Hammers 1st XV eventually break down a tough London Irish.

All the best stories are full of adventure, intrigue and a happy ending; this one is no different. So sit back, relax and let me beguile you with the tale of ‘How Rogan lost his trousers’

The wind howled and the rain raged all morning, but even the heavens submitted as the mighty Hammers arrived at the incredibly expensive looking venue for the afternoon. There was a jovial mood among the league leaders during the warm up; Lineouts were looking sharp, Ollie was slotting kicks and Rogan had successfully paid a drifter to hide his boots. By the time kick off came the Hammers were ready to reassert their authority after a close one the week before.

The first kick didn’t go exactly to plan as the wind carried it straight in to touch. From the scrum back on halfway Irish kicked forward to give Hammers a lineout on their own 22. A good take and set maul saw Hammers march on a good 10m before Dugdale, using some sort of forbidden witchcraft, appeared with ball behind the opposition and set off on a weaving run eventually being stopped in the opposition 22. Great support from Hammers saw another 2 phases before a side entry into the ruck on the opposite wing gave Irish the turnover. An exciting start to the game, but that was all the excitement to be seen for the next 20 minutes or so.

Both sides exchanged some heavy clashes in the midfield with neither side really gaining the upper hand. Strong carries from the Hammers forwards and some excellent crash balls from the hard working Maddigan in the centre put pressure on the Irish defence but unfortunately most plays eventually broke down with a knock on or a forward pass. The period did, however, take a hard toll on the home side who lost their centre and hooker to injury as well as several others picking up knocks.

Late in the half the deadlock was finally about to break. A scrum on the right hand side just outside the opposition 22 was followed by an 8 12 strike move that saw the enigma that is Joe Carolan carve through the line and make light work of the full back to score under the posts. He promptly added the 2 with the conversion.

A good take from the restart and a strong platform from the Hammers forwards allowed the backs to immediately break the line again. Deep In the opposition half Carolan and Dugdale faced a 2 on 1 with the fullback. However, it was now time for Dugdale to pay the price for his use of Witchcraft earlier in the game as an ill-timed glance at the winger meant he couldn’t quite take Carolan’s pass and the opportunity went begging.

A little later a well-placed kick into the corner saw Irish carry the ball over their own line and Hammers had a scrum on the opposition 5. Hammers couldn’t quite get over the line but did win a penalty in front of the posts that Carolan was all too happy to use to add 3 more points to his ever growing tally.

Following the restart, Hammers gave away a penalty trying to play out of their own 22. The Irish kicker was told to go for the sticks but took it slightly too literally and the ball bounced off the upright and straight into the hands of Dugdale. Hammers got just outside the 22 before knocking on again and giving Irish the scrum. A strong scrum from Irish put them on the front foot and as they played wide their centre managed to slip a tackle and go over for the first points for the home team. This time the Irish kicker managed to convert for the extra 2. Half time with the score 10-7 to Hammers.


The second half opened with a great take from debutant Zak followed by a clearance from Carolan that took play back up to half way. 2 penalties later and Irish had a lineout on the hammer’s 5. The

maul was well defended but Irish played into the middle of the field, their play eventually ending with a knock on in front of the posts. The Danger wasn’t over for Hammers though as a scrum penalty led to an Irish scrum in the same position. Irish capitalized on this and eventually got over the line during the ensuing pick and goes that followed their scrum. Irish added the 2 and brought the score to 14-10 Irish.

The classic and well deserved angry pep talk under the posts from Jacko saw Hammers fly back up the field immediately after the restart forcing a lineout in the opposition 22. Great pressure from the Hammers forwards forced another line out, this time for Hammers. A well-executed catch and drive saw Spicer fall over the line in the corner. The kick proving just too difficult left the score at 15-14 to Hammers.

Following the restart, Hammers cleared their 22 with an excellent kick chase and some aggressive defending leading to a penalty on the half way line. The kick to the corner was followed by some strong forward carries before the ball was released to the backs who couldn’t quite finish the move and Irish were given a penalty to clear their lines.

Irish, through another penalty, took the ball up to the Hammers 10m line but a superb steal in the lineout put Hammers back in the driving seat. A great carry from Steve John led to a penalty for Hammers who promptly put the ball in the corner. A few phases later Zak was almost decapitated in the tackle and Irish were given a yella card, I can’t spek! Another fantastic catch and drive at the lineout saw Ed Wynne claim the second forward try of the day. Again the kick from the corner proving too much and the score became 20-14 to Hammers.

Another well-handled restart took the ball back up to halfway where eventually Irish won a scrum. Another scrum penalty saw Irish tap and go, carrying up to the 10m line and attempt to play wide. A late tackle on the opposition 10 by Pete Clarke received retaliation form the aforementioned 10 in the form of a school boy classic; the old kick the foot and trip him up while he walks away. Pete of course milked this savage attack with an acting prowess Harty would be proud of, alas to no avail as Irish were promptly awarded a penalty for the late tackle. Irish missed their shot at goal and the game was restated with a 22m dropout.

More strong defence from Hammers resulted in a scrum and a break up the wing via MC ‘Mutton Chops’ Cloud. He made it all the way to the 22 before taking a huge hit from a blade of grass. A quick pick and go from the man with the strongest beard in the club was followed by the most perfectly timed, well executed and glorious offload ever seen to young Dugdale who dived over the line! However the sirens blared as the ‘Anti Joue Police’ called a forward pass.

Irish cleared their lines but another excellent lineout from the Hammers forwards took them back into the 22. Pressure built through several phases of hard forwards carries and eventually led to Josh Smith sneaking over in the corner. This time Carolan managed to get the extras. 27-14 Hammers. The third forward try of the day led a certain Prince Charming and master author to comment how ‘unhammerly’ we were being.

It was Irish’s turn to over kick the restart and Hammers got the scrum back on the centre spot. Hammers kicked into the corner and with a fantastic chase forced the penalty right on the opposition 5m. A textbook Bulls call and a quick joker saw Carolan stroll over for his second of the day. He unfortunately couldn’t convert his own try and the score became 32-14.

Both sets of backs then felt the need for a quick game of kick tennis for the last few minutes, which resulted in a penalty to Hammers. Hammers executed a line out strike move straight off the training

ground but Spicer was stopped just short of the line. A loose pass rolled into to touch and the final whistle blew. 32-14, another 5 point win for Hammers who continue their perfect run at the top of the league.

And if you’re wondering what happened to Rogan’s trousers… well so is he. I can offer you one piece of advice though; never ever trust Dr…Steve..John