Hammers 2s open their season in a thriller!

Saturday. A Rugby day. Ushered in by perhaps the last of the summer sun, the Bastard 2’s rocked up to Hurlingham Park before and after the allotted meet time, Fulham v Luton is a recipe for disaster on New Kings Road…

It had been a long road to this moment, the 2nd XV boys having started their preseason off two months prior. The season before had ended in both a bang and a whimper, the oppo crying off for our last game of the season and allowing us to get on the beers and watch the 1’s win theirs at Windsor. After 8 weeks of Ian making us run, crawl, turn and stretch our hip flexors to within an inch of their lives, the boys were up for an actual game of rugby on an actual rugby pitch.

26 degrees, dry pitch, not a cloud in the sky. Your author was preparing himself for a game of rugby how it was intended to be played. Fast flowing, running rugby, but boy was I wrong. One up rugby, pick and go’s from the 22, and countless handling errors. You could have been forgiven for thinking it was the middle of February at a boggy wet Hurlingham.

The 2’s started brightly with plenty of intent, but forcing the issue when speculative offloads were not on and sloppy handling errors hamstrung us over the first half. A silly penalty and some soft defence allowed Maidenhead over the line first to open the scoring. Conversion missed. Shortly after Max kicked a penalty to keep us in touching distance. The rest of the half went by in the following fashion:

Make Break

Make Mistake


For about 20 minutes until on the stroke of halftime Josh AA our Winger-turned-Flanker-turned-Winger-again-but-sometimes-Flanker, forced a superb penalty on the opposition 5 which Ross took quickly and popped out to Fergal who had a simple finish in the corner. Conversion missed. HT 8-5 Hammers.

The 2nd half picked up on the action but the theme of the game remained the same. Hammers showed promise in their build-up play but coughed it up when things were looking good. Maidenhead scored back to back tries through more crashing and pick and going. 8-15. Hammers hit back through debutant Oscar after some quick hands from Max and Ollie allowed Oscar to run in untouched. Conversion missed. 13-15. FINALLY, with 15 mins to go the backs managed to execute a set play, with Ollie feeding captain Mad Dog with a brilliant delayed pass allowing him to streak through, beat a defender and score. Max woke up again and decided to make his conversion. 20-15.

Maidenhead responded again with a try of their own through yet another scintillatingly boring passage of rugby. 1 up crash, pick and go CTRL + C, CTRL + V. Their 3rd kicker of the day managing to finally slot one. 20-22.

With about 5 mins on the clock Max kicked a penalty to put us back in front, with an uncomfortably slender advantage going into the last knockings of the game, 23-22. Hammers gave away an ugly penalty, and their kicker definitely kicked it dead over the try line, only for the ref to call it back to be kicked again because Maidenhead decided they wouldn’t have anyone running the line from their side and it was ‘The fairest way to do it’. Maidenhead’s maul had been causing us problems all day but Hammers managed to stop the drive and keep the Maidenhead pick and go’s at bay long enough to win a penalty for holding on as the clock went red.

All in all a lot to work on, but a lot to be proud of. Defence under the pump when it mattered most was superb.

MOTM – Toby, great performance on the flank, strong in the tackle and great work rate. Debut as well? Show off..

DOTD – Anton, if you know the GIF from The Simpsons of Homers dad coming into Moe’s and leaving straight away, this was kind of like that. Came on, straight into a scrum, hurt his arm in said scrum and came off. All in the name of a free pint.

Also a bit shoutout to recently retired former Nat 1 Sensation Ben Hatton, for giving up his free time from inspiring the future generations at his Primary School, to coach the Bastard 2’s whilst Nugget was off playing Semi Pro ruggers.

One of the more forgettable games of rugby, yet somehow still more exciting than watching England kick aimlessly for 60 minutes on Sunday.

Every unbeaten campaign starts with a win….onto the next.