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.