Hammers 3rd XV lose it in the last minute

Saturday 29th October would see Hammers III make the annual pilgrimage up to the Regents Park ‘Hub’, to play Belsize Park III, on a day that would have climate change sceptics struggling for explanations on how the weather was this hot, this late in the year.

Kicking into the sun, an excellent kick off allowed for a good compete in the air, with Hammers coming down with their own kick-off, inside Belsize territory. After 2 phases of play, Centre Harrison Moy found the ball in his hands and danced around a mis-matched Hooker, to score from 30 meters out. Despite the conversion going awry, it was an almost perfect start for Hammersmith and Fulham.

After the opening score, the early exchanges were physical and attritional, with both teams battling hard for the middle third of the pitch. Belsize’s physicality, however started to show, with some strong runners making meters for the home team. Hammer’s defense inside their own 22 was stalwart and kept Belsize scoreless after 30 minutes.

If anything, it was sloppy handling from both teams that held both sides back from putting more points on the scoreboard. Belsize couldn’t seem to catch a cold with the ball and Hammers unwisely chose to try and play from their own territory, rather than kicking for better field placement, dropping the ball a couple of times in the process.

After 35 minutes, with the score still at 5-0, Hammers would turn over a scrum in their own 22 and it was again Centre Harrison Moy, who would beat 4 Belsize players on his way to scoring a solo 80 meter try. The conversion was slotted over by Jake Cheetham, Hammers 12-0 up as we went to half time.

The second half wouldn’t start as quick as the first but more of the same style of play would follow. Some good, hard yards were made in carries by the Hammersmith pack, through forwards Joe Pearce, Will Gibbs as well as backs Adam Crompton and Sam Nursey. But, Belsize would start to turn the screw in the 2nd half, scoring two well worked tries in quick succession, after 50 minutes of play.

With the scores tied at 12-12 it was anyone’s game entering the final quarter. Hammersmith played some good phases and the backs worked well to win some ball in Belsize territory, however they weren’t able to turn pressure to points, with a penalty, that would have taken the lead, being pushed just wide with 10 minutes to go.

The match would come down to the final play, as Belsize used a penalty to find touch deep in Hammer’s half. A (somewhat) straight lineout was mauled to withing a meter, and after a number of pick and go’s – Belsize were over, taking the points with the final blow of the whistle.

A fiercely contested match that could have gone either way, we look forward to the return fixture later on this year.