Hammers their own worst enemy against a hungry Horsham

Hammersmith and Fulham RFC – the 1s and 2s – travelled to Horsham for their second last match of the 2023-24 season, and after enduring a brief but very intense hailstorm in one of their more unusual warm-ups they took to the field full of energy and determined to achieve their first win in since Marlborough.

The Hammers were facing a home side that, after having their relegation confirmed the previous week due to a bit result, were playing their last home match of the season. On the Hammers side, the boys were keen to put in a performance and show they had teh skills and ability of a club that deserved to play level 5.  

It was a game of 2 halves, with the first being a tale of strong defence but muddled and inconsistent attack, but the 2nd showing that the boys were lethal in attack, but foiled by their old enemy – penalties, ill-discipline, and mental lapses.

Starved of ball, for the 1st 30 minutes, the Hammers bravely kept a hungry Horsham tryless.  Time and again, the Horsham forwards powered towards the Hammers line, only to met by a resolute defence and an efficient set piece.  Unfortunately, the lack of accuracy in attack and constant penalties for high tackles – 5 in the first half alone – revealed a Hammers team that was lacking cohesion, and getting inside their own heads.  Eventually, Horsham’s constant probing paid off, probing outside the 15, and going wide off multiphase play and finding space.  Twice they would exploit that overlaps and poor tackling to run in tries, before powering over under the posts for a 3rd try shortly before half time.  The Hammers were yet to get on the board, and the boys were frustrated.

It took until the 50th minute for the boys to get off the bus, when Hammers star winger Tim ‘Le Snack’ Russell hit a devastating line off a first-phase backs move and raced clear of the covering defence to score Hammer’s first try of the game, and Timmy’s 18th of the season. Score? 22-7 on the scoreboard and – according to Timmy – a typical example of Tim “dragging his teammates from their stupor to ignite a fightback, as he has done so often this season” (spoken in 3rd person). 

Hammers suffered a tough blow when the heart and soul of the side, James ‘Mad Dog’ Madigan, in one of his last matches before departing for Paris next season, absolutely butchered a 3 v 1, taking the ball into contact with the sole defender and upon realising his error decided to stay prone and feign an injury to his knee. Karma was to come for him later that evening when the bus driver decided to test his brakes whilst James was giving it the beans at the front with an unrequested stand-up routine. Rumour has it Bastards skipper Jack Watters had slipped the bus driver a tenner…

With Hammers trailing by 3 scores and chasing the game hard, mistakes ensued and Horsham were more than capable of taking advantage of these. The two sides traded blows, with who else but Timmy – matching his own club record with his 19th score of the season – after some great passing put Marshall MacLeod and then Joe Carolan into space, before Joe fed Timmy for yet another meat pie. Tim’s 19 scores leave him joint top of the league in this regard, at the time of writing, and in such scintillating form it would be a brave man to bet against him getting a hattrick against Welsh, for the second time this season, and securing the try-scoring title. 

 To mark his generosity and the breadth of his skillset, after making yet another break down his wing, Tim Russell threw an audacious offload back inside to centre MacLeod, and he scampered over the line to gratefully dot down for his first try of the season before quickly slotting the conversion as time pressed on and Hammers were 20 points shy of Horsham on the scoreboard.

Ultimately, a loose first half and sloppy mistakes at crucial points throughout the match were too much of an obstacle to overcome, and Horsham deservedly finished runaway winners and 20 points to the good. A very strong performance over the ball earned their openside flanker the Man of the Match award, whilst for the Hammers with 2 tries and one assist who else could it possibly have been, but Le Snack himself. As talented as he is handsome, already the calls for him to assume the captaincy next year are becoming deafening.

 Hammers move on to face London Welsh at Old Deer Park for the final match of the season in a fortnight’s time in their last game of the 2023/24 season.

Rain, hail and shine, but it’s the Hammers 2s who foil themselves…

Hammers almost cause an upset

Hammer’s 1st team hosted top of the league Havant at Hurlingham Park, in what promised to be a thrilling encounter. Havant came looking to cement their place at the top of the league, whilst Hammers were focused on regathering form and righting-some-wrongs following their previous encounter against the south coast team. With The Temperance hosting the Fulham FA cup fans, up stepped the 8 Bells, who provided side-line beer for the match day, lifting the voices of the travelling fans and Hammers faithful.

With baited breath, the crowd watched as the ref blew for the start of the match. With a sloppy restart and compounding errors, Hammers found themselves 10 metres from their own line, only to find themselves in familiar territory – penalty to Havant. The hosts gladly took the 3 points. Sustained pressure from Havant and another grevious error resulted in a penalty kick to the Hammers corner, from which Havent started a driving maul. Hammers resident bad boy Barry ‘The Bruiser’ Scarr, was not best pleased with the Havant endeavour, and forced the issue.  The result? A penalty try, and some cheese for his efforts. 10 minutes in the bin for the back row player, 10-0 down, not the start Hammers were after.

The Hammers faithful fans began to question – would this be the same performance as the previous week?

Fear not. A strong response from the Hammers as they looked to breakdown the Havant defence, a strong driving maul and hard lines putting pressure on the travelling team.  More pressure, and then…Hammers cross the line. First team captain Tom Proctor, with a trademark pick through the middle of a ruck!!! He glided in untouched, reassuring the fans there is still life in the old man. Conversion successful, 10-7 to Havant. Following the try, Hammersmith are awarded a series of penalties, and once again returned to the Havant 22’. The Havant defence stood strong this time and kept out the home team.

Hammers were marshalled around the park with a quality kicking performance from Ross at 10, keeping the travelling team pinned back in their half. Havant eventually broke out of their 22 thanks to a quality kick chase, only to be stopped thanks to some solid midfield tackling from both James the “Maddog” and Marshall, keeping Havant at bay.

Unfortunately it would be Havant that would add next to the score sheet, a series of penalties resulted in Havant re-entering the Hammers 22’, and utilising their driving maul once more. Although brought to a stop, the large Havant pack deferred to their pick-and-go game, resulting in crossing the try line again. Conversion successful, Havant 17- Hammers 7.

A sequence of kicks back and forth brought in the games next stanza, with both teams looking to play territory. Strong carries from both teams, combined with a solid defence, resulted in lasting deadlock.

But then…Hammersmith, with a driving kick deep into the Havant 22. The strong running Havant back three opted to run it out targettign the right wing.  A good kick chase saw Hammers in high numbers defensively, but from no where….Barry Scarr, picking out an intercept and strolled in 30 metres out, making amends for his heinous behaviour earlier! Conversion unsuccessful, Havant 17- Hammersmith- 12.

Constant pressure and flowing rugby pinned the Havant team back in their own 22. High tackle on debutant scrum half Sam Seymour, resulted in the second cheese of the day being awarded to a Havant player.  Half time called, both teams returned to the sheds, Hammers in full confidence they could cause an upset.

Both sets of fans welcomed back the teams in full voice. The second half saw both  come out with renewed vigour, knowing that the slightest lapse in concentration could cost them dearly.

For 15 minutes neither team could add to their tally, strong driving mauls and line breaks from either side getting close but no cigar. It would be Havant that would add to the scoresheet next, following a big line break, shipping the ball wide to score in the corner, conversion successful. Havant 24- Hammers 12.

Rallying chants of ‘Hammers, Hammers’ from the sideline drove the Hammers forward. Pressure in the Havant 22’ eventually broke down the travelling team, with a carry to the line from fly half Ross, who lifted the ball into the smallest of spaces for in form full back Pete Morris to glide into, and around the winger.  With a Shearer—esque celebration added for good measure, it was the lift the Gammers needed! Havant 24- Hammers 17.

What happened next will be written into folklore. An open-field move saw the elusive Pete Morris receive an inside ball from Ross, giving him space to glide from within the Hammers half all the way up to the Havant 22.  Dancing feet and a switch pass to the supporting player and fan favourite Matt Killeen allowed him to glide over in the far corner after stepping the Havant full back! It was like something out of Swan Lake, a move straight off the training park. Head Coach Mark Jackson could be heard to utter the words ‘I a ****ing genius’. Conversion successful, 24 a-piece, what a game on at Fortress Hurlingham.

Havant  didn’t lie down.  Through sustained pressure, they made their way into the Hammers 22’ and, with a penalty awarded in front of the post, opted for the 3 points. Havant retook the lead as we entered the final 5 minutes.

Unfortunately it would not be Hammers day. A well-worked penalty kick to the corner for Havant and an ever present strong driving maul saw the travelling team cross the whitewash again in negative time, confirm their win for the day. Full time Havant 34- Hammers 24.

It was not to be for the home team , although they will take their renewed energy and performance down to Kent the following week, as they look to disrupt Tunbridge Wells.

Congratulations go to debutants Sam Seymour and Jack Macgregor, as well as returning prop Ed Wynne. Hammersmith wish the best to Havant as they look to solidify their position at the top of the table.

Hammers dig deep and hang on

Hammers 1st  team continued on the road this week with a ‘short’ commute out to Marlborough, for the clubs 2nd fixture of 2024. The commute of course, included the traditional away bus quiz, in which Head Coach Mark, Lewis Litt (Big Josh) and Mad dog Maddigan took the win with a questionable 39/50 questions correct. The winning teams’ debateable proximity to the Quiz Master, Stephen Harris caused an outrage. It almost brought the tradition into disrepute and risked dividing the team before a minute of rugby had been played.

This weeks’ fixture was the second time the 1st team had faced Marlborough RFC this season – some may remember (or have tried to forget) witnessing the Hammers drop in the final minutes and in typical Hammers fashion… losing at Home by less than a try. For the Hammers, it was an important game – going into the day, the Hammers remained steady on the ladder in 8th place with 29 points, Brighton sitting above at 7th with 35 points, and Maidenhead trailing closely behind on 21 points.

The day was clear, the air a brisk but thankfully dry 1-2 degrees. The Hammers lost the toss, forced to kick-off but running downhill.  Frustratingly, and is their way, they decided to also set themselves up for an up-hill battle, the opening kick-off going 10 meters backwards not forwards. “Never send a back to do a forwards job” could be heard from front row veteran and club stalwart, Rogan, celebrating his 38th lap around the sun that week.

The first 20 minutes saw each team come away with a penalty goal, with VC Joe Carolan, (now 2nd highest points scorer in the division (114)) knocking 3 points through the posts. Marlborough followed up quickly with an unconverted try, to which the Hammers quickly responded, with Tim Russel scoring not once but twice,  one under the post and one of the back of a driving mall. With both converted again by Joe, the boys started to feel comfortable.

It was not to be like that for long. Marlborough, known for their size and physicality, began to play to their strengths, putting several of the lads through their paces and testing shoulders and ribs. There was a notable late hit on James Maddigan, which could be heard from the sideline, however, the Hammers also contributed their fair share of questionable hits, with back row enforcer, Harry “Sid” Scarr sent to the bin in the final minutes of the 1st half with a yellow card. This yellow could easily have been a red as, from some angles, Sid almost decapitated the opposition winger, but the Hammers managed to fight out the rest of the 1st half without conceding another point (while being a player down). First half score 8 -20

What followed was a second half battle between the Hammers running rugby and Marlborough’s size and physicality. One more try from the Hammers, scored and converted by Joe. Not long after this, one arsey kick led to a late try in the 2nd half for Marlborough, shifting the momentum into the hands of the home side. Hammers still had a marginal lead, which sensed a repeat of their first encounter with the home side and proceeded to lift accordingly. Our line was assailed, our sideline groaned – another late game loss was on the cards…

Que the bomb squad – the notorious and welcome return of Matt Killeen and Ricky Drewitt, who joined the game after both had a short stint away from the club. Putting out one of their better defensive sets of the season, and despite Marlborough scoring another (almost identical try) in the corner and almost levelling the score to 27-30. we managed to hold out and eventually see out the final whistle for the win.

Final score 27-30  to the Hammers.  Elation. Joy.  And Hammers ending the day with 33 points on the ladder.

Special mentions go to the Man of the Match – Alex Spicer who also celebrated his 50th Cap for the Hammers 1st team.


Hammers go down in a heartbreaker

On the twelfth day of Christmas, Hammers gave to me…

not as much as you wanted, but you’ve already had 11 days’ worth of gifts. You’ll just have to be content with the one point.

In a scene reminiscent of the three Magi journeying across the arid Arabian Deserts, from a land far-far away to bring gifts and offer service, so our very own wise man no. 1 from the far side of Offa’s Dyke brought gifts of pitchfork and sand to lay upon the hallowed turf of Hurlingham Park making possible a true Christmas miracle…a playable surface.

Shortly after KO, in addition to Wise Man Lyndon’s efforts, the pitch was dried further following an earth-scorching turn of pace by Harry Boyd who, with a 5m so rapid that the Space – Spicer* continuum was for a split second broken, ghosted through the entire Bracknell defensive line.

On the face of it, Father Christmas and “Eeny-Weeny” Josh share little in common. But they do both always deliver on Christmas. Josh, like Lyndon, stuck to the script of Epiphany. Bearing gifts and travelling from the far-far outer zones of London our second Wise Man delivered a try (must note the well-executed rolling maul, of course) and another man of the match performance.

15 minutes into the match, and suddenly reminded that they were dressed in their usual festive crimson, Russell’s Reds decided it was high time to play the part of St Nick and gift their opposition the entire 12 days of Christmas during the remainder of the first half. Sing everyone’s favourite Carol replacing each gift with a different form of infringement and that will give you an idea of the level of commitment Terry’s troops showed to the season of giving. Feeling inspired by this show of generosity, the referee offered out his finest Christmas Cheese, which was eagerly accepted by Tiny Tim, Diminutive Dugdale.

The one player responding well to the non-stop on-pitch whistling was our inside centre. Like a dog returning to its vomit, so our very own James “Le Mad-Dog”, returned to the ankles of Bracknell attackers time and time again. Despite being faced with “such a good boi”, Bracknell held onto the ball well and scored three times from close range to bring the game within 2 points.

The scores really should have been tied up at this point, given the conversion was being taken from directly between the posts, but Alex “Dollar” Spicer produced his best defensive end impression to block the resulting kick. His celebration was certainly EPSN NFL Primetime worthy also.

Re-energized, Burbridge’s blokes marched themselves up-field, bought a few (cheap) penalties in the sales and found themselves 10m out from the try-line on the final play of the half. A well-executed line-out play had Captain Tom rolling over the tryline for a third try of the- oh no…the spirit of the season was still well and truly alive among Carolan’s Crew, who decided to put the needs of the opposition above their own, not score, and keep the game in the balance at half time…

The resident hairdresser was ready to meet Harris’ Hombres in the sheds, and Procter’s Players returned for the second half looking well coiffured and determined to give gifts only to those deserving (the watching Hammers Faithful) in the second half.

Despite the wand of the Prodigal Weaver once again beginning to weave, and tyreless carries from Pirelli and Scotty, Swaino’s soldiers struggled to convert th’air-pressure into points. To Bracknell’s credit, their defence did a very good impersonation of Ebeneezer Scrooge (before he encountered any Ghosts) and well and truly shut the door on any final festive cheer in SW4. The visitors scored twice more, although new kicking boots had evidently not made the final Christmas delivery slot, before a late Joe Carolan penalty ensured a losing bonus point.

But while Christmastide is now over, January is just getting started. And that means the transfer window is open for business. Fear not Hammers Faithful, for Management has been busy, consulting the heavens for signs of a try-scoring saviour. And behold, Southwest Tier 8’s top scoring centre has been signed on a season-long deal to bring gifts of soft hands and an immaculately clean kit. Journeying from afar, now fatherly and wise, with a 3 on his back, welcome back Rickie!

And so, our three wise men returned to their lands far away, contemplating whether their respective gifts: the pitchforking, the 5m tap and charge, the new contract negotiations, had been worth it.

The answer, of course, is yes.

Because January, as the month of Janus, offers a chance to look back at how far we have come, and then to turn to the future in eager anticipation of successes and adventures to come…


*Space -Spicer continuum

Space – Spicer = Space – Money

Money = time

∴ Space-Spicer continuum = Space-time continuum


Full time score: Hammers 20 – 25 Bracknell


Harry Boyd

Josh Asafu-Adjaye

Penalties: Joe Carolan x2

Hammersmith soaked up the pressure to hang on for the win!

Game off was trending on X, formerly known as Twitter, but it was very much game on at Hurlingham Park as Hammersmith & Fulham welcomed Horsham. Both clubs in their first season in Regional 1 South Central, formerly known as National 3, and the Hammers were looking to avenge the result from the last time the two sides met in the league.You’d be excused for thinking that the home side had stayed in the warmth of the changing rooms as they failed to turn up at kick off, with Horsham scoring an early try from a driving maul.Hammers metaphorically warmed up and challenged the resulting kick off well with the two ‘arry’s, Barry Scarr and Garry Boyd, making life difficult for Horsham and winning the ball back. With momentum building, Hammersmith began building phases with the ball eventually going wide to Tim Russell. Russell smoothly got the offload away to Zander Stephen who was back in the team following a duo of self inflicted concussions to the duo of Josh’s in the last fixture against Camberley – Josh Smith on the receiving end of a people’s elbow from Scarr and Josh A-A being kneed in the head by Alex Spicer, an easy thing to do to such a small man. Anyway, you’re here to read about the Horsham game. Stephen smoothly gathered the ball from Russell, romping in from just outside the 22, evading multiple tackles and successfully holding off 3 defenders as he powered over. Others who saw this try say he was a matter of centimetres out, juggled the ball before eventually gathering and just got it down but there’s no Veo to prove the first wrong so we’ll go with that. Joe Caravan was on conversions for the day, securing 3 of the 5. This try was out-wide so every chance it was 1 of the 2 misses.Another reclaimed kick off from Hammersmith, attempting to rewrite the wrongs of Camberley, saw momentum build. A penalty win lead to a kick going deep in the Horsham 22 and Scott VBL getting the ball in his hands, a successful jumpy jumpy throw catch to Scarr produced a secure maul with VBL, man-of-the-match-to-be Toby Hiram and the skipper chunky Tom Proctor jostling for the ball at the back. Proctor pulled rank and got the meat pie.A 3rd secured kick off in a row, a new club record, saw another attack from SW6s finest. Play built down the left, down the right, back to the left before returning to the right. Russell, who had taken a week off from his velvet footwear, remembered he had pace and took off down the wing. This time he didn’t need an offload to Stephen and got a try of his own, number 50 in the red, white and blue of Hammersmith and Fulham RFC – a fine achievement from the former Havant youth.Another kick off to receive, this time Spicer took charge. The Gilbert of the day was in his hands but the end result wasn’t the same. Whilst ball had been won in the air, the backs messed up their kicky kicky catch catch, a surprise given the amount of time spent on such exercises in training. A charged down kick saw Horsham react first and narrow the scores.24-12 half-time.As expected, Horsham came out firing second half, determined to narrow the deficit.  Hammersmith soaked up the pressure with some staunch defending. Eventually they got their break with some Barbarians-esque passing, Caravan finding Scarr with a little out the back offload. Scarr scuttled down the field with a 3 on 1 with the fullback, an easy try I hear you say. No. In what can only be described as a moment of madness, the former Bucks u16 regional back row come Sid look alike thought he was South West Londons answer to Sonny Bill Williams – spoiler here sports fans, he isn’t. Ball was flicked out the back of his hands to Spicer’s feet. Knock-on. Idiot. Stephen substituted at the resulting scrum, his day was up and so is the rest of the detail.Horsham found their way back in to the Hammersmith 22 with Hammers eventually turning over the ball. What should have been an easy exit saw Dugdale pass to Ross Anderson, we hoped. Dugdale was looking to join in the fun of handing out friendly fire concussions with the ball rocketing off Ed Haynes head. Horsham continued to build pressure narrowing the gap with their 3rd try.A different side after half-time and Stephen’s substitution, Hammers couldn’t find the rhythm of the first half. The sidelines were calling for composure or something special to calm the boys, or both. A breakaway saw momentum build with Caravan dotting down. This conversion was from in front of the posts, 7 points.With the game nearing its conclusion Horsham pressed hard with a determination to get something from the game. Eventually finding themselves over the white line with 5 minutes to go. Conversion slotted, meaning they were taking 2 bonus points back down the M23.31-24 the final score. A hard fought victory in near freezing conditions. Another 5 points at home and Hammersmith and Fulham find themselves at 7th at the half way point of the season.MOTM – Toby HiramDOTD – Barry Scarr

Hammers Outmuscled in the Mud

Spirits were high after a lovely coach journey down to leafy Camberley, the maddest of dogs putting on a great quiz to entertain the boys and really test our geological knowledge. 

 Off the coach and into a couple of shoebox freezers to get changed in, the day started to take a downward turn. Inspection of the pitch confirmed what we already knew, the rain had meant a sticky, boggy surface, not conducive to hammers footy.  

 The writing was on the wall after the very first scrum, Zak became the first man to levitate and the boys were going backwards faster than Ben Dugdale leaving a post match. Something was amiss with the front row chemistry, Zak and Rogan seemingly locking horns with each other, instead of focussing on the black and gold ogres in front of them. 

 Hammers absorbed early pressure admirably, scrapping at the breakdowns, effective low tackling and scrambling with Camberley offloading well. We eventually conceded after 12 mins to a well worked lineout play. Nice vision by Ross put Joe into some space, Dugdale followed with a dart, before Timmy as elusive as Tommy Proctor and a bus trip went close with a chip and chase. Hammers still playing some footy even though being outmuscled, showing plenty of ticker. We were keen to strike back immediately.  

 Harry Scarr not being a fan of Josh Smith’s work rate so far decided to give him the people’s elbow and knock him out, bringing Pelvis Popper Powter into the fray off the pine. The injection of half the southern hemisphere bomb squad did little to stop the Camberley momentum, some nice play from their forwards amongst some good hits by Josh, Spicer and Mad Dog saw them add two tries quickly to get out to 19-0. 

 Will then fell in love with the Camberley front row, attempting to propose at scrumtime, romantically dropping to one knee on a few occasions. The referee misconstrued this as an act of aggression and unfairly punished him with penalties. Some tired hammers defence saw us leak another couple of tries just before half time to put us 31-0 down at the break, no need to panic as we adjudged the wind to be worth 32 points, technically we were winning.  

 However, rugby is a game of two halves, and we lost both of them.  

 After some Remember the Titans-esque halftime speeches, the boys were fired up to get out there and mount a comeback. Naturally Camberley went the length of the pitch from the kick off, scored pretty easily and Rogan was shown a yellow for also trying to propose to the Camberley pack. Not the first time he’s tried to cut a fellow front rower’s lunch.  

 Down 38-0 and a man in the bin the boys could have easily thrown in the towel, rolled over and let the floodgates open completely. Not this group, the adversity tightened us up and we were determined not to be embarrassed further.  

This saw the best period of play by the hammers, 20 minutes without conceding and building phases on attack. Some strong carries by that man Josh whose head is massive at the moment, his skull is also large, lead to Joe taking a short ball from Ross and freeing his hands for Bruce to score with his first touch of the ball. Some fans are wondering whether holding him back for so long was the right call.  

 Pumped up after finally getting some momentum the hammers sniffed a chance for more.  

After some tight defence forced Camberley into a knock on, the boys were back on attack. Pelvis Popper running some tidy Y lines, Marshall skipping to the outside before a deliberate knock down by a desperate Camberley winger gave us another opportunity to strike. Dugdale wisely chose to tap quickly, with two strong carries towards the sticks, setting up a blind side set play with forwards and backs linking seamlessly. Dugdale threw a nice cut out pass to Ross who gathered and no-look-flick passed to Timmy in his 50th game for his now mandatory weekly meat pie. 

 After this the game got scrappy and descended into a stop start affair. Tempers being tested as the Camberley players started getting lippier than Proctor after a few baileys. One particular gentleman doing his best dancing with the stars impression all over our boys on the ground and it didn’t help the referee was doing his best Stevie Wonder impersonation, which saw things boil over momentarily. The game drew to an anti climax with Camberley comfortable victors and well deserved five points.  

 Proud of the boys’ efforts to stick to their guns and not give up in testing circumstances. Stand outs for the Hammers were man of the match Josh AA, the only thing that can stop the man at the moment is Spicer’s patella. Scotty covered what felt like 20,000 miles, about as much as his opposite gets paid. Proctor led from the front as usual, while Harry Scarr put in an admirable shift when spending most of the day going backwards. Dugdale had a quality game, some big shots in defence and did his best to clear scrappy ball. Mad Dog stood up against a quality midfield defensively, but ultimately a tough day for backs to stand out.  

 Congrats again to Timmy Russell on 50 caps, here’s to 50 more! 

 MOM: Josh AA 

DOD: Rogan 

Score: 12-48 










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.