’was an overcast Saturday with heavy rain overnight, waterlogged pitch which played in the favour of Kilburn Cosmos large pack. Some were playing through their heads the loss earlier in the season with Jonny Sexton style 45m drop goal in the dying minutes to take a win for the Cosmos on the holy land of Hurlingham Park.
The warm up looked slick and the lads were up for the battle knowing the odds were partially against them from a league positioning perspective. This did not phase the Lads routine and commitment. Knowing we had the direction of De Wolf, Will Parker (beer bench due to suspected broken neck/thumb) and Tillbrook (c) the tables would be turned with structure, structure, structure.
The game kicked off, boy did the hammers apply the pressure, for the first five minutes Cosmos couldn’t leave their last third. Everyone on the pitch and the beer bench swing lowing in full force could see a try coming. They were not disappointed a well executed and dominating driving maul put us to five metres out then some quick hands to Hamish who executed the chance with no hesitation. Five-nil to hammers.
After the kick off some against the play Cosmo pressure and little lack of discipline from the Hammers gave them an opportunity to come away with points.
Five – three….. then another try for the Cosmos which was not converted from a bit of sloppy play and a turnover from the Hammers trying to exit their 22. After some strong words from Tilbrook the Hammers started to front up again, with some blistering pace down the wing from Emmett (11) and Mark Bishop (15) yards were being gained then after a lost ball the Cosmos were on the attack. Matt Perry (9) who had been bossing it from behind the pack decided to put his body on the line but sadly did not come out well and the stretcher of Parker and De Wolf was needed. Ed Brown (9) came on knowing he had a point to prove (as he arrived very very late… tin man possibility). The game started open up, we went wide but sadly George (13) had to retire from international duty due to a legacy knee injury.
A bit of Cosmos pressure followed, then on the attack, Ed Brown (9) put up a box kick which was duly chased by Eldridge and Brown. The Cosmos 15 didn’t know what to do, he half committed but the full commitment of the Hammers boys saw Eldridge gather inside the 22 and pass outside him selflessly to Kris Conor to convert.
Notable injury around the 30 minute mark for George legacy knee issues, will be a big loss for the rest of the season.
The first half then stagnated with piles of pressure from the Cosmos and a solid line of defence from the Hammers which they were unable to break. Although we got away with some ill-discipline as the Cosmos were unable to convert 2 penalties.
The first 15 minutes of the second half was very much the same as the latter stages of the first. Continual Cosmo pressure until the larger Cosmos pack finally rolled over the line to what looked like a dubious grounding but was awarded none the less.
This put the Hammers into over drive. Pressurising the Cosmos with some flare knowing they needed to bring a W home.
Quick snipe from 9 with Emmet outside him pass was about to be completed and Emmett had been smashed without the ball and was out cold. The Hammers boys were screaming for a penalty as Emmett was clear through, when he came to he had a Mark Bishop golden lock within the cut, so a notable hammer on hammer collision!
Hammers still trailing by a converted try, Ed Brown tried to gain some yards with a well weighted box kick that their winger collected in the air. A steam rolling slightly overweight 9 was on his way and there was no stopping him. The winger had not quite made it to the ground (all of 1” according to the beer bench) and was hit rather hard. Was this a yellow card offence, the Cosmos seemed to think so but the referee thought that it was a 50/50 challenge and awarded the Cosmos a penalty. A lucky break for the hammers to not have gone down to 14 men.
Some notable yards gained as the game was coming to its close with the Cosmos sitting back trying to slow the game down knowing they could no longer play the route one rugby that has turned so many other teams over. The backs were in the zone with the well drilled moves, commitment in the ticks and some quick ball.
Hammers scrum, the referees watch was beeping as the ball was fed in to the scrum. Some same way rugby opened up an over lap that was spotted, the ball was shipped from 9 to 12 to Mark Bishop who committed the defender and we had a 2 on 1 sympathetic pop to Kris on the wing outside the 5m line. The clock hit 81 mins and Kris was in, the beer bench, the players were besides themselves. It was like the moment Johnny Wilkinson sat in the pocket and time seemed to stop….. the ball was knocked on…. the whistle blew for full time… then the flood gates started!!!
Thanks to De Wolf and Parker for making this an epic season.
The beer bench deserve a special mention, at times I felt like a Welshman in the principality stadium.
Some notable hits from Tillbrook, eldridge and Tommy.
Mom – Eldridge
Tin man – Ed Brown (horrendous admin and punctuality)
Debutants – George Evans, Andy Punter and Charlie McCarthy.