Hammersmith soaked up the pressure to hang on for the win!

Game off was trending on X, formerly known as Twitter, but it was very much game on at Hurlingham Park as Hammersmith & Fulham welcomed Horsham. Both clubs in their first season in Regional 1 South Central, formerly known as National 3, and the Hammers were looking to avenge the result from the last time the two sides met in the league.You’d be excused for thinking that the home side had stayed in the warmth of the changing rooms as they failed to turn up at kick off, with Horsham scoring an early try from a driving maul.Hammers metaphorically warmed up and challenged the resulting kick off well with the two ‘arry’s, Barry Scarr and Garry Boyd, making life difficult for Horsham and winning the ball back. With momentum building, Hammersmith began building phases with the ball eventually going wide to Tim Russell. Russell smoothly got the offload away to Zander Stephen who was back in the team following a duo of self inflicted concussions to the duo of Josh’s in the last fixture against Camberley – Josh Smith on the receiving end of a people’s elbow from Scarr and Josh A-A being kneed in the head by Alex Spicer, an easy thing to do to such a small man. Anyway, you’re here to read about the Horsham game. Stephen smoothly gathered the ball from Russell, romping in from just outside the 22, evading multiple tackles and successfully holding off 3 defenders as he powered over. Others who saw this try say he was a matter of centimetres out, juggled the ball before eventually gathering and just got it down but there’s no Veo to prove the first wrong so we’ll go with that. Joe Caravan was on conversions for the day, securing 3 of the 5. This try was out-wide so every chance it was 1 of the 2 misses.Another reclaimed kick off from Hammersmith, attempting to rewrite the wrongs of Camberley, saw momentum build. A penalty win lead to a kick going deep in the Horsham 22 and Scott VBL getting the ball in his hands, a successful jumpy jumpy throw catch to Scarr produced a secure maul with VBL, man-of-the-match-to-be Toby Hiram and the skipper chunky Tom Proctor jostling for the ball at the back. Proctor pulled rank and got the meat pie.A 3rd secured kick off in a row, a new club record, saw another attack from SW6s finest. Play built down the left, down the right, back to the left before returning to the right. Russell, who had taken a week off from his velvet footwear, remembered he had pace and took off down the wing. This time he didn’t need an offload to Stephen and got a try of his own, number 50 in the red, white and blue of Hammersmith and Fulham RFC – a fine achievement from the former Havant youth.Another kick off to receive, this time Spicer took charge. The Gilbert of the day was in his hands but the end result wasn’t the same. Whilst ball had been won in the air, the backs messed up their kicky kicky catch catch, a surprise given the amount of time spent on such exercises in training. A charged down kick saw Horsham react first and narrow the scores.24-12 half-time.As expected, Horsham came out firing second half, determined to narrow the deficit.  Hammersmith soaked up the pressure with some staunch defending. Eventually they got their break with some Barbarians-esque passing, Caravan finding Scarr with a little out the back offload. Scarr scuttled down the field with a 3 on 1 with the fullback, an easy try I hear you say. No. In what can only be described as a moment of madness, the former Bucks u16 regional back row come Sid look alike thought he was South West Londons answer to Sonny Bill Williams – spoiler here sports fans, he isn’t. Ball was flicked out the back of his hands to Spicer’s feet. Knock-on. Idiot. Stephen substituted at the resulting scrum, his day was up and so is the rest of the detail.Horsham found their way back in to the Hammersmith 22 with Hammers eventually turning over the ball. What should have been an easy exit saw Dugdale pass to Ross Anderson, we hoped. Dugdale was looking to join in the fun of handing out friendly fire concussions with the ball rocketing off Ed Haynes head. Horsham continued to build pressure narrowing the gap with their 3rd try.A different side after half-time and Stephen’s substitution, Hammers couldn’t find the rhythm of the first half. The sidelines were calling for composure or something special to calm the boys, or both. A breakaway saw momentum build with Caravan dotting down. This conversion was from in front of the posts, 7 points.With the game nearing its conclusion Horsham pressed hard with a determination to get something from the game. Eventually finding themselves over the white line with 5 minutes to go. Conversion slotted, meaning they were taking 2 bonus points back down the M23.31-24 the final score. A hard fought victory in near freezing conditions. Another 5 points at home and Hammersmith and Fulham find themselves at 7th at the half way point of the season.MOTM – Toby HiramDOTD – Barry Scarr