Hammers 1s v London Nigerians – Match Report

Coming into this weeks game both teams had been struggling with recent results, with London Nigerian sat at just above the mid way point in the league table and the Hammers sitting in relegation zone at 11th. After two very good training sessions in the wet weather, the Hammers boys were desperate to put in a big shift and produce the upset they had been long waiting for.

With both the home crowd and wind behind the Hammers the game kicked off.

Within the first play of the game the Hammers asserted themselves and took full control. The lads were very quickly rewarded for this initial push with a try from back rower Julie Draper. With such a quick score it was essential the boys didn’t ease off.

After the restart the Nigerians were once again pinned back within their 22, struggling to get out of their own half and taking a beating from the home sides’ attack. The Nigerians’ scrum half did not help the cause missing touch 5 times in the first half subjecting his team to an onslaught from the Hammers back three.

Hammers wing James Lo soon capitalised on these mistakes with a try in the corner following a strong touch line run. Scrum half Ollie Chambers slotted the kick to make it 12 – 0 in almost as many minutes.

With another restart and the wind still on the Hammers side the Nigerians found themselves in an all familiar position for the day, the Hammers seemed to have great control of the game at the half way point in the first half. After some decent phase play flanker Magnus Barber managed to get on the end of a superbly timed offload to run in another home try. Ollie once again hitting him target and keeping the score board ticking over in favour of the home side.

Not to be out done by the forwards, fullback Hamish Dalgarno and winger David Bloxsom both put their names on the score sheet picking up a try a piece before the close of half time.

HT HFRFC  29 – London Nigerian 0

The second half kicked off with the wind blowing into the face of the Hammers. London Nigerian now had a chance at inflicting some damage back onto their opposition. However, some great defence and even better set piece from the pack leveraged the control back in favour of the home side.

Just past the 10 minute mark in the second half the score board ticked over again, in favour of the red and whites as Julien Draper picked up his second try of the match. Ollie managed to turn the 5 pointer into a 7 pointer with the home side now well and truly out in front and looking very hard to catch.

Moments later London Nigeria responded with some attacking play of their own. They managed to make impressionable yards through some decent phase play from within their own half. A penalty kick towards the corner flag then found them within touching distance of the Hammers’ try line. Nigerians resorted to some classic “ball under the shirt” rugby opting for a driving maul which led to their Number 5 getting over the line for their first score of the afternoon.

With less than 10 minutes to go and the game well in the home sides control captain Mark Blyghton opted for a kick at goal following a string of infringements from the away side deep in their own half. Ollie nudged the additional 3 points putting the score well and truly out of reach of the visitors.

To top things off, the Hammers finished some well deserved play again through Dalgarno who carved his way seamlessly through the Nigerians back line to snatch his second for the day. Ollie once again picked up the conversion which put an end to the play for what was a thoroughly enjoyable bonus point win for the Hammers.

FT  HFRFC  46 – London Nigerian 5

Tries: Dalgarno 2, Draper 2, Barber, Bloxsom, Lo

Kicks: Chambers (4 con, 1 pen)

MOM: Tom Assal
DOD: Chambers

Hammers 2 v Bishop’s Stortford – Match Report

Anticipation had been building through the week as the Hammers 2’s side began preparation for a double header (for the uneducated/unaware, this was a league and cup match in one) against Bishop’s Stortford III team (BS). The previous result of Hammers travelling the 31.85 miles (as the crow flies) to the BS ground saw blood and tears for Hammers where we lost heavily 36-7, this only fuelled the preparation and desire for revenge.  

The Hammers were “fully prepped”/had mostly arrived by 12:30 ish as the jovial Australia Day cobwebs had been blown away (mostly) by those irresponsible enough to consume alcohol the night before game day. Any way I deviate from the purpose of this report, the match… 

With BS arriving late due to the long trip, kick off was pushed back by 10 mins – a prime example of the gentry required to be a Hammer. At 14:10, with devilish wind and rain hammering (no pun intended) down on the yellow shirt of the French referee, he blew his whistle and we were off. 

Hammers kicked off through the disintegrating boot of Eldridge, almost instantly winning the ball back through a BS knock on. The Hammers scrum was dominant from the off with the front row of Williams, Johnson and Conway rumbling their way towards the try line with arrogance that can only be described as front row swagger. We came close with Eddell running good lines in the centre, but this trip to the BS 22 was not to be fruitful.  

BS began to battle their way out of their 22 until a loose loopy pass was intercepted by the bearded hooker Johnson. Showing his blistering pace, he trotted in from 25 metres out, a simple conversion in front of the sticks from Taylor W meant Hammers were leading 7-0. 

A period of dominance from BS was to follow, they held on to the ball with effective use of a series of human cannon balls and battering rams with top tackles coming in from Fox, Rylance and familiar faces Roche and Pettitt. The BS barrage was too much to contain and saw Hammers slide to 7-14 down. Déjà vu of our previous trip to BS was at the forefront of all our minds, we had to move on. 

Despite Thompson jumping 20 seconds early to try and catch the kick off, Hammer’s found a new foot hold in the game with Lucas making good metres, supported by the forwards continued domination at the set piece resulting in Conway scoring a sneaky try at the back of a maul. Taylor W slotted conversion number two and we were at 14-14. 

HALF TIME – Score was tied 14-14 

The second half began and the first five minutes showed both sides cancelling each other out with the only notable event being Taylor W getting smashed in the midfield with a tackle that can probably still be heard echoing around the sanctuary that is Hurlingham Park. Baxter showed he’s not just a pretty face as he continued to put his body on the line for the club making some great tackles. Still fuelled on adrenaline from the rib tickler Taylor W joined the forwards and managed to sneak himself a try from a pick and go! He added another 2 points taking his running total for the game to 11 as Hammers now led 21-14.  

A passage of good play from Hammers saw Sheppard loop around and score in the right-hand corner. An almost impossible kick for Taylor W slid just outside the post making the score 26-14 Hammers. Sheppard’s glory was short lived as he was subbed off for the “experienced” Leith.  

Hammers were sensible and opted to take the points as the referee awarded a penalty in front of the posts – need I say more Taylor W stepped up… and missed. Bane despite showing great pace (with his new boots on) didn’t quite manage to score but certainly gets a gold star for effort.  

Victory was looking more likely as the Betfair exchange odds for a Hammers win moved to 1.27 (please gamble responsibly). These odds were only slashed further to 1.12 as Leith despite the paternal sleep deprivation stole the ball from a BS scrum and scored in the right corner. Cue Taylor W (again), with expectations wavering from a couple of misses those little stick legs built up some momentum and slotted it, Hammers lead extended 33-14. 

With victory surely imminent, a momentary threat to the Hammers try line and an eye watering (he cried) boot to the eye for Rylance (he probably deserved it as well) BS stole themselves an unconverted consolation try. Hammers lead 33-19. 

By this point the wind and rain were boring/freezing all involved and many looked as though they were waiting for the final whistle, but not Ralston who decided to rub more salt in the BS wounds by scoring a great try. Taylor W did his job and perhaps unsurprisingly with the pressure off slotted his kick. Hammers lead 40-19. 

The final whistle blew, followed by cheers all round from the men in red, as this vengeful victory moves us to the top of the league and through the next round of the cup.  

FULL TIME – Hammers win 40-19      

Hammers Vets v Grasshoppers – Match Report

Over the past two seasons, the Hammers Vets side has quietly been enjoying a resurgence following the creation of a new Vets Middlesex Merit Table. It has led to the return of some big names synonymous with the glory years in the noughties, playing alongside those who saw active service in the 90s. Names such as Clarke, Furniss, Lines, Campbell, Rumble and Hunt are back down as regular names on the team sheet.  As games are played on Friday nights, it means those who are fit and able, but also with weekend family commitments, can sneak a game and a load of beers in with fellow Hammer comrades once a month.

Having come runners up to a strong Ealing team last season, the Vets have started the 2017/18 campaign strongly, winning their first two matches in style against London French and Teddington. Last Friday, it was the turn of Grasshoppers, played under the lights of the vets new home ground, Allianz Park. The stadium now has two teams of galacticos plying their trade on its hallowed north London astro-turf.

Now if truth be told, Kim Jong Rogan was initially assigned the task to attend the match and take some notes on who scored etc and include a bit of a running commentary, primarily based on the fact he wouldn’t have made the side, however as he only arrived with ten minutes left on the clock, details in the following report are lacking. However at half time, the Vets found themselves up 20 points to 8, despite a frantic and poorly controlled start to the game, probably as a result lingering Christmas fatigue, and with Grasshoppers running some strong lines off a decent backrow/halfback combination.

In the second half, Hammers eventually started to take control of proceedings, helped in part by a decent bench, and further aided by Tom Parkinson scoring four tries. This included two where he ran pretty much the length of the pitch, as well as one or two other moments of magic involving much of the back line.

What was even more surprising, almost suspicious, was the fact that Ryan Dilley, who usually averages 2 tries a game, failed to chalk up a single point. Jury is still out on this phenomenon, but one can only assume he’s got tied up in some dodgy Asian betting syndicate and was trying to hinder the Hammers win. The vets ended the game victorious with a 58 – 8 win, particularly pleasing to the young whippersnapper Blyghts, and the squad look forward to the next game and beers at Staines on Friday 9th February.

For his lack of enthusiasm, and failure to score a single point Dilley was awarded Tin Man, whilst MOM went jointly to Parko and the vets very own Benjamin Button, Sly, who both put in a sterling 80 minutes in the centres. An honourable mention must also go to Ed Clark and his colleagues at Saracens for hosting us once again.

Should you want to get involved with the vets, and fancy a run, please email Adam Jones on  adamrjones1511@gmail.com. Not only do the vets have additional league fixtures coming up this season, but plans are afoot for an over 45s game on Old Hams day on 14th April.

Hammers 2s v Esher- Match Report

(Please read in Yorkshire accent)  

Hi guys, weekends (been) here again, hope you’ve had a good week and earnt a few quid. Whaattt. 

This week our second team had a few fixtures cancelled, but last minute on Friday Esher offered us the chance of an away day fixture….. Simply Loveleh.  

Following intense exchanges about opposition, travel arrangements and whether Watson would wear his No.1s or not we were on our way to Esher…… be seeing you.  

The warm up started with a bit of a laugh, a joke and some absolute banging tunes, but after some stern words from senior players the warm up went well and we were ready to go…… Big Up.  

The game started well with phase play working very well for the hammers, recycling lead to some swift passes for Taylor to go under the posts……. Simply lovely. 

We then decided to try and run everything from our 22 for the next 10 minutes with no luck, but also no score….. Moving on.  

After some solidity at the scrum and some nice phase play rugby, Magnus barber made a nice break on the outside with a great pass inside to Skipper Cramp, who then reversed the Pass to the screaming JLO on the burst for a simply simply lovely score.  

The scoring for the half wasn’t finished with Billy Rylance finally running a line he should be proud of with a great finish…. Plenty in the tank sir.  

Half time- Hammers 19-0 Esher Abbots  

Esher started the second half extremely well scoring two well worked tries from a driving maul and some good hands….. bloody good shot sir.  

After the second try and the realisation the game could go to Esher if the Hammers didn’t work their issues out, the huge hits and incentive of a free pint got to Watson (even though he’s very wealthy), Rylance and Rob Fox….. Plenty in the tank.  

Esher managed another penalty score (never a fan of kicking for goal in a friendly)… whatttttt 

Hammers then decided to do the same to take the score out of reach of Esher……plenty in the tank sir.  

With the final whistle going, the hammers had won and were relieved after a strong showing from a young Esher team.  

Final score – Hammers 22 – 15 Esher Abbots.   

Listen guys, its tough out there, stay safe. Be seeing you.  

Ladies 1s v Romford – Match Report

League match v Romford ravens 102-0

Yep that is not a mistake, 102-0, biggest ladies Hammersmith score in history, and first time to break 100points! And what an epic score it was. Big kudos to the ravens who never gave up despite playing with 13 players in the end, however, the day was ours. First league match of the new year and we had a game plan knowing how our old rivals play. Plenty of blue ball and stretch the legs.

7 mins in and our first try came from Helene as she pushed over the line 5-0. 2 minutes later Michelle made her first of many long runs around the fringes to make it 10-0. A few minutes later came a trio of tries, another 2 from Michelle (1 converted by Onora) and 1 from Katherine weaving her way through the solid Romford pack. This was followed by an immense run by Alex, back from injury, although sadly couldn’t quite make the line but as she said, she and I are like one and I was on her shoulder to help finish her try, converted by Michelle.

4 more tries followed taking us to half time, one a 50m sprint from Jess (conv Michelle) and a fourth from Michelle. An awesome catch from a restart by Bukky (conv Michelle) who proceeded to sprint the pitch while everyone watched and clapped, and an equally awesome similar sprint down the wing by Annabel to score under the posts.

HALF TIME 58-0

A similar story was to occur in the second half. 3 min in and a break by Ella who offloaded to Katherine made the score 63-0. 2 more tries to Michelle taking her total to 6 and a further conversion by Onora and the score became 75-0 within 10 minutes. Jackie with her first taste of a centre position scored 80-0, quickly followed by one from Ella (conv Onora) and another by Katie. At this point it slowed down a little, but Jackie and Katie ran through for one more a piece, Katie’s’ taking us past the 100 mark.

The ravens pushed us to the end and the last 5 minutes saw us defend like trojans. We could have become complacent, but the hammers spirit did not give in and the match ended 102-0. Full time and a very happy Mark and Frenchie – proud of our efforts in executing the game plan almost perfectly.

A great bench mark score to start 2018 and to show our opposition that we mean business. I hope I got everyone’s scores, you made it very hard this week but thank you to Alison for keeping track on WhatsApp.

Forward of the match went to Carola for her smart runs and carries, and defensive play.

Back of the match went to Jackie, who in her second ever match played for the first time as centre and once realising that she could run through people scored an epic 2 tries.

2 special pints went to Michelle, one for each of her hatricks

Hammers 4s v Pinner – Match Report

After a hard fought draw away at Ealing Hammers were looking forward to the familiarity of being back at Hurlingham Park. However fate and a lack of hot water intervened resulting in the home fixture against Pinner being played at the neutral ground of Chiswick Rugby Club. Hammers on the losing side after a very tight game the last time these two meet.

Following a solid warm up, Hammers took themselves by surprise, having the vast majority of the initial territory and possession. This new found intensity from the kick off just resulted in confusion leading to a number of poor decisions in the final quarter. Eventually allowing the big ball carriers of Pinner an easy run into Hammers half and a simple 3 points.

A less good start from the resulting kick off and a couple of missed tackles left Hammersmith and Fulham back in their own 22. Despite and number of ‘body on the line’ tackles keeping Pinner’s large pack a few feet short for a number of minutes the second row eventually managed to barrel over leaving Hammers 0-10 down.

Being back in this familiar territory helped calm the nerves, the scrum and line out, initially under pressure, shored up. Resulting in good clean ball for both the backs and forwards to start playing their structures, despite the loss of the hard running Joey Graham at outside centre.

10 minutes later though , after a number of silly penalties Hammers were back on their own try line.

It was time stand up and be counted…..

Big carry after big carry charged at the Hammersmith line and each time they were repelled. Across the pitch Hammers players fronted up and most importantly went LOW! Pinner came so close that the eventual knock on was over the try line.

A quick scrum, pick from Tilbrook and box kick from Will Finn saw hammers jogging back up the pitch with their heads held high. It was game on. After some sustained pressure and a solid kick of Chris Jager Hammers went in at half-time 3 – 10.

Halftime: 3-10

Who knows if it was De wolfs team talk, the appearance of Captain Will Parker or Emmetts shouts of encouragement from the side-line? Hammersmith and Fulham stormed into the second half, the structures worked, a few big carries and a solid scrum saw them 20 feet short of the Pinner try line. Great forward pressure form a number of pick and go’s leading to the inevitable try for Zander Stephan on debut. The resulting conversion drawing the scores level at 10 apiece.

Hammers had the momentum, a few classy breaks in the back line and the ball was back with the forwards and most importantly back in Pinner’s 22. Again they had no answer to the pick and Jager got in on the action to dot down next the posts. A simple conversion and it was 17-10.

This time it was Pinner who needed a strong come back and they did. A couple of minutes in the 22, their big ball carriers sucked in the Hammersmith defence leaving a hole big enough for the centre to stroll through and score in the corner. The tricky conversion was missed meaning Hammersmith and Fulham had a 2 point lead heading into the final quarter of the match.

It was Pinner however who had the possession and territory; it was once again time for the Hammers defence to show what it was made of. Forwards coming off the base of the ruck, tap penalties and strong mid-field runners were time and again stopped in their tracks by players in red shirts.

As the onslaught continued the ref had enough, with the number of penalties leading to a yellow card for Karl Watson on debut. (A week before he’d been playing on the same ground for Chiswick but one night out the Hammers was all it took to convince him to come and play for the friendliest club in London!)

Trying to capitalise on the extra man advantage Pinner opted for the scrum rather than the easy 3 points. But with The American coming off his wing to help out on the flank the Hammersmith scrum held firm.

More ‘body on the line’ tackling in their own 22 resulted in a Hammers player down with a nasty cut to the head, everyone soon relaxed though on the discovery it was only Kane Hands. As a defence continue to hold strong tempers flared, punches were thrown. The resulting yellow card for Pinners tight head prop resulted in 14 men apiece for the remaining 5 minutes.

4 minutes of possession in midfield and victory was almost within Hammers grasp. One last attack from Pinner ended as the cool head of Will Deprez took a good catch under pressure, and cleared into touch. Ending a fantastic game rugby, where both teams walked off knowing they’d given everting. Although it was Hammers walking off with the all important W!

Final Score: 17-15

Man of the match – Mike Spurgeon, continuous and solid defence, putting his body on the line.

Tin Man – Tilbrook, manging to be punched by a prop and failing to land a return.

P.S Huge thanks to Chiswick Rugby Club for use of their facilities and ground.

Hammers 3s v Rosslyn Park – Match Report

Looking to follow on from a solid winning performance against Chiswick the week before Hammers travelled along the Upper Richmond Road to face top of the league Rosslyn Park B’s on their 4G pitch.

Continuing from where they left off the week before, Hammers started the game strongly playing organised and disciplined rugby on the fast surface which Park struggled to deal with. Ed Brown (9) capitalising on the pace of the ball to snipe from the side of the ruck and go over for the first try of the game. Gathering the re-start Hammers worked the ball back, through slick hands and structured play, to see Bob Davies (5) bundle over for his first try for Hammers in the 3 years he has been with the club.

Park responded the way a team that sits top of the league would, putting pressure on the resilient Hammers defence. Keeping them out for over 5 minutes eventually saw Park take a shot a gaols to cut the Hammers lead to 3-12 after twenty minutes. However, this pressure from Park kept up and Park ended up holding onto the ball effectively and scored two tries to take a 20-12 lead at half time.

The second half saw both teams continue the physical and expansive rugby that had been played in the first half as they searched to establish and capitalise on a lead. Park looked though as they had done enough to win when they lead by 23 points with 20 minutes left to go, however a well taken try from Shaun Curtis (13) and two scores from inform winger Leon (11) – one of which came from Ryan Kenny (6) turning the ball over on Hammers own 5 metre line and quick hands from Bertie (8) releasing Leon sprint clear from half-way – saw Park’s lead cut to 8 points with 12 minutes to go. Try as they might Hammers could not create the opportunities that they structure play deserved and Park kicked a penalty and held on to win the game by 11 points, 40-29.

A well-played game by both sides, but Hammers realise that accurate retention of the ball is crucial in this league to winning and couldn’t help but feel that they could have gotten more out of the game and look forward to taking on Belsize Park in two weeks’ time.

Tries:

Ed Brown

Bob Davies

Shaun Curtis

Leon Joseph x2

Conversions:

Harris x2

Man of The Match: Leon Joseph

Tin-Man: Seb Money – Leon scored hat-trick, touch judge Seb ruled his foot was on the line as he grounded the ball

Hammers 5s v London Welsh – Match Report

So the year began with a trip to a land once graced by Piri Weepu and Gavin Henson. London Welsh had been fairly easy oppo earlier in the season, but our own statistician and ex-pro surfer Antoine Bourgault had informed us they hadn’t lost since our last encounter, indicating a change in personnel perhaps.

Hammers began very well, with direct ball carrying from Tomos Edwards and Michael Cushion. Before long the pressure told and Hammers were 10-0 up thanks to tries from Jim Mitchell (showing that marriage infact does not sap you of any strength) and Jamie Drysdale.

A few lapses in defence however, soon led to us going in level at the break at 10-10.

The second half saw a high tempo set with both sides exchanging tries despite Hammers dominating the territory battle. A few stray final passes from the hammers kept London Welsh in the game and with 10 mins to go Welsh hit back to cut the hammers lead to 22-20.

Some smart “up the jumper” rugby along with the boot of Craig Duffy positioned the Hammers back in the Welsh 22. A couple of rhinos later Duffy jinked through a gap with the athleticism of a young Gary Player and touched down for the vital meat pie. A tidy conversion by Stiven Danby put the game out of reach from Welsh with 2 mins left on the clock.

Tackle of the game: Rory Newton dump tackle on no.8 approx 3 stone heavier than him.

Controversial moment: SBW denied fairytale comeback try (after knee surgery) by shocking referee call of crossing.

Try of the game: Jamie Drysdale from 35 yards out finishing off a backs move.

Man of match:  Craig Duffy – providing top service for the forwards. Metronomic touch finders and spotting the gap in the 77th minute to seal the game.

Tin Man: SBW for running into his own player and subsequently blocking himself from scoring a guaranteed try.
Try Scorers:
James Mitchell
Jamie Drysdale
Michele Borngorni
Craig Duffy x2

Hammers 3s v Chiswick – Match Report

It was a strong Hammers 3rd that took to Fortress Hurlingham against local rivals Chiswick on a frosty 6th January. Benefiting from a near full compliment of players returning after the festive break, it was a confident captain Steve Harris (15) led the boys in a warm-up characterised by the typical positivity and a forgiving demeanour from Andrew Rogan (3) directed at the highly skilled but low-functioning Billy-f*£king-Rylance (6).

After a delayed kick-off, the boys received the kick-off from a Chiswick only to find themselves quickly on the defensive.  What followed was  sustained period of pressure that lasted for approximately 15 minutes but was characterised by excellent line-speed defence and bone-crunching tackles.  The second row pairing of Thomas Broadway and Tim Lawson was especially physically, backed up by a beefier George O’hara (2), who put his xmas-added muscle to good use by not taking a back foot against the direct running of the powerful Chiswick forwards.  Nevertheless, after a fluid passage of play that saw Chiswick stretch the Hammers defense, they eventually scored out wide in a well deserved try, opening the scoring at 5-0.  Game on.

The boys quickly bounced back.  A short line out in the Hammers 30m mark was ably called, caught and passed by Tim Lawson, who passed to Dave Buchanan (9) in what would prove the start of a man-of-the-match performance at 9. Dave fed Jack Davies (10) who found the waiting hands of Mark Johnson (8).  A swift sidestep found a hole, and after big meters he offloaded to Rylance who ran it further, before finding the waiting hands of Taylor (13).  Taylor then ran it if from approximately 35 meters out, beating defenders to score in the corner.  Hammers back in the game.

Two quick tries followed.  Direct running by Josh Myers (12) up the guts from our own half created opportunities out wide that were exploited by Jack Davies to score near the posts.  Minutes later a powerful rolling maul followed, grinding its way to the line before Cillian Bane (11) – in what was the first of a brace of tries – somehow got the ball and scored under the posts.  3-tries-to-1 up.

At this point the typical Hammers ‘forget-what-got-you-there’ period began.  A series of penalties saw Chiswick fight their way back in the Hammers corner for a line out they won, before they spun it to the mid-field and poor tackling allowed them to score near the posts.  Shortly after, a uncharacteristic miss-kick for touch was caught on the Chiswick 10 meter line by their 15 who had wheels.  He then proceeded to carve up the field and take advantage of Hammers dog-leg defence.  3 tries a piece, with only the Hammers more accurate goal kicking keeping them ahead by 4.

Despite these setbacks, the boys emerged from the half confident that their skills and fitness would see them out.  What followed was a brilliant mix of running Rugby and a score board that regulatory ticked over.  Line-outs led to mauls, and powered by the legs of Simon Khalil tries were scored.  Front foot ball led to gaps out wide, exploited by Sol Lucas (14), and Cillian Waldron (13, replacement).  Whilst Chiswick did score again, to get within 5 points, the last 20 minutes saw a brace of tries take the final score out to 48-26.  Full time!

In a season where the wins have been hard to come by at times, such a commanding performance bodes well for the second half of the season. Here’s to next week!

Hammers 1s v Belsize Park – Match Report

Hammers turned up keen and fired up for the first game of the 2018 fixture list, hoping to leave behind some of the disappointing results seen in the first half of the season. Whilst results hadn’t gone our way, the Hammers 1st XV were playing some attractive rugby and looked confident in all pre match preparations. 

This continued past the first whistle as the Hammers dominated the first half. Despite letting in a try after 20 minutes, the Hammers bit back by scoring 3 tries in quick succession. 

The first came after a blistering flat line from back rower Angus simply split the Belsize defence in two with as hard line off 10. Beating one more man and being caught by another, a one handed offload to fellow back rower Magnus put the first points on the board. 

As if that wasn’t textbook enough, the second try came from another break of the Belsize midfield as fly half Jack used some fancy footwork to reach around the defender and tee up an inside offload to Lloyd Beeston who had one man to beat 15 meters out. In true Christmas spirit, presents had continued into the new year for lock Josh who offered a cracking support line to make it a 2v1. A simple and quick inside pass from Lloyd to Josh finished off yet another good offloading try. 

Whilst still carrying the momentum of the previous two tries, it was time for the backs to have a crack. After receiving the kick off, hammers ran straight back at Belsize and put the ball straight out to winger J Lo who only had 4 men to beat over 50 meters. One, two, three, four handoffs produced an easy finish for the Hammers winger to make it 19-5 to the home team. 

The second half gave little to scream and shout about for the Hammers. Belsize clearly had a wake up call and came back at the Hammers on a number of occasions, admittedly down to poor decision making and handling errors being punished. Letting in 4 tries in the second half left Hammers with too much to salvage but a try scoring bonus point. A late push from the home side wasn’t enough to secure the bonus point and the game ended with a flattering score line for Belsize to take home. 

Final Score: Hammers – 19, Belsize Park – 34

Harpenden away next in a must win game.