Hammers 2nd XV fight hard against determined London Welsh

Hammers Match Report

After a disappointing loss to H.A.C. 2’s the previous week at the fortress, Hammers 2’s were keen to right some wrongs when playing away at London Welsh. As a result of some bad cases of Couchevelitus and a list of injuries that had left Nugget quaking in his walking boots, the team heading into game day had plenty of fresh faces; due to Storm Eunice some of these faces were even blown out of retirement.

Before the match began, the team’s lined up for a minute’s applause as a celebration of the life of Jack Jeffery, who tragically passed away the week before playing for Evesham RFC. Jack’s twin brother Charles was playing in the 11 jersey to honour his brother that match.

The conditions on Saturday were about as bad as they could’ve possibly been, and the Hammers made the obvious decision to start with the wind behind us meaning the first half was ours to lose. The boys started the game with serious ferocity at the breakdown with turnovers coming thick and fast, resulting in Ross utilising his big boot (or 40mph wind behind him) to pin London Welsh in their 22 for most of the half.

Despite this dominance we failed to convert our chances as the same wind that was allowing for 60 metre kicks was also causing enough knock-ons to lead to your author still wearing a neck-brace while writing this. Suddenly, out of no where Adam Scaffardi did his best Beauden Barrett impression with an interception that left his team mates so surprised they didn’t support him. However, this did not matter as Adam ensured that in his words, he “intercepted from our own 10 metre line, gassed a London Welsh player and stepped the full back” to score our first try. Max Dugdale then managed in the gale-force winds to convert the try too.

By the time the half-time whistle went, we had conceded a well-worked try from London Welsh. The Hammers were already starting to suffer from some injuries to the team and the forwards were recovering from the 20 scrums in the first half, and a pep-talk from Nugget was needed.

With the side going into the second half with a 2-point lead and with the wind against us a serious shift was needed from everyone. However, lapses in decision-making along with poor execution led to us conceding two tries from London Welsh who took advantage of missed tackles. With one of these tries poetically being from Charles Jeffrey, who scored along with kicking two conversions in the second half.

With our scrum struggling against a large London Welsh pack and poor ground conditions, it was a relief when Rob came on to ensure that at least one half of our set-piece remained solid in the second half. Going into the last 15 minutes with the scores at 19 – 7, our captain, Michael Cook provided a contender for assist of the season. By providing a kick over the Welsh defence that Marcus Smith would be proud of, he managed to get the ball in the hands of George Nellany who managed to blister past scoring a try.

With the champagne moment providing the impetus for a final push to score another try the team put their bodies on the line and ended up with injuries to James Darrell, who came out of retirement, ending up dislocating his thumb and Cooky injuring his knee before he was able to insure it after his wonder-kick. Unfortunately, with a few decisions going the other way and a few players nearly helping themselves to some cheddar, our efforts were in vain.

The boys can be proud of managing to achieve a crucial losing bonus point thanks to two moments of magic and grit, however the feeling from camp is that we need to hit another level for the final two games of the league to give Hammers 2’s hope of the winning the title.

London Welsh 2nd XV 19 – 12 Hammersmith & Fulham 2nd XV

MOTM: Ben Dugdale DOTD: James Darrell