bag.

The conversion went wide- *spoiler alert- ongoing theme*- and play was resumed with the Hammers very keen to make amends for the slow start. Steve John, the clubs second best doctor, carried hard in his usual fashion and as the team started to play the structure, the Welwyn defence opened up. Prop Joe Healy found himself through a hole and into daylight, somewhat to the surprise of his teammates, but unfortunately, like several other similar opportunities, the Hammers failed to capitalize.

And Hammers were lucky not find themselves another try down when, amidst a pile of bodies over the Hammer’s try line, it looked like Welwyn’s Alex Gee-esque winger had grounded the ball.  The referee didn’t see it- a let off for Hammers. The smoke cloud above Jacko’s head was expanding. Rogan wasn’t sure what happened. He still had his eyes firmly on the valuables bag.

Next was another collective groan from the Hammers faithful (Ash) when debutant fly half Marsh took a hard knock to the head, and seemed to be struggling. Our physio assessed him and was happy for Marsh to go on. The referee, however, wasn’t as convinced, and requested Marsh to jog 2 steps forwards then 5 steps backwards, before giving him his blessing. An unconventional HIA, but an outcome we welcomed.

From this point, Hammers started to take hold of the game. An overthrow from a Welwyn lineout in their own 22 bounced into the hands of Steve, the second best doctor, and he had a clear run in to the line. Even the recently single Ben Hatton couldn’t not convert. 5-7. What followed was a frustrating period where Hammers strung together a lot of good play but didn’t finish the chances. The doctors exchanged offloads, and the second rows, Xander and Josh, carried hard. Cale “I’ll come back now Hammers are second” Holmes harried well around the rucks, and Rogan, who due to an administrative error had found himself relieved of his valuables bag duties, executed the perfect “plus one”.

Unfortunately, a rugby team is 47% backs, and it seemed their basic skills were alluding them. Whilst our props were plus one-ing exquisitely, a back- who doesn’t currently have a plus one- Ben Hatton, was struggling to master the simple hand catch. On one such occasion, the forwards broke in the midfield, trading a series of delightful passes out of the tackle. Up the field the Hammers surged, the Welwyn defence sucked in, the overlap was on. Scrum half to Flyhalf. Pass and catch completed. Flyhalf to Inside centre. Pass and catch completed. So far so good. Inside centre to outside centre. This is going really well. Outside centre to Ben Hatton. Fumbled. Normality resumed. Try of the season cancelled. This was to be a repeating pattern. I recall that at one point, the ball was even passed straight into touch- a back believing that thin air would have more chance of executing the catch than his outside man.

Anyway, before this report becomes more negative than Pete Benson at a toddler’s birthday party, and longer and more drivelling than an Alex Gee team talk, I’m going to stop “back-bashing” and speed it up: We went on to score 6 further tries and play some decent rugby intermittently. Second on the score board was Cillian Waldron who intercepted in the Hammers half. The run-in was labored but he made it. Hatton did not make the kick. 5-10.

Next was J-Lo, who over the years has scored for fun despite his unconventional style of moving like the knight on a chess board: 2 steps horizontally for each step forwards. To quote the man himself (as I can’t remember): “right hand side, 40 out, ran in hard, handed off their 7 in the face and just turned on the Nos. It was a deadly mix of power and pace”. The same cannot be said for Hatton’s missed conversation. Northerner Purv chalked Hammers’ 4th. Again, I can’t remember what happened (I tend to look away when the backs get the ball) so here’s his account: “Aye oop! Ball came t’Iain, who passed t’ ‘atton who fed me t’dive acrobat’cally int’ corner. Ta ta.” (that’s how Northerners speak, right?!). Not converted.

After the break Iain Downie got try number 6. The scrum half who’d moved house at 11am that morning, 1 hour before the team bus departed, showing similar quick speed of thought to pick and go, throw the dummy and go over the whitewash. A Hatton slice and hook cancelled each other out and the ball accidentally sailed over the posts for a rare conversion.  Next up was Xander who galloped under the sticks after supporting a Steve John break and offload.  J-lo scuffed the quick drop goal. Not sure why it was even attempted- a strong DOTD contender.

The last try was scored by yours truly thanks to some guile from Hammersmith front rower/ Tory back bencher, Jacob “Reece Mogg” Poulton. Hammers were awarded a penalty 5m out and jolly Jacob called a quick tap. His swift hands found me in-between two defenders. I didn’t pass (rarely do), stuck my head down and barreled over. On a very slight angle, 15m in from the touch line, the kick proved too difficult.

There were no further scores from either team. Welwyn found their second wind in the final quarter and, had it not been for Marsh’s fantastic chase back and covering tackle, and a couple of vital Second Best Doctor turnovers, they may well have pinched one back at the end. But they didn’t and the final whistle was blown. Final score 39-5.  The sheepish looks as we shuffled into the team huddle with Jacko at the end said it all- we knew we’d been far off our best. However, it could be argued 7 tries and a bonus point win on an “off day’ ain’t bad.

This past week’s current affairs have been eventful to say the least. With a pandemic upon as and with major sporting competitions around the country falling one by one, it may only be a matter of time before London North West 2 experiences a similar fate. In these uncertain times, this could be the last match report for a while. What is certain though, is that whenever we next play: Rogan will still know where the valuables bag is, Hatton will still be dropping balls, and Hammers will still be chasing down London Welsh. And we’re going to catch them.

MOTM- Zander Stephen (strong carries and hard work)

DOTD- Ben Hatton (see above)

Hammers grind out a win against a tough Luton side

Hammersmith and Fulham 1st XV came in to this fixture as the only team in the club with a fixture as Storm Jorge forced waterlogged pitches and sauce related issues in the W4 area.

With no Megaboss’ mega bus quiz to entertain the travelling bus, Ross Anderson treated those who could understand him to 5 fun facts about Luton. To translate, it has an airport and something about a TV advert.

Upon arrival the forwards and backs split in to seperate changing rooms, with the backs using this time to compare the bulk bought blue boots and share their industrial strength hair products. The forwards all sat in the corner doing whatever Joe Healey told them to.

Ben ‘the Hattonater’ Hatton pried himself away from the friend zone to join the team in Luton and got proceedings underway for the visitors. Luton retained possession before a sloppy pass resulted in Joel Caravan capitalising and kicking through. Unfortunately for Joel, the handbrake appeared to still be on for the motorhome as Ash ‘he’s me Dad’ Mitchell raced ahead to win the penalty. The Hatonater took the 3 points.

Hammers took the kick off and dominated the next period. Returning to the Luton 22, the clubs resident Georgian Alex Gee outpaced/boshed [delete as appropriate] his opposite man to make the score 8-0. The Hattonater added the 2.

The prevailing wind from the M1 was blowing in favour of the South West London side as they returned to the red zone. After a number of pick and goes, Josh McLean yet again found himself in the right place at the right time and flopped over from 20cms to add to his ever growing try tally.

The Bedfordshire side had obviously heard about the exceptional NHS talent in the Cockney ranks and looked to take advantage with 2 injuries in a short space of time. Unfortunately for them, the doctors had remained in the capital to continue spending their increased post-Brexit salary.

As the Georgian national team look to infiltrate the 6 nations, The Georgian giant proved the nations strength in depth. Just before half time, Alex Gee-nishvilli used the full force of his 102.6kg to power over for the visitors 3rd try.

20-0 half time.

The second half saw the arrival of 2 debutants in Rob Vaughan and Iain Downie. Vaughan made an instant impact, giving away a penalty resulting in the referee sending him straight back to the sideline. Down to 14 men, Luton saw the opportunity to capitalise with a chip over the top finding grass and being collected to cut the margin.

10 mins later, back up to full compliment, Hammers collected a line out on the Luton 22 to set up a driving maul. In a role reversal, the forwards delicately set up the foundations of the maul before the backs added the brute strength to force Lachy Skulander over for the try.

A few more chances for Hammersmith to extend their lead were not taken. Joe Healey couldn’t collect the ball from a blind side move, but in no way was this Healey’s fault and Anderson’s left handed seed was nearer the ankles than the clear target provided.

The match then proceeded to fizzle out with no more scores for either team however the sides were treated to a riled up Downie who arose from a late tackle liked a blood soaked Highlander before getting some calming words from his fellow Celts.

5 points is 5 points and Hammersmith and Fulham look forward to another trip north to Welwyn Garden Centre next week. Happy birthday to the Hattonater – hopefully your 27th year can bring an improved love life.