Hammers 1st XV show the razzle and the dazzle!

The morning of Saturday 23rd April. 232 days of London 1 rugby; 70km of “swings and back!”; 100 Litres of Lambrini. One final bus trip. One final 80 minutes before the curtain falls…

A packed clubhouse, and glorious sunshine reflecting off a sea of pink Camberley blazers, provides our backdrop.

After 20 minutes the home side are two tries to the good and, despite having a novice prop, are beginning to assert their physical dominance at scrum-time. The spectating flamboyance of the flamingos can therefore be forgiven for expecting a victory procession. Too bad flamingos have little sense of smell as there is definitely something in the air. A midfield turnover; caution thrown to the wind; a Matt Newman half-break and offload; a Pete Bicknell hard-line; the ball is spun through the backs, Tim Russell breaks the line and offloads to Joe “his arms are cold” Carolan to bring the Hammers back to within 1 score.

Three things in life are certain. Taxes, Death, and Rich Vaughan’s opposite number being the largest human on the field. The home side require all of their 10kg per player advantage to prevent the wave after wave of red attacks breaching their defences. Ross Anderson decides this would be the opportune moment to explain the laws of our beautiful game to the referee for which he is rewarded with an extra 10 minutes to prepare his halftime Braveheart-esque speech.

However, even the loss of their talismanic no. 10 cannot slow the tide of Rogan’s Reds. Alex “Money” Spicer, spotting the Co-op logo adorning the Camberley post protectors, flicks a switch and makes a charge down the left touchline. Only an infringement prevents a certain try but the next score is inevitable. Joe Carolan runs over some poor soul, offloading to a flying Vaughan. The ball is recycled and thrown wide to another honey badger, who puts in the “el ganzo” step, to score under the posts.


“Marry me Timmy Russell?!” pierces the otherwise deafening silence.

Despite Ross Anderson’s well-rehearsed motivational TED talk, the second half begins much like the first. Camberley pressure leads to an infringement and loss of territory for Carolan’s Congregation (it is after all his world we are all living in). Camberley effectively deploy their battering ram and lead by 7.

However Terry’s Troops aren’t going quietly and minutes later release their own devastating secret weapon (months in-development) and execute the perfect rolling maul. El jugador del partido, Señor Angus “El Ganzo” Marrón emerges con balón to restore parity. Alex “the Big Issue” Spicer emerges with a yellow card for attempting to save his knee from dislocation.

From the resulting penalty/kick-off the home side do what they do best, crashing over from short range. Another quick score provides some breathing room and the watching flamingos exhale…

There are certain, albeit rare, moments in life when three Scotsmen are better than one. Head Coach Jackson felt that this is precisely one of those moments, throwing on McCloud and Anderson, to join future club captain Stephen, with the instruction that “now we run everything”.  This tactical masterstroke is rewarded instantly as first Ross, with a poacher’s finish so outrageous it would be illegal within 50 miles of a game reserve, then Marshall cross the whitewash to bring Bicknell’s Brethren back to within touching distance.

The final 10 minutes sees Surrey Heath become Harlem, N.Y. as El Ganzo’s Globetrotters attempt to keep the ball more alive than the hills are with the sound of music…Ultimately living by the sword, can mean dying by the sword, and two long-range Camberley tries close out the game.

Congratulations to Camberley for an almost perfect season and best of luck for next year in Nat 3.

This was truly a David vs Goliath encounter, in more ways than one. Today Goliath had his revenge. However David’s time will come; he will be crowned; Jackson’s Journeymen will be back!


  • Carolan
  • Russell
  • Brown
  • Anderson
  • McCloud


Hammers ladies finish in second place despite loss

It was a glorious Sunday, although some (mostly the tight 5) might have thought it a bit too warm for rugby. The Hammers 1st XV were focused on the tough battle ahead, we knew from our experience 3 weeks earlier that S&E had a strong game plan.

Unfortunately for Hammers the 1st half of the match proved to be fairly similar to the previous game with S&E using their strong kicking game and quick runners to put pressure on the Hammers defence. This pressure led to 3 S&E tries in the first half and, despite strong carries, opposition yellow cards and pressure in the opposition 22, Hammers were unable to reply. There was another blow to the Hammers in the first half with Chloe J off early due to a bad shoulder injury (please see the whatsapp group for the x-ray) but luckily we could replace one Chloe with another and Chloe E bravely stepped up to scrum half for the rest of the game. The score at half time was 0-19.

The second half started more evenly with Hammers’ defence holding firm. S&E started using some ‘interesting’ tactics, including trying to take out our ladies director and incurring a further 2 yellow cards. They eventually crossed the Hammers line 25 mins into the second half through the a kick chase from their speedy fullback. Hammers were not to be denied a try in this final game of the season though. Our set piece had been strong throughout the game and we used it to punish S&E’s indiscretions in the final 10 minutes of the game and move up the pitch to 5 metres from their line. A strong scrum allowed Kaye to pick and go to get within a few metres of the whitewash. Then a quick red ball to a charging Hannah was all that was needed, no defence was going to stop her from there. A positive end to a match with a disappointing final score: 5-26.

Hammers still finish the season 2nd in the league having only dropped 3 games.

Back of the Match went to Chloe E for stepping up to scrum half after Chloe J was injured early in the game.

Forward of the Match went to Hannah for her strong carries and try scoring.



Hammers 2nd XV get pipped in the final

The day was Saturday the 23rd of April year of our lord 2022, it was a warm April day dry and about 20 degrees at Ruislip RFC where this titanic season decider was to take place. The warm weather was fuelling the high spirits, Nugget had even ditched his formal evening Merrell hiking boots for a more mobile blue running shoe, and Lorne was already looking for sun cream.

Despite Lorne’s best impression of a lobster the excitement was building, run throughs were looking sharp and limbs were loose for some running rugby! Mike Cook gave a rousing talk to get the boys in the mood, his hair was also looking lovely having spent an hour getting it perfect for finals day.

The game kicked off at 15:21:23 GMT, and the ferocity and physicality early on depicted what type of game this will be. The game was moving fast, and so were the outside backs, moving like a cluster of antelopes and lots of meters being made in the wide channels, but ball retention and ruck speed letting ultimately us down. The wind against us was proving an issue, with a few of kicks to touch going backwards.

The first half was a tight contest and only an exchange of penalties from the reliable boot of Max Dugdale the scores were tied at 6-6. Despite this his brother Ben was still giving him abuse.

A few silly penalties allowed HAC into our 22, and after several phases of defence HAC, eventually, broke down the Hammers defence to score. A questionable knock on may have preceded the try, but hey, there were three officials so they wouldn’t miss that right? Conversion missed leaving the score 11-6 to HAC.

Fluids were taking on and spirits were high, the wind was going to be at our backs in this half, , but unfortunately we were also running up hill. So it was a bit of a catch 22.  Anyway the second half kicked off in the same manner as the first. Aggressive defence from both sides saw a few penalties from both sides. The ref pulled the captains over and warned that he was going to start to look towards a yellow for anymore cynical play. Now, I was performing my duties as hydration manager at this point, but I know that HAC scored, I just have no idea what happened. Anyway the conversion was missed taking the scores to 16 – 6 to HAC.

HAC could smell blood, and their tails were up. Hammers were guilty of trying to play out of their own half and conceded another penalty at the breakdown. Some strong running from the HAC forwards gave space for HAC back to score in the corner. Conversion missed again 21-6.

Hammersmith rallied, strong caring from Jordan Abbott put hammers on the front foot, quick ball saw the fleet footed Ed Haynes stride over the try line from the 22. Dugdale slotted a peach of a conversion from out wide. 21 – 13. Hope renewed for the Hammers.

You could see the rejuvenated sense of hope in the Hammers play, strong carrying and the ball sticking to hands almost like something out of the 1997 classic Flubber (What a film). In steps James Laylor. Now he had been tackling with his face most of the second half and it was beginning to show, as Laylor came in as the arrowhead of the Jack in the Hammers 22, to then preceded to pass the ball out of the back to no one. HAC defenders were quick to pounce on the loose ball and go over for a try under the sticks. Conversion made 28-13 to HAC.

After seeing this Sandy Duncan could not let James Laylor DOD beat his. Sandy was after an award of any sorts. Now there are questions over what actually happened but with less than 10 minutes remaining after entering a breakdown Sandy Duncan left it with a yellow card. What happened will be discussed for many moons.

After several strong attacking phases from the Hammersmith an unfortunate knock on saw the full time whistle blow. With HAC victorious this year. Heads held high the Hammers left the pitch and won the boat race (which was the only thing that mattered).

Final Score: HAC 28 – 13 Hammersmith and Fulham.

Man of the Match: Alexander Chong Kwan

DOD: James Laylor & Sandy Duncan (Both well deserved).

Wordsmith and Vice-captain of Hype: Christopher Ralph

Hammers ladies bested by a tough Sutton & Epsom side

It was a lovely, if chilly, day for a double header on Sunday. The match against S&E had been a long time coming for the 1st XV with our match before Christmas postponed due to covid.

The game began fairly evenly with both sides carrying hard and putting pressure on the breakdown. The Hammers scrum soon proved dominant with S&E under pressure, even on their own ball. However, S&E rallied and used the broken play from turnovers to their advantage. Their backs distributed well before putting their quick winger speeding around the Hammers defensive line to score. S&E showed this was their main strength in attack a short while later with a similar score to make it 0-12. Hammers then put pressure back on S&E with penalties and the breakdown and from the scrum to carry us into their 22. Strong teamwork between the forwards and backs led to Alex stepping through the defence to score with Chloe J converting to make it 7-12. The rest of that half belonged to S&E unfortunately with their speedy backline gaining them two more trys before the end of the half. Half time score 7-25.

The second half started well for Hammers with strong pressure in the S&E 22 leading to Kaye crashing the ball over from the back of the scrum, 12-24. S&E hit back through their winger not long after though, to make it 12-31. Hammers kept working through the phases, continuing to put S&E under pressure at the set piece. S&E then infringed at the goal line drop out by having a player ahead of the kicker (we’ve been burnt by this before) and had the scrum upgraded to a penalty by arguing with the ref. Katherine, always keen for a quick tap and go, took it quickly before popping it off to Kaye for her to dive over the line and score, 17-31. With it starting to feel like the game was turning in the Hammers’ favour, we upped the intensity of our attack. Alex, having moved to fullback for the second half of the game, saw an attacking opportunity after a kick from S&E. A couple of steps and a kick ahead led to what I believe is our first 50:22 of the season.

It was a glorious thing to see. The forwards kept the possession from the lineout and the backline pulled the S&E defence across the pitch. Hard work from the forwards kept the S&E defence tight, which allowed the ball to be sent out to the wing for Ellie to dot it down in the corner to make it 22-31. Knowing there wasn’t long left, Hammers charged back into the S&E 22 with hard carries and penalties gaining us ground. Unfortunately the final score was not to be, with a knock on allowing S&E to regather the ball and throw it into touch. A frustrating end to the game, much like their seemingly endless supply of subs (there was a lot of injury time in this game).

Forward of the match: Emma for her rampaging carries and excellent work in the scrum

Back of the match: Ellie for great defence tackles and a well earnt try

Hammers secure 4th place on Old Hams Day!

The Hammers turned up on a glorious spring morning know they had something to prove, coming off the back on a poor result away down at Horsham, a result that was in no way a reflection of how the season had gone. On their part, Cobham arrived at Fortress Hurlingham off the back of a strong victory at home to Medway and were placed 7th compared to the hosts 4th place.  With a big crowd down for Old Hams day, the beers and food digesting into the veins of the apprehensive crowd, the Hammers started well with an eloquent kick return from Peter ‘fleet foot’ Morris who burst through the open space of the lacklustre defence to offload out the back to Henry Martin who managed to collect the pass and dot down in the corner after 10 minutes. 5-0 to the men in red.

Cobham came back hard and fast and after some patient work, managed to power over after 16 mins, with the fly half missing his conversion. 5-5. Almost immediately from the kick off, Joe ‘Caravan’ Carolan found himself out on the left wing in acres of space to cruise past the first man in third gear before putting on the afterburners and cutting inside in 5th to make the score 10-5. Like a well-oiled machine, the Caravan knew he had to impress, with a fleet of Caravans down to watch on the far side with a few plus 1s, wanting to show them what he was all about.

After some back and forth territory jousting, the Hammers kicked a penalty into the corner, leading to a well-constructed catch and drive maul before flinging the ball out wide. Up popped Tom Proctor with a quick pick and go, landing over the try like a flying salmon. This time the Caravan found his built-in dashboard sat nav and the Hammers took a deserved 17-5 lead.

Another excellent kick return after a lovely angle bending switch from Peter ‘snakehips’ Morris and Tim ‘Honeybadger’ Russell ended with a ball out wide, Caravan again taking the ‘goal-hanging’ plaudits, cutting inside and out again, evading the recent wave of Cobham stomach bugs with precision to dot down in the corner, another successful touchline conversion making it 24-5.

Into the second half and with a bonus point secured, it was an opportunity for the home side to really lay down one final marker in the penultimate game of the season.  However, after conceding some early penalties, Cobham managed to get their driving maul working effectively to score two well-constructed tries in quick succession. 24-15.

Back came the wave of red attacks, with Alex ‘Spice up your life’ Spicer carrying consistently well before the parting of the Cobham defence came, like Jesus parting the red sea, in the form of our very own man of God, Russell. Caravan with the conversion to take us to 31-15. Shortly after this, came a moment of madness by Prop Idol U16 candidate Jacob ‘One Blue’ Poulton, who gathered a spilled ball before launching it with his right boot towards the home fans, marginally avoiding a screaming baby. No surprises for the winner of the DOTD nomination.

Some fantastic breakdown work from a number of the Hammers men after a good Thursday night jackal session followed by a team social (but interrupted by an unnamed blond), and things were looking positive for a strong finish. Again, however, Cobham were only really interested in playing like that tight friend who never buys you a drink at the bar, and went over with another catch and drive maul, much to the disappointment of the fans who had come out on a lovely sunny spring day expecting some running rugby from both sides. 31-20.

More patient play from the men in red followed, before Matt ‘Knome’ Newman ran a lovely ‘Gregan’ line with the skipper extraordinaire who burst through the gap, carrying a couple of defenders with him before dotting down next to the posts. Another conversion taking the game to 38-20 and a very happy Caravan lady friend on the touchline. Some more nice play down the short side followed, again with Russell and Caravan combining before Newman received the offload and dotted down over the whitewash to take the score to 45-20.

The opposition then scored 14 unanswered points, but I think they were all from lineout mauls so not much further to add. A very good evening followed, as the touring blazers of HFRFC frequented a number of the local establishments until the early hours, with one member of the club posting on the club whatsapp group the following morning about a missing house mate. You’ll be pleased to hear Mr Howe, who teaches Year 7 Geography, was found without damage.

MOTM: Tim Russell

DOTD: Jacob Poulton

Hammers 2nd XV to play in the final!

On a cold but bright Saturday morning Hammers 2nd XV assembled at Hurlingham Park early, after a lot of players being taped together, Hammers launched their bid to make finals day and know Rosslyn Park out of the competition.

In front of an eager crowd, we received the kick-off, managed to apply plenty of pressure with a solid attacking phase and win a penalty. This was supposed to be sent up the pitch and into touch, however landed in the hands of the opposition fullback. After winning possession back a short while later a second penalty kick failed to make touch, this lead to dick of the day, Max Dugdale, being sacked as the kicker. The pressure from Hammers was starting to tell however, and finally we broke the defense with Ricky Drewitt crossing the line for his first of three. Rosslyn Park came back at Hammers with plenty of enthusiasm and the first half was played out as a tight contest that Hammers just had the edge going into half time.

After a rousing team talk by coach Alan ‘Nugget’ Jones which consisted of telling us to be better, the second half was started well with two answered tries in quick succession, but again Rosslyn Park weren’t done and fought their way back into the game but Hammers proved to classy in the end closing the game out with a final flurry of tries, special mention has to go to the forwards for a try off a lineout maul started outside the 22 and was moving at a pace some of the pack would normally struggle to achieve in open play. Also, the attacking prowess of Ed Hayes to sidestep pretty much the entire Rosslyn Park team, starting in one 5-meter channel and ending in the other and Man of the Match Emile Binse for demonstrating some of the flair the French are renown for and make some scything runs through the defensive line. Another mention for Max Dugdale sealing his DOD award by managing to miss the conversions you would expect him to get and slotting the more challenging effortlessly.

Try Scorers:  Ricky Drewitt x3, Ed Hayes x2, Rufus Falkner-Lee, George Nellany, Dermot Wallace, Emile Binse

Conversions: Max Dugdale x 6

MoM: Emile Binse

DoD: Max Dugdale



Big win for the might Hammers ladies 1st XV!

As league newcomers this season, none of us knew quite what to expect of a ‘home-based’ Hackney squad. Despite the entire 1st XV having to wake at the crack of dawn to travel beyond South West London (the horror) we arrived in East London to pleasantly discover that the grass could indeed be greener or at least softer outside of Fortress Hurlingham. The sun was out, the wind was low and Coach Andy wasn’t wearing shorts during the warm up. Already, we knew that today was going to be vastly different from the previous week’s match.

With the London Referee Society saving arguably the best referee we’ve had til the end of the season, Hammers infringements at the breakdown didn’t go unpunished and we spent the first 5 minutes backpedalling towards our tryline due to consistent penalties. With Hackney 5m away from a score, Hammers defence fully engaged and forced the turnover, allowing us to clear our lines and regain some control.

Hard carries from the forwards suckered in the oppo at one side of the pitch, giving Sirri the chance to spin the ball out wide. Deft hands from the backs safely delivered it out to Sasha on the wing. There was still a lot of ground to make up, but she made light work of this by goose-stepping her way around Hackney, across the pitch and over into the corner for a try. Game on.

Following a well-handled restart, the backs lit up the pitch with fine lines, accuracy and pace in attack. This led to Jess C smashing through the line, handing off several people in the face and powering through tackles to score near the posts. Support? Didn’t need it mate.
Chloe J added the extras and off we went again.

Hard work from everyone in defence forced a knock on for a Hammers scrum. The technical prowess of Hackney’s tight 5 meant that all scrums felt very much like we were running up a steep mountain in flip-flops.

Despite this, we secured the ball for as long as was needed to get quick ball out. Clever looping play got it towards the wing again, allowing Sasha to make another break. Tackled just metres short, a strong support line meant that Sophie T was perfectly placed to take the offload and dot down our third of the day.

With Hackney’s restart kick not quite making 10m we had a brief Mexican stand-off where neither side wanted to touch the ball. Time stood still. The crowd went silent. We all got a little more sunburnt. Fortunately for this match report, Hackney capitulated by touching the ball, allowing us to opt for a scrum on the halfway. Joy.

The brief rest clearly did everyone some good as we held the scrum and got the ball out, allowing Chloe E to run a clear straight line down the wing for our fourth. Boom.

HT score 22-0

It was great to be ahead but as the coaches noted, 40 mins is a long time in rugby. Nothing could be taken for granted. Time to kick things up a gear and secure the win.

With Hammers pressuring the Hackney attack, strong defensive work on the edges gave us a lineout just beyond the halfway line.

Ball secured, Sirri sent a well-aimed pass out to Tappers who smashed through the first defenders before popping off to Kaye who ran through the broken defensive line to score our fifth. Chloe J added the extras once again.

Good pressure from Lucy D from a Hackney lineout forced errors in open play. Another Tappers turnover got the ball out through the hands to Sasha for our sixth. Conversion nailed again by Chloe J

A break from the speedy Hackney winger got her deep into our half, but strong defence forced a knock on and a Hammers scrum on our 22. With the scrum moving backwards, Kaye momentarily forgot where she was on the pitch and picked and went. Through some miracle, tackles were evaded and following the slowest 100m dash in history, she crossed the line for our 7th try. Chloe J added the extras.

Securing the restart, the ball got to Tappers who (again) selflessly offloaded a cracking ball to fresh-off-the-bench Bukky who had a clear line to run in and score.
Chloe J got her points haul into double digits with another conversion.

With 10 mins to go, a beautiful catch from fullback Alex W had her weaving and dummying through the Hackney half. Drawing defenders in, she offloaded to Lily B who sprinted the final metres to score our ninth try of the day.

The closing minutes of the game saw a strong defensive effort as Hackney had no less than SEVEN attempts to get points on the board. We mauled, we rucked, Eve even threw her entire body under three Hackney players to stop a score. Final big effort from Tappers again who not only ripped the ball, but ran it almost 5 metres away from the line so we could safely kick into touch and end the game.

FT score 55-0

FOTM was Tappers for her try assists and superhuman defensive effort

BOTM was Sirri for her clever control of the backline and great decision-making

Tries x 9
Bukky x 1
Chloe E x 1
Jess C x 1
Kaye x 2
Lily x 1
Sasha x 2
Sophie T x 1

Conversions x 5
Chloe J x 5












Hammers Ladies get the double over the Old Enemy!

Spared rain on Sunday, it was still a chilly day up at Hampstead Heath where the Hammers ladies took on their long term rivals Hampstead. Conditions weren’t ideal with a boggy pitch underfoot, but given concerns earlier in the week we were glad to have both pitch and referee available so we could get playing!

Hampstead have been opposition in our league for many years now so we know they are dangerous at home. They proved this in the first 20 minutes, taking advantage of handling errors to push their way towards our line. After ferocious defence from Hammers, Hampstead eventually dived over to score the first points of the day.  They missed their conversion to make it 0-5. Hammers refocused under the posts and immediately put Hampstead under pressure in their half. Hard carries from the forwards pulled their pack in, before the backs got in on the action to send Maddie in to level the score. The rest of the first half remained attritional with neither team gaining the upper hand. Things stood all square at the half time whistle 5-5.

To keep the pressure on the scoreboard, Chloe J kicked a penalty early in the first half to give Hammers a 3 point lead, 8-5. Hampstead had the chance to even the score a few minutes later but their kick was slightly less accurate, allowing Hammers to clear the line. After that Hammers kept the pressure on with excellent strength in the scrum from the pack and probing kicks from Alex’s boot. A strong carry from Hannah in the Hampstead 22 set up a lovely phase of attack with a couple of hammer balls carrying us to within 5 metres of the line. A great line from Alex saw her held just underneath the posts, setting back the ball perfectly for Carola to leap (literally) over the line for our second try. Conversion was good from Monica, 15-5 It wasn’t long before we were scoring again, this time with Sophie stealing the ball from Hampstead on their own 5 metre line and sneaking over for the try. Again a great conversion from Monica, 22-5, and now Hammers were in the hunt for that extra bonus point try. Unfortunately, it wasn’t to be. The cold and wind leading to a few handling errors and strong defence from Hampstead, meant that we were denied that bonus point win we all wanted. Final score 22-5.

Forward of the match was Carola for her great work around the park, strength in the scrum and excellent try scoring

Back of the match was Ella for her strong carries and awesome work in defense

Hammers 1st XV Ladies show their utter class!

What a glorious day of rugby!

The sun was shining down on Fortress Hurlingham yesterday when the teams arrived to warm up. A warm up which was extended when the ref’s arrival was slightly delayed. But this delay didn’t impact the Hammers’ preparation, the team remaining focused, knowing that we needed to bring the intensity from the first whistle. And bring it we did with Kaye smashing her way over the Wimbledon line within the first 5 minutes. A lovely conversion by Chloe J was followed up by an equally lovely penalty kick to keep the scoreboard pressure on Wimbledon at 10-0. Hammers didn’t let up there with sustained pressure on the Wimbledon defense (including what was definitely a try by Katherine) ending with Ella crossing the whitewash, converted by Chloe to make it 17-0. Chloe E was next to get in on the action with her fast feet dancing past the Wimbledon backs to give us a 24-0 lead with Chloe J’s conversion. Strong work from the Hammers scrum put Wimbledon under more pressure in their own half and getting the ball to within a metre of the line. Strong pick and go work from the forwards ended with Charlotte hammering the ball over for a lovely score to end the first half 31-0.

The second half began as the first half finished with Chloe J this time the one to make the score. Hammers kept piling the pressure on in the Wimbledon half with excellent scrums and strong work in the breakdown keeping our ball secure. This pressure told with Tappers launching across the line to score, more than making up for her denied try in our last match. A conversion from Chloe J making it 43-0. Our discipline started to fray slightly in the last 10 minutes of the game with Wimbledon getting several penalties in a row, allowing  them to make ground into the Hammers 22. After an incredible defensive effort on the line, including a great Chloe E tackle that stopped a certain try, Wimbledon eventually managed to cross the line to score. Final score 43-5.

Forward(s) of the match – Fred and Candace for incredible work rates, strong carries and tackling

Back of the match – Chloe E for great kick chasing and follow up tackles to help keep the pressure on Wimbledon

Hammers Ladies secure come-from-behind win against Medway!

Sunday started well for the 1s with the Eight Bells putting on bacon butties to provide energy for the coach ride to Medway. Once we arrived we were greeted with bright sunshine and what felt like the beginning of a hurricane. As usual we were relegated to the child size pitch on top of the hill so there was no protection from the gale. We won the toss and decided to play into the wind and uphill to begin with, knowing that this would give us a strong advantage in the second half.

Medway kicked to us to begin the game and immediately trapped us in our half. The strong wind made it difficult for Chloe J to clear our lines and their strong running 12 put our defensive line under pressure. This pressure eventually told as Medway crashed over our line to make it 5-0. We put Medway straight under pressure with the next kick off and hammered towards their try line, however we were unable to retain control of the ball and Medway put us on the back foot as they took advantage of the conditions to trap us back in our half. Once again the pressure told and Medway managed to score and convert to make it 12-0. Half time.

aThe half time chat was clear and focused. We knew we needed to step up and we knew we had all the advantages of the conditions to close the gap. Chloe J pinned Medway back in their half at every penalty and the Hammers forwards piled on the pressure in the scrum. A scrum on the 5 metre led to a Kaye pick and go. From there the forwards hammered the line before Emma smashed her way through to make it 12-5. Another penalty 15 minutes later saw a line out 5 metres out from the Medway line. Given the windy conditions a cancel ball was called that caught Medway by surprise. Georgie and Carola made ground in the channel before Kaye dived over for the score. 12-12 with an excellent conversion from Chloe J. It was tense on the field but we knew we had the momentum behind us. Sustained pressure from Hammers over the ball and at the set piece meant that we were soon pressuring the Medway line again. Great teamwork was finished off once again by Kaye to make it 12-17!

Feeling like we had the bonus point in our grasp, and knowing there was less than 10 minutes left, Hammers went straight back at Medway from the kick off. Our strong carries told and soon we were within metres of the try line. A strong carry from Tappers bounced off the referee and over the line with Medway players piling on top of her. Much to Hammers frustration the referee pointed out he got in the way of the defensive line and then blew the final whistle rather than allowing the usual restart from that position.

A frustrating end to a well earned win but we will carry that frustration and desire to keep scoring into our next match against Wimbledon in two weeks time.