Hammersmith and Fulham continued their excellent away form this season with victory over a physical and hard working Enfield side.
Hammers started the game as they had the week previous, with quick ball and a strong attacking threat. Within the opening couple of minutes Ultan Bruton made an excellent break, running at a weak inside shoulder and breaking clear from 40m to score. This attacking threat and energy continued with Angus Lean scoring an excellent solo try just minutes later, beating several Enfield defenders with a weaving run towards the posts. Si Doherty converted and a 12-0 lead was established.
Enfield however demonstrated why they are team to fear this season with some strong running and excellent tackling to place Hammersmith under pressure. With Hammers giving away penalties and Enfield establishing a foot hold in the game they soon scored. A strong rolling maul and a good finish from their forwards put them back in the game, the try was duly coveted and the score stood at 12-7.
As the first half progressed both teams played some solid rugby with Cillian Waldron and Jack Hooper working hard in the centres in both attack and defence. In addition, Rob Johnstone and Phil Lord illustrated some excellent work around the ruck to steal possession and alleviate periods of Enfield pressure.
As the first half neared it’s end Si Doherty converted a good penalty to give the Hammers some breathing space. Moments later an excellent box kick from Sam Sheppard placed the Enfield back three under pressure, this led to Hammersmith regaining possession. With a strong scrum and some excellent hands Ed James put Huw Bowen in to score in the corner.
Half time score 18-7.
Enfield started the second half strongly, some excellent running lines and numerous off loads out of the tackle placed the away side under pressure. This pressure eventually told with Enfield breaking the Hammers resistance and scoring. Some excellent goal kicking from the Enfield fly half meant the home side were always in touch.
As the second half progressed Hammers needed a moment of brilliance to extend their slender lead. Once more, a brilliant platform from the forwards and some excellent offloads out of the tackle gave Hammers good field position, this would lead to Jack Hooper scoring a brilliant try out on the left.
Enfield however demonstrated why they are a strong and resilient side this season, coming right back at Hammersmith. Wave after wave of yellow and blue shirts pounded the Hammers defence, only to be matched by some outstanding defence, with two try’s held up over the line. Enfield however were not deterred and finally broke down the Hammers defence to score deep in the corner with less than 10 minutes remaining.
With just 3 points separating the sides the game would be won by the team that could hold their nerve. As Enfield elected to chip over the top and relinquish possession, Huw Bowen retrieved the ball, kicking deep into the corner, this placed the Enfield winger under pressure, and consequently Hammers regained possession just 5m out from the line. An accurate line out and and superb rolling maul from the Hammers forwards resulted in Tim Murray scoring and putting Hammersmith 8 points ahead with just 90 seconds on the clock. This time would prove to be too short for Enfield with Hammersmith running down the clock and taking the victory.
Credit should go to both Enfield and Hammersmith for what was an excellent game of rugby in all forms. It is evident both sides have made big strides over the summer months and will look to improve upon their league positions from last year.
Dunseath says, “It was the win we came for. We worked hard on certain key areas of defence the last few weeks and despite allowing them in for two driving mauls they couldn’t get through or round us for 72mins.
I’m incredibly proud of the players, who showed significant determination, guts and character. It’s especially pleasing with their game management. We spoke about “moments” in the game that all add up, mid week. Seeing the players problem solve and realise they didn’t need the ball in the last 10mins was an outstanding display of maturity.”
Enfield 22 Hammersmith and Fulham 30