Hammers 4s v Grasshoppers – Match Report

On a lovely Saturday afternoon Hammers travelled West to face Grasshoppers, a team who had won both opening games with bonus point wins. Upon arrival Hammers were met with a lovely pitch for some running rugby, and with an intense and accurate warm up Hammers went back into the changing room confident of starting strongly.

Starting strong didn’t materialize and having failed to get out of the 22 after fielding the Grasshoppers kick off, Hammers were turned over and with some powerful Grasshoppers runners out wide, Hammers were soon under their posts having conceded the opening try.

Following the restart, Grasshoppers used their kicking game to good effect to pin Hammers back in their 22. After some strong carries in the midfield, a Grasshoppers runner cut a lovely line to dot down under the posts causing Hammers to regroup once again.

However, regroup they did. A very contestable kick off from Tim le Breton (10) led to some big forward pressure and the ball was stripped free from Grasshoppers hands. The ball was quickly passed wide where six Hammers attackers faced four Grasshoppers defenders. Some brilliant handling down the line saw John Brierly (15) touchdown in the corner, and Hammers coaches everywhere rejoiced that the decision to ditch 25 v 25 man touch in favour of 6 v 4 at training had paid off.

Hammers then really started playing their structures and which led to holes appearing in the Grasshoppers defence. The forward pack was to the fore with some strong carries, Bertie Western Davies (6) and Tommy Hayes (2) in particular constantly sticking their hands up to truck the ball up.  This frustrated Grasshoppers, who soon found themselves down to 13 men thanks to two yellow cards for cheap shot at the ruck on Matt Perry (9), and then taking the man in the air.

Some strong running from the Hammers midfield soon led to more good field position and a strong 5 metre scrum led to Andrew Tillbrook (8) crashing over the whitewash.

Frustratingly, Hammers were still to concede another try before the half was out, but still headed for the half time huddle knowing they could turn this round.

The first 15 minutes of the second half Hammers used this belief to peg Grasshoppers back in their own 22. A series of scrums and line-outs came, but frustratingly went without any further scores.

If that was an encouraging 15 minutes of the match, the next 15 was the complete opposite. Dropped balls, missed tackles, silly penalties and numerous other errors allowed Grasshoppers to run away with the game, running in a handful of tries to effectively kill off the Hammers challenge.

Hammers ended with a good sniping try from Matt Perry, from a quick tap penalty, but ultimately the day ended in frustrating fashion.

Afterwards it was to the bar where James Lalor was awarded man of the match for his strong tackling and carrying, while Tommy Hayes took the tin man award for a tap and go penalty in his own 22 – on his own.

Final Score: Grasshoppers 42 – Hammers 17

MOTM – James Lalor

Tin Man – Tommy Hayes