After two hard away games, the Hammers 1s were relishing the opportunity of playing at home and determined to turn it around and put a big W on the board. The boys had put the work in during the week at training and there was a good feeling in the camp going into Saturday.
The warm up went well and the feeling of positivity could be felt throughout, with the team atmosphere building. You could really start to feel that we were going to get the win no matter what.
The game kicked off and the Hammers went on the offensive, keeping to the structures and holding on to the ball to find their way into Enfield’s 22. A lineout maul saw the pack inching their way towards the try line, then the ball was released by Dom Woodfine at 9 and the backs were let loose. Some direct running and great hands resulted in Jack Hooper crossing the line, a brilliant start by the Hammers XV.
Enfield kicked off and again the Hammers retained possession playing some dominant running rugby. Eventually Enfield’s discipline let them down and they gave away a penalty. Si Doherty’s kick to touch gave the Hammers a lineout just outside the Enfield 22. The pack were feeling confident and after a solid take by Ultan Bruton, the forwards muscled their way towards the Enfield try line with a massive maul. It looked like they were going to go all the way but Enfield were eventually able to slow it down. The ball went out to the backs and Si Doherty, with some dancing feet, sliced his way through the middle to score under the posts. He followed this up by kicking the conversion too.
Then it was Enfield’s turn to get into the game with some fast pace rugby, some strong running and using the width of the pitch. This put the Hammers defence under pressure resulting in a number of penalties. Enfield used this to their advantage and were able to find touch in the Hammer’s 22. Enfield repaid the favour and used their sturdy pack to maul themselves over the Hammersmith and Fulham try line.
The Hammer’s heads dropped a little and they were unable to hold onto the ball which gave Enfield more attacking opportunity. They continued with their fast pace of attack and some hard running by the forwards. Despite some valiant tackling by the Hammers the pressure once again resulted in penalties been given away. Enfield chose to kick to touch and scored another try from a maul.
The half ended 12 -12.
Going into the 2nd half Hammersmith and Fulham knew they had to disrupt Enfield’s momentum and be the first to put points on the board. After 15 minutes of locked battle, both sides having had opportunities to attack, it was Hammersmith and Fulham that managed to come out on top. Led by the massive performance of our esteemed leader Rogan, the boys exerted pressure on the Enfield team and some broken play saw Ultan Bruton break through the Enfield defence and run in under the posts from the halfway line.
The Hammers followed this up 4 minutes later with another break through the middle, this time by Gee who turned on the pace to score from 10 metres inside the Enfield half. However Enfield were not done yet and immediately retaliated with a third try scored from yet another rolling maul making it 26 – 17.
After 65 minutes of rugby the Hammers looked to be in control of this game which was backed up by another try scored in the corner. Cillian Waldron made a break on the far wing and put through an accurate grubber kick which Huw Bowen managed to collect and finish over the Enfield line.
At this point the Enfield discipline began to unravel and the Hammers were rewarded with a penalty, successfully slotted by Cillian Waldron. The Hammers continued dominating and ran in a 6th try, finished by Gee. Credit to Enfield they managed to rally and scored their fourth try, despite some positive defence by the Hammers, with the last play of the game.
Full time finished up 41 – 22 to Hammersmith and Fulham, a much needed and well-earned win. With the victory in hand, the squad can now focus on the next two weeks to prepare for their next game against Chiswick on the 2nd March, always a big contest. The boys will be chomping at the bit for the opportunity to take a win away against Chiswick.
MOTM – Andrew Rogan