Hammers 1st XV put on a show against London Irish

With the dust having settled from the weekend before, which left many through the camp deflated, a palpable sense of redemption was in the air; the latest battle a mere few hours away. A wise man once said, “The greatest glory in living lies not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall” and it was time for Hammersmith and Fulham to rise.

The sun began to set behind the horizon on a cold January afternoon, and the chosen men of Hammersmith and Fulham RFC landed their vessels on the shores of a common foe, London Irish Wild Geese. Walking out to the battle ground, last week’s Somme-like conditions a mere figment in the memories, with this week’s track the envy of the finest dance floors up and down the country, as if the groundsman of Lords and the most talented carpet fitters in the land had woven a surface so perfect for rugby, even Saint Fiacre of Breuil could merely dream of. The light dwindling and the pre match festivities over, in the depths of their barracks, the men of Hammersmith tightened the boots and adorned their armour, all be it the wrong kit due to an error of Poultonic proportions.

A crowd gathered, and silence rang around only pierced by the referee’s whistle to commence conflict. The ball was in play and a game was afoot. The first blow struck by the Irish hoard, as they regathered possession from the kick-off, and proceeded the march forth towards the hammers line. Repelled by stoic defence, the geese came time and time again, before the drawbridge did fall and the barricades of hammersmith were breached. First blood drawn. 7-0. From the off Hammersmith’s resident back rowers of Harry Scarr, Sean McMahon and Steve John , clearly on loan from the local logging company, had come to fell some Irish birch, and down they did fall. Back and forward with no gain from either side, a stalemate on the western front. Until an unknown beast used all his speed and ferocity to leave a trail of geese in its wake. A beast of golden flair, but what was this creature that could spring with the quickness of lightening. A buck escaped from Richmond Park? or a stallion bolting towards the finish line? Maybe the mane was a lion? But no, a badger, a honey badger! 7-7 the Hammers were back, and Rich Vaughan had claimed another for his meat pie collection.

Like two matched boxers the geese and the hammers played host to trading blows momentarily. Using our front row of Ed Wynne, Ricky Drewitt, and Jacob Poulton as battering rams, and a centre partnership as if David and Goliath had joined forces; the hammers continued to press. A strike from the boot of our captain saw the Irish line forced backwards. However, it was about to get worse for this gaggle of geese, soon to be rendered a mere raft of ducks. Again, a dart from the golden maned honey badger saw yet more geese drop out of the sky, and this hungry badger score another meat pie. 7-15. This was not to be the last quack from the Irish wild geese, their industrious escapades deep into the hammersmith territory fruited reward in a try that could only be described as “the third try of the game”. 14-15.

Down the left-hand flank, Hammersmith released the hounds of hell, and overcome by the spirits of the American frontier, the fastest hands in west, the ball was passed back and forth, turning the Irish defenders left and right. From one to another, Fijian offloading the dish of the day, and served up a plenty to see hammers dive over in the corner. But wait, do my eyes deceive me? Do these beasts come in pairs? Had Hammersmith and Fulham played Noah and brought them in two-by-two? Deep in Irish territory the hammers had just unleashed their ace in the pack, their tastiest snac, their two-pronged honey badger attack, Tim Russel the beneficiary. 14-20.

The Hammersmith line as strong as ever took the fight to the Irish defence once more, with attacks coming from all angles, only time would be the barrier for the hammers. Sustained bombardment behind enemy line saw the ref blow loud awarding Hammersmith a penalty, up steps the assassin from full back, Pete Morris. Irish wild geese lay strewn around, wings clipped, and beaks shattered, the insult to be added by a quick tap, and a pass to his fortunate comrade, captain Joe Carolan, to waltz under the sticks and put to bed a half the geese were praying to end. 14-27

The half came and the bombardment from either team halted, as breaths were drawn, and the wounded tended to. Cries out for “more” rang throughout the Hammer’s ranks. Come the second half, and a renewed Irish team had come to play, the accelerator pedals untouched by the Hammersmith contingent. Darting breaks, slick hands, and attritional carries became the order of the day. No team could break the stale mate. A line out firing on all cylinders kept the geese at bay, with a defensive line that refused to be broken. Only time would stand in the way of Hammersmith now, and the clock was about to strike. A metronomic advance into the Irish 22 the prequel for what was to come. The move started by the reliable dartsman of Ricky Drewitt, bamboozling the Irish forwards to send Dr.John crashing in behind. With honey badgers in tow, the backs were called upon. Bodies ran left and right, the geese dazzled, opened a gap as if Moses could part this green sea too. Through went a hungry honey badger sniffing for a meat pie, to scavenge his second, Tim Russel no less. A highlight that will live long in the memory. 14-34.

The sound of pints being poured in the bar gave spirit to the tired bodies on the field, but the final whistle was blown putting an end to the game. Hammersmith and Fulham the victors, the country road with take us home today, and eyes now look to the next crusade; To Farnham we ride.