Hammers fall short against Medway

 The Hammers approached their game of 2022 with a spring in their step. With our resident Doctor officially describing Omicron as “finished”, it was to be our first game in a month. And what a game to head straight into. 3rd Vs 4th. Win and the Hammers would take 3rd and be looking at chasing the top two of Camberley and London Welsh. Lose and Medway would open up a decent gap, leaving the Hammers marooned on the desert island of 4th. Five new year training sessions under the belt, coach Jacko having detailed at length what was at stake, and a new fines system being enforced, the boys were feeling confident and ready to attack our visitors from Kent.

The first few minutes were played at quite the pace. The Hammers launched an attack from deep and got on the outside of the Medway defence, making yards but our experienced winger JLo (no one really knows exactly how old he is) was guilty of coughing up the ball. The Hammers’ right-wing played witness to the battle of the honey badgers. Timmy ‘Le Snack’ Russell, so impressive all season long, came up against his doppelganger. On this occasion, the Kentish imitator got the upper-hand (-off) in, making a break before smartly recycling possession on the Hammers’ 5-yard line. 2 phases later and some good handling had Medway over in the corner.

Rapidly, a Caravan special kick-off, followed by some ill-discipline on their own 10m line meant that the boys in Red & White were 8-0 down. The Hammers needed a response and got one via a rare line-out maul try. A good dart by Gus to the back and a well-constructed maul saw big Ed cross the whitewash. 8-7 and the Hammers were in the game.

This was to prove a false dawn. Medway kicked well, which can’t be said of the Hammers’ backline, regularly turning a reformed back-three after Lav went off early with a nasty rib injury. With a solid platform at set-piece, they attacked with structure to score once more, going in 15-7 at the break.

Early in the second-half, the Hammers suffered a major blow, with Gus Brown suffering a head knock and taking a pew on the bench. With no specialist hooker on the bench, Andrew ‘The Hinge’ Rogan plonked himself into the middle of the scrum, with Poulton assuming line-out throwing duties for the first time in his long and storied playing career. Whilst the line-out held out OK, Medway turned the screw at scrumtime, earning themselves two further tries, with the Hammers securing only another lineout maul in return.

The game ended in further ignominy, with star winger JLo suffering a hamstring tear which we hope heals quickly.

Final Score: Hammers 12 – 29 Medway