Victory for the Hammers 3s

Match Report – Fulham 3s v Ealing Trailfinders 2s –

It was a grim old day in Fulham with trees on the tracks and rain lashing the brunching crowd down the Munster road as the ongoing wave of storms and wind continued to harry the flanks of the fair British Isles. The Hammers though are not to be put off by a small thing like a once in a 100 year storm and wind speeds above the hundred miles an hour. As the female contingent of the club battled their way to the Ralston to steady there nerves and spirits, prior to a mammoth pitch side attendance in the pissing rain to cheer the lads on, at Hurlingham the third fifteen got off to a shaky start. In the warm up we they suffered their first of 3 hospital level injuries of the day occurring before we had even began (Adam Standard coming down unluckily off the top of a lineout breaking an ankle and starting the newly formed Chelsey and Westminster hospital Saturday night club). After some rapid phone calls, Milo Story answered and braved the weather to bolster the hammers bench back to full strength. In contrast Ealing where down in full force with coaches on the side-line and all.

Prior to the game a minutes silence took place in memory of, Evesham RFC’s, Jack Jeffery and the Hammers retired the 11-shirt form the field for the game as a mark of respect. Ealing had won the toss but chose to play with the wind meaning hammers took the kick off which was given fully welly to account for the wind that at that moment chose a prime opportunity to drop off seeing the ball soar straight into touch. Starting the first of what was a long and heavy scrummaging game and a tough day in the office for the Hammersmith front row. The challenge was compounded at the ten minuet mark when Nick Turner joined the Chelsey and Westminster hospital Saturday night club with what was believed to be a torn calf and ended up being both that and the second broken ankle of the day. The loss off the only front row replacement left Hammersmith’s pack digging deep whilst Ealing capitalized by using the 4 front row on their bench to create a revolving door of changes every 20 min.

With the challenging gale-forces, disrupting the aerial game and lineout alike, what was set to be a very tough game of attrition was on the thrust and drive of rucking play was in full swing. The momentum being shifted when in a hit worthy of a place in the story of David and Goliath Tom Greenwood floored Ealing’s 8 and began a hammers attack that saw him dually rewarded with a try and hammers only trip over the hallowed white line of the day.  The conversion was deftly slotted despite the conditions by Nick Emmet who’s boot carried the hammers through the day when it also slotted a penalty in the closing minutes. A concern was had that this may go to Nicks head and was whole heartedly confirmed when he was heard to report “did I get both the kicks in that weather? Course I did, I am basically a better looking Jonny Wilkinson”.

Ealing came back well from the first try pressuring hammers poor kick receipt and using the wind direction advantage well. A massive defensive effort from across the hammers held the line well, with special mention to some massive hits from Harry Bower that along with his carrying and shoring up of the scrum from the second row earned him Man of the match. Eventually though the pressure reached a boing point for both teams resulting in Simon Irwin demonstrating his boxing training on the field a week earlier than his big fight though luckily outside of the eye line of the referee, an easier DoD was never to be seen. Ealing continued to press the packet and after a further 10 min of pressure, where rewarded in the corner though the maelstrom of weather denied them the conversion.

Half time 7-5 to hammers.

The second half continued in the theme of the first with relentless scrummaging and tight play from both sides moving up and down within the centre field and not really breaching either teams 22. Around ten minutes into the half the Chelsey and Westminster hospital Saturday night club gained its final 3s member for the day with Daniel Gispert fracturing a shoulder. The Hammers started to flag with the breakdown turning scrappy and our own ruck not being cleared, the team rallied through a the cheers from the hammers ladies charged with post lunch spirit, and the lads drove forwards breaking into Ealing’s 22 five minuets prior to the final whistle. Rewarded with the previously noted penalty the hammers went into the dying minuets of the game 10-5.

Ealing where not to be cowered though, they pressured their own kick off well with a catch challenge that if not for an unfortunate nock on would have had their flanker levelling the score. The referee called last play as the scrum set to rumble for the millionth time, to hammers dismay the most critical scrummage of the day was the only one lost against the head. Ealing could sense hammers fatigue and where poised to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat. They were 20 meters out and retaining there ball well on pick and goes. On the fourth attempt, the two players rucking over only played lip service to their task and skipper Matthew Jones managed to clear them through the middle recovering the ball to Hammers. This caught his own team of guard in the panicked few seconds that followed the ball was eventually knocked forwards unceremoniously ending the game and giving the Hammers a truly hard fort win.

Final Score 10-5

Tries – Tom Greenwood

Conversion – Nick Emment

Penalty- Nick Emment

Man of the Match – Harry Bower

DoD – Simon Irwin for taking his boxing training to the field