On a wet gloomy Saturday, the Hammers 1st XV were on call to defend Hurlingham fortress against a Welwyn team sitting bottom of the league with something to prove. Few of the present boys were part of the squad that lost to them both times last season, and were as eager, as Mitch on a night out, to make amends.
With the rain spitting down, it was up to Ben Hatton’s little quads to get the game under way. With his first game back from injury, nerves must have been a plenty as the kick-off was fluffed. Scrum to Welwyn, middle of the pitch. Time for the boys to square off. The scrum held its own, which for some reason was a surprise to the Hammers backs, as they were split across the pitch. Welwyn ran a set piece, going straight through the formidable centre Hammer pairing of Waldron and Hooper, which led to a try under the sticks. Some say missed tackle – ‘Tomatoe/Tomato’.
Not the ideal start Hammers were looking for.
With a better restart, Hammers started to get into the game, and putting on the pressure. Welwyns game plan was evident, keep the ball down in the Hammers half. Little did they realise, Zac was throwing darts that the Ally Pally crowd would have been screaming “One Hundred and Eighty” for. The ferocious Hammers pack assembled into their trademark maul, which the opposition couldn’t handle. Penalties gave way which the Hammers did not capitalise on until, Joe was given a crack at goal, which he slotted between the posts. 3 points. Hammers were in the game.
More pressure followed and the trusted boot of Joe put Hammers in the corner. Hammer forwards assembled, and were going over the line but impeded by a side entry. Penalty try. Hammers take the lead, and there they would stay.
Some loose kicking into the hands of our Asian-Persuasion winger JLO who was allowed counter, hand-off and make yards got Hammers good fielding position. Taylor ran some good lines, not in the direction his nose was pointing but actually in fact straight. As he made another break, with plenty of support players around him to make the easy pass, he decided to choose the harder option and grubbers one in behind, only for the young Benson to pounce on it over the line. Another try, and Hammers started to take control.
Kick off came deep and caught by the try-scorer Benson, who ran straight back at them, making good yards until he offloaded to Captain fantastic who benefited from running a superb support line. Like a scene from a safari, Josh gallivanting as graceful as a giraffe being chased down by a pack of wolves. The giraffe prevailed. Another try. Only one more try needed for the bonus.
With momentum fully on the side of Hammers, more breaks ensued, and strong carries from the likes of Steve, and Zander. Another dazzling break from Jlo creating a two on one opportunity. Man drawn, and pass given, only the try line beckoned, but ball dropped. Surely, classic Jordan was on the pitch, but it was in fact Joe the butcher.
Half time 22-7
With all the pressure mounting on the Welwyn side, they didn’t help themselves when referee had to issue Taylor’s favourite card to one of their players for a swinging arm. Hammers did not relent. Joes ‘out-of-hand’ kicking technique named the helicopter, kept the pressure on, and kept the travelling side deep down in their own half.
Hammers then forced their way into the Welwyn 22 looking for that bonus point. Whilst the backs stood there pretty as can be, screaming for the ball to come out to them, the mouldy forwards were having none of it. All their hard work, they wanted the bragging points for themselves and kept picking and going. With one final push, they managed to get over the line. Another try. Bonus point secured, and surely the total five pointer.
Hammers stamped down their authority on the game, with the human hinge, and club captain himself Rogan making carries (not yards), and being a nuisance at the breakdown. This lead to another break into Welwyn twenty-two, and another assist, in as many games, from the lion heart, Alex, as he passed out of the tackle following a quick pick and go to Ben. Five points guaranteed for Hammers but they weren’t finished just yet.
Whilst the LA Rams were in London for the weekend, Ben decided to show off his own NFL skills with a pass straight from the scrum to Jlo on the blind side, who ran, and danced his way over the line. Touchdown! Half the boys back where the scrum occurred, it was a bit of disbelief what had happened. Referee looked over at the touch-judge, but no complaints there. Brady would have been proud of that one.
Full time 44-7