Last 20 minutes sees 2nd XV secure strong win

On Saturday, Hammersmith and Fulham 2nd XV hosted Chiswick 2nd XV in the final league game of the year. With the competition standings still undecided, there was everything to play for.

Due to the number of changes to the 2s squad, since the London Welsh game, the conventional warm up was forgone and replaced with a classic “state your name” introductory school circle. Following the exchange of pleasantries, the standard preparation resumed, but it was clear that the team was struggling to find that final spark that would bring their game to life.

Nevertheless, the game kicked off, with Hammersmith playing into the blinding sun as well as against the tempestuous wind. It was clear that the boys were facing an uphill struggle as no more than five minutes into the game, Chiswick broke the white line following an interception from just within the Hammer’s half. The attrition of the game began to take its toll on the Hammersmith forwards as both Milo Storey and Oliver Whitnell were forced to leave the field early to enjoy the ambience of A&E. We are wishing them both a speedy recovery.

The difficulties to connect that the 2s felt pre-game, clearly had carried over into the game. Despite lots of possession within the Chiswick 22, Hammersmith and Fulham squandered numerous opportunities due to poor handling, silly penalties and an errant lineout throw from Hugh Symons that landed at the feet of Max Dugdale, our fly half, securing Hugh his award of DoTD. These struggles weighed heavy on the team entering half time, however, the spirited, positive interpersonal skills of Nugget and Cookie brought some wind back to the sails of the 2nd XV.

Those sails were immediately torn as Chiswick capitalised on a Hammersmith yellow card, scoring under the posts and turning the screws on the 2nd XV. The game remained physical and closely contested as the game ticked over to 60 minutes with the scoreboard showing 12-12 and as the season hung in the balance both teams fought hard to break the deadlock.

It is difficult to pinpoint the factor that turned the game in the Hammer’s favour. Some would suggest it was a lightning-fast hat-trick from MoM player Ed Hayes or well worked tries for Sam Nursery and Luke Kavanaugh. Most rugby critics would agree that it was the ability of impact substitute Dougie Maxwell to stand at the back of a maul and fall over the line to score the penultimate try. Who can say? In the final quarter of the game, the stars aligned and the team found its chemistry to pull five late tries out.

The score does not represent the game and credit must be given to Chiswick for a hard-fought game to the very end. As the final whistle heralded the end of the game, the Hammersmith crowd let out a sigh of relief as the 2nd XV managed to secure the winning bonus point. The 2nd XV now look forward to their cup and playoff campaigns.

MoM: Ed Hayes

DOTD: Hugh Symons