Hammers 1st XV produce an absolute masterclass!

And just like that the final whistle blew, Rogan bowed his head, a silence fell among the hammers, for they knew this was the end. A shake of the hand and a pat on the back for Hammer’s stalwart Andrew Rogan, as he signed off with his 99th and final cap for Hammersmith and Fulham.

But first let me take you back to 12:30pm at a warm and sunny London Cornish RFC. The Hammers 1st XV took the short trip down the A3 to the Richardson Evans Memorial Playing Fields. The rugby gods had been good to South West London’s local rivalry, a blue sky, dry pitch, and slight breeze set the scene for a free-flowing game of rugby.

The forwards met in the away changing room, with fresh 21mm studs recently acquired from Amazon, following head coach Mark Jackson’s demands earlier in the week. Equipped with pliers and various tools, the piano pushers got to work, resembling a scene from scrap heap challenge. Once Luke the physio had finished putting Steve John back together, the Hammers took to the field against fourth place Cornish.

The captains met and determined that Cornish would have the honour of starting the match.  The first 5 minutes saw Cornish and Hammers exchange kicks to win the territory battle early on. A high kick to scrum half Ben Dugdale, combined with a good kick chased, saw the 9 under pressure. However, a calm and collected catch, quick ruck speed and intelligent thinking, saw centre Ed Haynes put away Joe Carolan down the blind side for the first try of the game. Conversion missed, 5-0 Hammers.

Solid defence from both Cornish and Hammers, muddled with handling errors resulted in a 10-minute stint of deadlock. Play stopped to see to the injured Hammers second row Pete Clark, who for his defensive efforts, earned himself a broken nose. Resembling an Easter Island statue, Pete took his place among the bench.

Neither team could break down the opposition defence for the following 12 minutes. Pressurised kicks to Hammers full back and Maxime Medard doppelgänger, Marshall McLeod, were dealt with comfortably, as hammers looked to regain territory. It would be Cornish that capitalised next, sustained pressure from the Cornish pack and backline resulted in a penalty just outside of the 22- which the Cornish gladly accepted and kicked for the posts, scoreline 5-3.

Hammers, with a restart deep into the Cornish half, took the ball back early on, soft hands from debutant Will Donegan provided an opportunity for the backs to get on the outside of the defence. Fantastic footballing skills from winger Robbie Murdoch gave Tim Russell a head-to-head sprint with the last defender. The ball popped up perfectly for the pacy winger to cruise in for the second Hammersmith try of the day.

Conversion in front of the post missed, which according to Carolan, is a result of the taping around his standing boot, an excuse which will certainly not hold up in a Jacob Poulton court hearing, taking place later in the season. Scoreline 10-3. The hammers shortly after the restart pounced on the opportunity to shift the ball wide and caught Cornish napping. Slick hands down the right wing, saw McLeod and Russell exchange passes, to run in a try from their own 22.

Alex Spicer, lucky not to see cheese, thought it sensible to trip the Cornish player following their kick chase, one can only assume he was showing off to his girlfriend who had made the trip over from Clapham.

Cornish kept the Fulham boys pinned down in their own half and eventually, were rewarded with a penalty and kicked for the posts in a bid to bring the scoreline closer. Continuous pressure from the Hammers resulted in them awarded a penalty on the halfway, quick thinking from Weaver to shift the ball wide from a tap and go, saw Alex Hart cross the try line for the try bonus point as hammers finished the half.

Early into the second half it would be Steve John who would take the plaudits for another try, an interesting yet effective lineout move saw Dr Steve dive through the air and across the try line. Ricky Drewitt, the in-form hooker, claimed it was his plan all along. Conversion successful.

A signature Carolan intercept try would be the next blow for the Cornish defence, as he skipped in from the halfway. An injured Matt Killeen looking on from the sideline as his leading try tally, overtaken by the leading points scorer in England, conversion successful. Carolan full of confidence would once again add his name to the scoresheet, following a scrum move straight off the training park, to see him gather his own chip and chase and dot down in the corner.

The Hammers will be most pleased with the following try, which arguably was the best of the day. Patient yet direct attack, had Ross Anderson carry hard to the line, some dancing footwork and delightful offload, saw Ed Haynes dot over for his first of the day (click here to watch this try and others on our youtube page).

The following 10 minutes had Cornish pinning Hammers back into their half, a quick reload back down the blind side had the Cornish second row headed for the try line. Tackle of the day contender from Tim Russell to force the ball to be held up over the try line, a massive let off for Hammersmith.

The remainder of the game involved the relentless Cornish looking to break down the Hammersmith defence. Tackles led by John, Proctor and Haynes proved this difficult for the Cornish attack. Slick hands from the Cornish defence resulted in a near try opportunity, but it was the ever-reliable Ed Haynes with the covering tackle, forcing the Cornish player into touch. A safe lineout gathered from the Hammers finished the game resulting in an impressive victory, 46-6 over local rivals.

Hammers finish their 5-game block with maximum points.