Hammers cop a hiding at the hands of Farnham

Hammersmith and Fulham’s 15th league game of the season came after a turbulent time for the Hammers, a frustrating loss to Medway and a triumphant win at London Irish. A sinusoidal start to say the least. In the return fixture at Hurlingham Park, Farnham put in a dominant performance, only to be undone by an efficient and ruthless Hammers back line on the day. Their powerful but lacklustre performance in October would prove to be motive for revenge.

The visitors started strong with an excellent carry by the Benjamin Button of SW6, Peter Bicknell. A talismanic line break pushed the Hammers into Farnham’s own 22 and with a penalty advantage, the audacious Joe Caravan attempted a cross field to winger Tim Russell. The wind gusted at the wrong moment, and he ended up with his face in the dirt and the ball floating out into touch, an ominous foreshadowing of things to come. The ensuing lineout showed great promise and a magnificent maul was stopped just short of the try-line. Scrappy and unstructured play allowed Farnham to clear their lines and thus ended the only promising Hammers attack for the day.

What transpired was an abysmal performance that even the new Veo technology couldn’t bear to watch, preferring instead to admire the Farnham 2’s.Farnham played smartly, carried strongly and kicked effectively. The fateful moment came from an kick from the Farnham 12, 5 metres outside his own 22. A disastrous attempt from Tim Russell to keep the ball in play gifted the Black and Whites a lineout well in the Hammers own 22. Two scrums later and Farnham scored down the blindside. 7 – 0.

The conditions restricted the Hammers from their usually free-flowing style of play to one up carries and dropped balls. More aggressive scrummaging and some handy kicking from Farnham, another try soon fell. 14 – 0 and this is where the day really started to slip away from the Hammers. Debutante Matt Newman received some cheese for an inconvenient (and almost surely accidental) hand in the tackle. Several minutes later Andrew Rogan was given his marching orders also, clearly feeling Matt was lonely on the side-lines. Blighted by injuries already, Hammersmith and Fulham had no replacement front row, uncontested scrums were called, and the Hammers lost another due to Law 3.15 (Scenario 2) in code. Therefore, Rich Vaughan kindly stepped off the pitch to join the growing ranks and more importantly leaving only a dozen Hammers to play. Another try out wide for Farnham left it 21 – 0 at half-time.

The only credit to a poor first half display was a 10-minute period at the start of the second half when the Hammers were down to twelve. Somehow, they kept the Black and White’s at an arm’s length and prevented them from scoring, despite the three-man deficit. Joe Caravan put in a notable try saving tackle on the left wing. After a gritty display and back up to full numbers, surely it would be the beginning of a comeback? The Hammers notoriously put a few late surges in to win before Christmas. Alas! The boys from Fulham conceded immediately on returning to a full outfit. 28 – 0.

Captain Fantastic, Mr Caravan, proved why he is the top scorer this season and reduced the embarrassment for a split second. He showed that the Hammers can score tries, and even convert them, when he picked off an intercepted Farnham pass and ran in from the halfway line. 28 – 7. This was to be the last ‘hurrah’. Three more converted tries later and the Hammers were extremely relieved to hear the final whistle go. The final score 49 – 7, a real hiding for the Hammers.

Credit is due to the Farnham side for excelling in every aspect of the game over the Hammers, and their tough season has paid dividends. Placed 11th now, this was not a display for a team nearer the bottom of the table. The Hammers must now regroup and prepare for a tough game against KCS Old Boys next weekend, the aim is vengeance from their loss in September. The Hammers are still in 4th spot in London 1 South, but the gaps are becoming negatively inclined. Notable performances amongst a dire squad were Huw Parks, Sean McMahon and MOTM Peter Bicknell.

Fulltime: Farnham RUFC 49 – 7 Hammersmith and Fulham RFC