Week 2 of the season was firmly in the rear-view mirror; the Hammersmith bandwagon couldn’t wait to depart and move onto the next week. Hurlingham, resembling the Serengeti more by the week, welcomed a Maidenhead team, high off the previous weeks victory over Camberley. Opposite fortunes in week 2 but nothing is given in this topsy turvy competition.
New week. New shirts. New Hammers.
Hammersmith and Fulham received the ball to start the game. Immediately deciding to secure ball and exit, moving the play into Maidenhead’s half. Rugby, especially in 26-degree heat, is much easier when you play in the oppositions half. This is where the first 20 minutes were played. Ball possession was retained and pressure applied. Hard lines and big hits ensued as the arm wrestle began.
Hammersmith was first to break the deadlock. Maidenhead this week were tasked with the difficult job of defending a centre channel from Carolan and Jack, both hard and surprisingly fast ball carriers. Off the back of a stable Hammers scrum Dugdale passed the ball to Tim; off his wing running at 10. With the defense’s eyes fixed on the centre channel Tim spotted a hole and turned on the afterburners. With Joe adding the extra 2 points Hammers were up 7-0.
Not content with the one try Hammers, more specifically Tim, had to have a second. The crowd had a front row seat as Tom Proctor rose like a salmon, stealing the opposition’s line out. Ball was distributed out to the wing where the defending winger offered Tim the outside. Worth mentioning at this point Tim’s new addition of felt boots give him an additional 5 points of speed, making him easily the second fastest winger in the club. Anyway, round the outside Tim went and touched the ball down just far enough out to give Carolan a tricky kick which he slotted.
There were points in this half where Hammers were idle in defense the wagon occasionally slipping into neutral; plenty of room for improvement. No doubt Mark Jackson and his coaching team will pull some more drills out of the catalogue to sharpen breakdown, tackling or defensive skills in the following week.
While I could recount the following 3 tries for hammers, it could be a bit repetitive, and the backs heads would be at risk of over-inflating. A special mention however should go to the Nugget, who dusted off the boots and earned himself another first team cap. What Nugget lacks in mobility and neck he makes up for with scrum height, providing a strong scrum platform for the time he was on the pitch. Before the match he was quoted saying “Rogan will have to play 3 more years to be the oldest cap for the club”. After the match he was lost for words… and breath… or both.
Man of the match goes to one of our new Aussie imports Ryan. While we don’t actively recruit to the extent other teams in Level 5 do, we never struggle to attract quality talent from Australia. Some we can’t seem to get rid of… Ryan led the charge in defense tackling just about anything that moved, a quality performance to defend fortress Hurlingham. Next stop for the Hammers wagon: Bracknell.