Accompanied by Mark ‘Lead sideline Baritone’ Jackson the Hammers 1st XV knew that the coach journey north would be one that both tested their mental fortitude as a team but also their resilience to ignore the palpable family tension between an alleged father and a certain recently single bench warming son.
After some playful and sometimes cutting verbal jousting, the Hammer’s indulged in an annual tradition with a spot of Trivia. Enter stage right, James ‘Megaboss’ Lo the seasoned host to guide the team of 2 through the 3rd annual ‘If you aren’t from the UK good luck’ Megaquiz (formally known as the Megaboss’ Megaquiz). The team stacked with copious antipodean talent received a swift education on a variety of UK centric trivia from ranging categories. Interesting and a little take home price for those playing at home ‘The Great Fire of London’ of 1666 emanated from Pudding Lane and it is believed to have been started by a full time Baker with a commendable small time hobby.
Arriving on ground, the matchday conditions presented complications for all of those who dealt with the ball higher than their chest, a strong westerly gale sweeping across the ground. Accompanying this the gradient of the pitch was in short…noticeable. Nevertheless following a delayed commencement to warm up, the Hammer’s were ready to receive the kick off.
The first 10 minutes saw a somewhat see sawing engagement with the prevailing headwind and dogged Letchworth defense making progress slow going. After toiling away for a number of phases Hammersmith earned a penalty and with the knowledge the safety of his precious mobile home was only a short distance away Joel Caravan punched an into the corner. A precise rolling maul ensued and after much jubilation it was concluded a shared forward’s try would be accepted. The only known was it was certainly not scored by Jacob ‘Secret Son in Cardiff’ Poulton. The prop who has been seen frequenting the 5m channel, reliving a previous success that is by all accounts unfathomable by any human brain.
The Hammer’s left the Letchworth half claiming the 5 points on offer, a result ensured by the trusted inaccuracy of Mr. Caravans boot.
Off the following kick off Letchworth wasted no time returning fire and with some heavy forward running found themselves with a scrum positioned inside the Hammer’s 22. It was from this scrum that it was confirmed the Hammer’s had contracted Turnstyledefensitis (patent pending). A condition which manifests itself through extreme softness of the scapula, clavicle and humorous (refer Steve ‘Do you know I am a Doctor’ John if symptoms persist). Letchworth were in next to the sticks and added the extras, 7-5 Letchworth. Upon return of the kick off solid gameplay and grinding forward carries lead Letchworth to field position within the Hammer’s half and as a result knocked over a penalty, extending their lead 10-5.
In an instance of Déjà vu, through structure and gameplay which could be best described as untrained Hammersmith found themselves on the Letchworth 22 with an attacking lineout. Step 1 Setup rolling maul. Step 2 Rumble over. Step 3 Collect Jacob Poulten from swanning position and return to halfway. The score 10-10.
Turnstyledefensitis (patent still pending) has been confirmed as extremely contagious and was spreading like an uncontrollable global pandemic, infecting all Hammer’s present on the day. The following 10 minutes of defensive efforts were likened to that of a shared toilet after a teamwide bout of gastro. Letchworth captialised and bullied their way across the line, adding the extra’s with 10 minutes to go in the first half. Letchworth 17-10
It was at this stage that aspiring Irish Opera singer and Head Coach, Mark Jackson released a ballard that registered seismic activity across the greater Garden City area. Eyewitnesses claim that his booming voice was akin to that of the great Pavarotti. This impromptu recital was no louder than in the listening gear of Samuel James Purvis stunning him like some form of improvised flash bang explosive. When approached on Monday morning for comment Sam confessed ‘my sight has only just returned and my ears are still ringing with Jackson’s diverse vocal range’.
The Hammer’s keen to enter the half time break in touching distance of Letchworth and spurred on by Mark’s dulcet tones, worked a blindside play off the back of a scrum. Up stepped blue boots salemans Taylor Williams (link in his bio). A slick outside line, fend and dummy to the still disoriented Samuel James Purvis and he coasted to the line untouched. 17-15 to Letchworth.
Adjourning for halftime the Hammer’s appreciated that although the scoreline was not in their favour they remained well and truly in the game. Mark, exasperated from his 20minute serenade of his team and the crowd, advised he had once cured a severe case of Armtacklesious by requesting the players administer a mental cup of concrete. He firmly encouraged the team to give it a go. Steve ‘could study through a cyclone’ John later confirmed that this was in fact the only known cure for Turnstyledefensitis according to the leading Medical Rugby research body the Health Agency for Rugby Devotees Enforcing the Nobility of Union Players (HARDENUP).
With the wind and prevailing slope at their back the Hammer’s kicked off the second half and through what can only be described as pure class were in again via an intercept for debutant and slowest man on earth Tyler ‘Broken Seal’ Stacey. In a sudden plot twist shocking players and spectators alike the conversion was successful and the Hammer’s were up 22-17.
Following this gift, the Hammer’s forwards began to graft some inroads in the Letchworth defense. Zac ‘Straya’ Halliday through obvious deformity to his face however schemed against success and forgot the team mantra ‘Do your Job’. He employed his best efforts to lose the hard fought field position by losing 2 scrum feeds against the head. Despite pursuing all opportunities to avoid the outcome over the next 5 minutes Hammersmith eventually settled inside the Letchworth half.
Mark who had had a skinful by this point cleared the benches. Phil ‘John Deer’ Lord, Ash ‘He’s me dad and he’s me best mate’ Mitchell and Ben ‘Eternally Single’ Hatton stormed the field in an effort to bring the Hammers home strong. After playing their structure for what seemed like the first time in the game, Steve ‘See nicknames above’ John collected a saucy inside ball from the back window of Joel’s caravan and with some sparkly footwork and dominant leg drive was able to power over the line. To further complicate the Hammer’s ability to count in multiples of 5, Joe/l slotted the conversion and Hammersmith was up 29-17.
A struggle ensued through the midfield as Hammersmith displayed improved structural integrity of their shoulders, Zander Stephen the promising specimen, showing glimpses of making a full recovery. A bruising 10 minutes followed where Letchworth threw the kitchen sink at the Hammers defensive line, which bent into some compromising positions but ultimately did not break. Letchworth chasing alternative means of breaking the line swung the ball wide. The ball squirted out the side of the breakdown and onto the blue boot of none other than Taylor Williams. With blistering pace which can only be explained by the energetically coloured footwear, he soccered (Australian for football) it and with the gradient of the slope in his favour collected the ball to score.
With feedback amongst the group being that maximum points made the game to easy, the boys enjoyed a return to regular programming and the conversion was missed. Score 34-17 to Hammersmith.
As clock would down and regular time ceased to exist, Ross ‘Finn Russell’s mate’ Anderson knocked the ball into touch and the game drew to a close. FT score 34-17.
Many thanks to Letchworth for their hospitality and post match entertainment which included a jovial recital of some rugby classics and a spontaneous ‘Rumble in The Garden City’ main event with honorary referee Ash ‘The Letchworth Local’ Mitchell adjudicating a fight between his best mate and his date.
In summary ‘It means nothing we go again Tuesday with Ian’. The profound words of chipper Scotsman a week before Hogg dropped not only the ball but also the dreams of a nation over the line.
Man of the Match : James ‘Megaboss’ Lo
Tin Man: Samuel ‘Banjo’ James Purvis