Hammers emerge victorious in local derby!

Saturday afternoon was off to a confusing start in Hammersmith. Cries of “outrageous” were heard as Ian came to terms with warming up on a cone-less pitch; and rumor has it Alex Hart even turned up on time. Sadly, the VEO didn’t capture Ian’s warm-up withdrawal symptoms, but it did capture a beautiful kick for territory from Joe Carolan to start the game and set us up strongly in the opposition half.

Life is usually easier when you are playing in the opposition’s half of the pitch… but here at Hurlingham we don’t like an easy life. Hammers were doing their best to make life difficult. Quick successions of penalties and a lack of discipline had allowed Cornish to proceed down the field one chunk at a time.

It was back and forwards in the first half. Cornish were first to put points on the board, after an attritional period of mauling and forward carries eventually breaking the line. Hammersmith then swiftly answered back with the first of Joe Carolan’s tries, never underestimate the man who J Lo called “sneakily fast”. Hammersmith’s defense was once again tested with some strong direct carriers for Cornish’s second try. There was a suggestion that one of the Cornish players was blocking the tackler and accidentally offside. Having reviewed the VEO footage this was inconclusive…

Ross, who can usually be relied on for a kick up the metaphorical backside, was a little more subdued and quieter than usual. The colour had been drained from his, already Scottish, face by a terrible case of man-flu. Clearly the Haribo and Lucozade pre-match cocktail needed topping up. Some further pressure from the Hammers and some quick thinking and even quicker offloads put Joe back under the sticks for his second try.

At the risk of sounding too much like a football pundit, it was evidently a game of two halves. The passes that didn’t go to hand in the first half now did in the second. Those of you who have been subjected to a holiday in the sunny south-west probably know that Cornish pasties come out of the oven hot; but when they start cooling down they go cold quickly. The defensive line that faltered in the first half did not break in the second and Hammersmith showed the persistence that has earned them a top of the table spot.

Much was made of how Cornish had scrummed strongly against Old Priorian’s the prior week. The mid-week session studying the dark arts, taught by Professor Swainston, had clearly paid off. Iron sharpens iron and the Hammers pack were strong at set piece. The jury is still out on whether Pete Clarke’s new studs were the independent variable but at least we don’t have to set up a crowd-funding page for new boots anymore. The line out worked similarly efficiently; forcing a defensive turnover which Hammersmith converted into 7 points. Matt Killeen would not be denied, dragging three defenders with him, placing the ball down over the line with authority.

The gaps that had disappeared in the first half were now starting to open. Prime hunting ground for ‘snakehips’ Pete Morris waltzing through the Cornish defence for an 80m gallop. Ross, then capitalizing on this opportunity swapped his current flu for a case of white line fever, sneaking down a completely abandoned blindside secured another Hammers try.

Joe Carolan, who has now slipped to the country’s joint 5th top try scorer, is clearly on a mission to catch ‘Name Withheld’ from Valkryies ladies. He was not satisfied with only two tries for the day. Successive late strikes into the opposition half proved fruitful with a final trio of tries coming for Byrce, Ollie and eventually Carolan again. Three tries in one game is borderline excessive, but over the head offloads to Ollie Weaver are encouraged.