Hammers yet again take Welsh all the way in a thriller!

After the previous weekend’s win over Battersea Ironsides, Hammersmith and Fulham looked to take on second-place London Welsh, themselves coming to the game having lost to a tough Medway. Walking into Old Deer Park on that Saturday afternoon with the sun shining and a gentle breeze, Hammersmith and Fulham had quiet confidence that they could come away with a big win, as it had all the marking for a great day for rugby.

Taking the pitch with both sets of fans roaring for their teams, Hammersmith received the ball in their half and exited well, making Welsh play from just inside their half. Welsh began to get in their attacking structure early, going through phases until an opportunity out-wide and a missed Hammers tackle let them in.  The kick was good, giving Welsh a 7-0 lead.

The Hammers’ restart did not go well, – straight into touch.  The resulting Welsh scrum on the halfway line led to Welsh looking to strike another blow but Hammersmith’s defence forced them to cough up the bal. Quickly, Ross Anderson stepped up and put a quick crossfield kick in for Rich Vaughan on the wing, who chased hard and caused his opposite number to knock it on.  Recovered by Hammersmith, the boys looked to for width and ran hard.  Close to the line, a well-timed switch by Ross led to a 2-on-1, only to see the Welsh fullback slap the ball down down 5 meters out.  Promptly shown a big slice of cheddar (not the last slice to be given out today), Welsh’s luck held with a missed lineout from Hammersmith allowing them to exit.

Welsh looked to bring more pressure through their attack but the Hammers defence stood strong, forcing them back to their own half.  A rushed box kick from the welsh 9 fell into Tim Russell’s hand, which allowed the back three to expose the broken Welsh line, moving the ball to the wing to find Captain Joe Carolan with eclectic feet and pace to beat all challenges and run in for Hammersmith’s first try.  The kick? Missed – 7-5.

Welsh’s restart kicked long but Hammers won a penalty of the first phase allowing a nice exit. Welsh then stole the ball back and looked to make inroads into the Hammersmith defence again.  A number of strong tackles from the Hammersmith line left the Welsh looking to go wide, only for the ball to catch Tim Russell’s hand – he is sent to the walking for a 10-minute break on the side-line as the ref shows his second yellow card. Following this now with a man down Hammersmith and Fulham showed so great defence until the numbers got too much and Welsh went in again on the outside. 14-5.

The game was really starting to heat up and it looked like it could be a game for the ages with strong coming attacks from both sides as well as dynamic running.  A mid-field scrum allowed Hammersmith a platform to launch a try-scoring attack but the debutant Matt Killeen, could not pull in the last pass. Scrum to Welsh; the box went up landing in Tim’s hands, he quickly went upside-down as the Welsh player tip tackled him only to be subsequently sent off the pitch for 10 minutes with some cheddar of his own.

Welsh started giving away a flurry of penalties, but the Hammers could not break through and Welsh would keep smashing the ball as long as possible with the clearing kicks, answered by the Hammers  back three of Tim, Rich, and Matt to put some pinpoint kicks in return.

With the first half coming to the close and with tired bodies on both sides, Welsh han an opportunity for one last score after a missed call by the Hammers backs saw the ball flying off over the dead ball line. The 5-meter scrum pushed over, the Welsh scored again, and the afters made it 21-5 going into the sheds.

The second half started with speed as Hammersmith looked to bounce back.  a sharp line out on the welsh 22 allowed Rob Vaughan to galop his way into the corner with the Mullet in full flow and keeping the winger and fullback at bay! Try!! Carolan steps up from the sideline and slots the kick to make it 21-12.

With Hammersmith conceding a penalty at scrum time, welsh looks to go to the corner. The maul was met and stopped by Hammersmith, but after throwing as many bodies at it, that allowed the welsh winger to go over in the corner.  The kick this time missed, making it 26-12

Moving into the last 20 minutes of the match Welsh started to pressure the Hammers try line but with some stoic defence, Welsh elected to take 3 points and make the score 29-12. From the kick-off is Hammersmith looked to start firing on all cylinders, push on the welsh line, and get a scrum 5 meters out. The scrum platform allowed Matt Killeen to go over in the corner after some sharp lines from Pete Bicknell and fast hands again from Joe Carolan ad Tim Russell. Kicked missed making it 29-17.

Straight off the kick-off, quick hands allowed Tim Russell to get loose and make vast amounts of ground and push deep into the Welsh half, with Angus “Honk” Brown adding his barrelling run. Hammersmith looked to capitalise as Welsh give away a penalty, with Ben Dugdale quickly tapping and going and putting us on the front foot.  Alex Spicer and Tom Proctor threw their bodies into carries, then the ball flies outback and with a half break and an offload, Matt Killeen goes in again for his second, (should have been third). The kick is good 29-24.  Can Hammersmith and Fulham pull this one back from the brink?

The boys certainly felt we could – the restart cames and again quick hands looking to make holes in the defence of Welsh, but better yet a penalty!!! A big kick gave us some good mid-field ball off a line. Another big carry from Pete Bicknell, like he had done all day. But a miss-targeted offload almost lead to another slap down but the welsh players came up with it. Time was up and with a kick to touch that was the game, 29-24