Fulham and Hammersmith Rugby: Match report: 2017-03-19 (Ladies XV vs. Romford & Gidea Park)
We were all looking forward to playing old rivals Romford again after a very successful game away at the start of the season. A few tough losses got us fired up and we were in definite need of redemption. A sizable crowd of supporters gathered before kick off and the Hammers ladies were ready to go.
It quickly became obvious that when we all worked together we could put enormous pressure on the opposition and make a lot of ground. After some initial difficulties at the scrum we managed to sort it out and made it extremely difficult for them, even winning some of their scrums. This lasted until they brought on some new players in the pack in the second half who put some weight behind their scrum.
Our first try came after some lovely interplay near the try line and some beautiful offloads that allowed Ayala to score near the posts. Another try followed in the first half. We stayed organised and played through the phases. The work by the forwards gave us plenty of space out wide and great hands down the back line allowed Helen ‘John’ Egan to score in the corner, making her the most successful forward turned winger in Hammers history.
Half time gave us a much needed breather but we knew what we had to do to keep scoring. Our strong runners had been breaking through their line all game and especially Leah, Annabel and Helene often made it past many defenders who would just hang on to them for dear life or alternatively bounce off. As a result Leah managed to burst over the line to give us try number 3. Despite a try saving tackle in the corner where we managed to divert the path of a Romford prop into touch (believe me, it was impressive) Romford nonetheless manged to score a try. We came back strong however, and Annabel scored 2 more tries for us towards the end of the game, giving the Hammers Ladies a well deserved bonus point victory. 5 tries and 2 conversions by Sophie left us with a 29-5 final score which was celebrated adequately at the Fest after.
Back of the match went to Becki for her great direction and control during the game, as well as some cracking runs. Joint forward of the match went to Helene who had an outstanding game once again, showing us what aggression and desire really means, and to Annabel whose unstoppable force made us many meters and brought us two beautiful tries.
Fulham and Hammersmith Rugby: Match report: 2017-03-05 (u12s vs. Kilburn Cosmos)
Yesterday a squad of 26 Hammers U12s braved the lovely British weather and travelled North to Kilburn Cosmos to play the hosts and Finchley.
The objective was to extend our run of successive victories (11) for the White Middlesex squad and confirm the improvement of the Blue squad ahead of Middlesex finals on 19th March.
As we arrived at Gladstone Park, we were welcomed by a strong gale, constant rain and a low, grey, heavy sky. A green but swampy pitch awaited and Finchley were already warming up,covered in mud.
With a bit of help by our Royal Engineer squad (i.e Gavin and Knut) we erected our gazebo while a sleepy, sluggish , incomplete Hammers squad was warming up in their anoraks. The night had taken its toll with several u12s missing in action . Attention and momentum was hard to get.
As our red gazebo stood proudly by the pitch, our host Coach finally arrived, only to mention they had been waiting for us on the other side of the Park for last 15 minutes…So we collected our water bottles, bags and mouth guards and had to leave our tent behind!
After a quick Forward and backs warm up session we split the squad in 2. We had to adapt as we missed 12 players and wanted to integrate our recent joiners , always a tricky balance. It was impossible to re-create White and Blue squads so we went for 2 balanced teams to face our first games vs Finchley and Kilburn.
Team 1 faced a very solid and big (what do they eat in North London that we don’t?) Finchley team. First half was a very evenly contested affair where our usual rucking superiority was challenged. Clearly we would not dominate in the power contest. The first half ended without any scores and Hammers were frustrated and nervous at the break. Some coaching was well needed and having identified Finchley were a bit slow we decided to open the game and go for more flowing, attacking rugby. We quickly scored at the opening of the second half by a great move on the left side with ball changing hands quickly between Abel, Constantin and James.
Finchley then managed to score on an intercepted pass to even the score.
We then had numerous opportunities to throw the ball around and came close to score a few times but our lack of discipline in the timing of passes meant we had to wait until Julian picked up the ball from a fantastic ruck to go and score our second try of the day.
We quickly added another try through Abel after a massive move involving everyone from the half way line. This freed the boys and they quickly took the upper hand on the game to add 2 more tries against 1 from Finchley to win the game 5-2.
Team 2 was taking on Kilburn, a team we know can be ferocious at the breakdown with a few very competitive players. As often the case, our Hammers started the game a bit slow on intentions and spirit. We were quickly overpowered by the hosts who had been very well drilled by their coaches, who clearly had no intention in playing some champagne running rugby. Some old school forwards tactics were deployed such as the turtle ( throw the ball to a big guy who links with 2 other big guys and hit the defence) which flattened a few of our players : well done Patrick in stopping one of those by yourself!
Score at half time was 3-nil to the hosts and our coaches were looking into the usual dispirited faces. A quick “encouraging” words were given during the break and the second half was a very different affair with some proper rucking and tackling. We did see the host team struggling for solutions and there was a bit of “unconventional” tackling on both sides, with some cheers from a very “fair” Kilburn public…
Ultimately, penalties were accumulating against the Kilburn and Hammers scored 4 tries in the half to 3 from Kilburn making the final score 6-4.
We reshuffled the teams slightly to play our next games to make it a bit more balanced after losing a few players to mild injuries.
Team 2 went on to play Finchley. Again they ended behind the score at half time (1-0 to Finchley) but found their second wind to score 2 tries from William to win 1-2. It was a much more even game but we came back and prevailed.
Team 1 faced Kilburn and had to find their true grit. As the game went on, frustration at the breakdown was obvious. A few lose hands were flying and “gentleman” rugby was somehow forgotten. They scored one, we scored one in response out of sheer rage. And then we went back to Verdun 1916…This was a decisive moment of the year in my view. Our players are abruptly leaving childhood for teenagehood. The game is getting tougher, kids are getting bigger and sometimes it’s not skill only that prevails. It took GRIT and abnegation and a cool head to survive this and win it. And we did. We scored, despite the tears, despite the knocks and despite the questionable tactics. Just like when we beat Twickenham a few weeks back in the dying minutes, we never gave up.
So did we achieve our objective of the week end?
Well, strictly speaking we did not have our usual White and Blue teams from Middlesex..
But we won 3 out of 4 games and we did much better than that.
We found our true Hammer fighting spirit across the whole squad. We have determination, we have this inner strength as a group. We have developed a strong competitive attitude especially when we are backed against it. True, part of the squad needs to wake up when we start (we would have won 4 out of 4 by playing from the whistle ).
We have also integrated new comers and they are already gelling very well: Pablo, Julian and Jamaal all played well.
Special mentions this week go to:
Matteo who has made amazing progress this year and was ferocious in Team 1
William K for scoring 2 tries after joining Team 2 against Finchley
Raphael M for tackling a few Kilburn “monsters” 3 times his size
Patrick for stopping a Kilburn ” turtle” on his own
Julian for a try saving tackle on a Finchley player
Olie for playing 9 so well in the Kilburn storm.
Pablo for rucking like a Tasmanian devil in his second only Hammers session. Enhorabuena!
Fulham and Hammersmith Rugby: Match report: 2017-03-04 (1st XV vs. Enfield Ignatians)
Another away game on the opposite side of the capital meant another bus trip for the Hammers first XV. The game was posed as a ‘must-win’ fixture for the Hammers with a string of unfavourable results putting the pressure on the bottom half of the table.
A pitch that in previous years has only been brown, surprised the boys on arrival with fresh green grass, freshly painted lines and decent weather conditions – although Storm Doris appeared to be lingering in North West London, with a strong down-pitch wind playing into the Hammers favour for the first half.
Following a win in the home leg, the confidence could be felt in the warm up, and was carried to within the four walls of the dressing room, with the usual suspects of Smarty and Blyghts fuelling the fire.
Enfield came out blazing for the first 5, putting their strong runners to use and stuck the Hammers on the back foot around the 22 line. Pressure was soon relieved with some clean turnover ball and good first hit defence, followed by fantastic territorial kicking from half backs Jon Mac and Keith, using the wind to their advantage and putting the hammers into the strike zone.
Following a good string of phases, Hammers ran hard at Enfield and broke the gain line again and again. A quick delivery out to Keith at 10 gave a chance to show some beautiful footwork against a scrambling back foot defence. Beating at least 2 defenders in a small space, Keith’s arm was stretched out to ground the ball, followed by the whistle confirming the first 5 points of the game.
The half continued in this manner with the away team putting more and more phases together, and with a kick right into the corner, Hammers were given their first opportunity to dominate the line out. Collected beautifully and driven forward with Jon at 9 even getting his head stuck in, the maul collapsed over the white wash. With the referee’s arm in the air, a try for the ever-hungry hooker Horse was confirmed, putting the hammers 10 points ahead. In extremely challenging kicking conditions, Jon slotted the conversion with his eyes closed, straight through the middle of the posts. 0-12 Hammers.
A dominant scrum from the Hammers front 8 continued to put pressure on Enfield, providing clean ball for the backs to play their characteristic running rugby. Hard running lines from Tass and CCS left the Enfield back line depleted, giving Tony the space to cut open the midfield. Some great support lines from Cilian off the wing proved too much for the defence and put the Hammers over for their 3rd score of the half. Again, the conversion effortlessly put through the sticks.
The half-time huddle was confident and the Hammers were keen to prove that the cross-field gale was not just a ’15 point wind’. The Hammers were now playing against the conditions for the next 40.
The second half proved more difficult with some tough decisions at the break down, tied in with the ’15 point wind’, and Hammers soon conceded for the first time in the game. Defence was resilient, but Enfield began to find the gaps and bring themselves back into the game. 3 tries for the home team in addition to some kicked points for the Hammers, put Enfield within 6 points of the leaders who had to dig deep.
Some huge collisions from both sides kept Physio Tim busy, with Smarty, Horse, and Keith all putting their bodies on the line phase after phase. After a scuffle between both teams fuelled by foul play resulted in Enfield being reduced to 14-men, the Hammers took control of the ball and piled the pressure back into the Enfield half.
Excellent defensive organisation around the fringes of the ruck in the final 10 minutes, and with Tass calling the defensive press – Hammers continued to force errors from an Enfield team who were throwing the kitchen sink at the game.
Good ball retention at the line out from Josh and Roche ran down the clock, and the Hammers had sealed the victory – 19-25. A good day at the office, and a fairly dominant performance despite the close score line.
Some sore bodies at the end of the 80, soon to be forgotten about on the bus trip back to South West London. Next week we return to Hurlingham for a huge game against Old Habs, but a confident performance will no doubt bring some momentum into the fixture.
Fulham and Hammersmith Rugby: Match report: 2017-02-18 (2nd XV vs. Kew Occasionals)
Match Report – Hammers 2nd XV (away) VS Kew Occasionals – 18th February
It was an absolutely beautiful day for a game of rugby at the Richmond ground. Kew turned up last minute before kick-off and then we were underway…
Hammers to receive form the kick-off. Ball gets taken into contact and quickly cleared by scrum-half Gary Leith to give Hammers some breathing room and start the march up the pitch.
Kew’s line-out is on form and Hammers lose possession in midfield. Kew spread the ball wide and in what will become a familiar routine over the next 80 minutes, carve a hole in our defensive line to run in a 50 metre try under the posts. The kicker slots the kick with ease to put Kew up 7-0 after 2 minutes.
The Hammers don’t let the early score get to them and we rally and fight on for the ball in midfield. We start playing patterns but the comms just aren’t there and we quickly fall into a routine of one-out runners being isolated and a more-aggressive Kew side take advantage at the breakdown and disrupting our rucks.
First scrum to hammers after a Kew knock-on, Kew put on a savage burst and drive us off our own ball, the Kew 8 picks-and-gos. He’s taken down hard by flanker George Chapman and Hammers get a penalty when the 8 doesn’t release. Gee lines up the kick but just doesn’t find touch. Kew have an excellent runner on the wing who runs it 30 metres back to their 10-meter line having broken three tackles. Our lads aren’t going for the chop tackle and Kew are shoving past us, taking two or three blokes to get them to ground.
Hammers lose our first lineout, Kew are quick on the uptake and spread ball again to their strong running backs who swiftly capitalise against the disjointed Hammers defensive line to score again. By the time they reach the try-line they have a 3-man overlap. Hammers looking into the ruck, not up sat their men. The Kew kicker slots another easy ball. 14-0 Kew
Hammers keep their heads up and we start to keep the ball a bit more. Hammers awarded another penalty which gets us deep into their 22. We use the momentum and the backs pull off a great move that leaves the Kew backls reeling. Some excellent crisp passing leads to a Hammers score in the corner!
Score is now 14-5, Siu lines up a very hard kick right on the side-line…… just misses…. Still 14-5
The next 10 minutes sees a lot of the fight in our own 22. Defence remains strong but the strong Kew runners weather us down and they burst through to score again. The kicker lines up another slottable kick and increases the deficit to 21-5
Hammers kick-off, a Kew winger takes the ball from the kick and darts all the way back to the try line having broken through our entire team! He’s in the clear and just about to score when he suddenly drops the ball!!! In perhaps the luckiest knock-on in Hammers history, we get the 22 drop-out.
Kew’s two excellent runners continue to make mince-meat of our defence and it isn’t pretty. Comms aren’t there in defence or attack and we still don’t go in for the chop-tackles. In Hammers defence we were playing with a number of blokes new to the team but we needed to focus on staying in our pods and play Hammers patterns
Kew shred through again and score 5 more. Conversion missed but score has now increased to 26-5
Hammers kick-off but it looks like the will is broken. Kew score a try almost immediately after their last. The kick sails through the uprights to make it 33-5
Hammers kick-off again and try to put together patterns but Kew remain more aggressive at the rucks and take possession. The same story occurs, the ball gets spread to their strong runners in the back-line, they use the overlap and seize every chance they can get. Another try! Kew push ahead to 40-5
Lots of midfield play and Hammers start defending better. There are some crunching tackles from Si Doherty and Will North. Chris Ralph also showing some excellent lines when running moves. We then win one of their lineouts in their 22… we use the size of our pack to drive it 10 metres and we start looking far stronger. This could be the rallying effort that brings it all back from the brink
Hammers get all way to their 5 metre line and the effort is clearly showing…
Disaster strikes as Kew intercept a pass on their own 5 metre line to score a 95 metre try… Kew kicker now starts drop-kicking the conversions, misses wide right. 45-5
Hammers keeping calm heads moving into the second half. We know what we need to do and we start playing more as a unit. the stalwart Hammers defence re-appears and we start making life a bit more difficult for Kew.
Chris Ralph intercepts a Kew pass and we really start piling on the pressure. Ryan Thomson, Tim Williams and Tim Murray all put their hands up for some big runs and crash into the strong Kew defence. Hammers continue with some good running in the back line. Si Doherty continues to make some huge hits and is one of the few players chopping their runners down. Alex Gee helps with the effort and cuts down their bigger runners.
Hammers spending vast amounts of time in their 22 and their half but we just can’t capitalise and get to the line”
Hammers starting to play patterns and Si Doherty and Gary lead with assertion
A huge blow comes when Kew score again and build their lead. Drop-kick conversion is good. 47-5
The last try has left Hammers reeling and Kew pile on the pressure with another try almost immediately. 54-5
Heads are down and their runners are finding gaps in our defence everywhere. Again Hammers try to steel themselves and head back into the fray to fight back and play continues in their half more than ours but small mistakes and Kew’s ferocious rucking give possession to Kew.
The Kew full-back makes 80 yards but drops the ball at try line!!! Two try line drops!! He was all the way and not marked and he drops it!
Another converted try puts Kew to 61-5
Kew dominating the second half and run in a quick successor. Drop-goal hardly even attempted. 66-5
Hammers don’t give up! we drive forward and score a converted try with Gee cutting a smashing inside line TRY!! 61-12
Hammers come back but only a few minutes to go….. deficit just too large. It’s about pride now. only minutes to go…
All the blokes have been running for the full 80 with no subs. Everyone is running on empty but there’s still some fir left! North joins the back line to give a quick overlay, two offloads and a burst of speed sees Will North score under the posts! Conversion is good and the final whistle screeches the end of a very tough outing.
Final score 66-19
Fulham and Hammersmith Rugby: Match report: 2017-02-11 (1st XV vs. Tabard)
This past weekend saw a return to league rugby with the Hammers travelling up to face Tabard. Historically the opposition have been strong in the forwards and with the snow falling it certainly didn’t look like the conditions would suit the running rugby style familiar to the Hammers.
Despite the conditions the Hammers pack certainly showed their intentions early on, some strong carries by Smart, Murray, Josh “Cheese” McLean and Darrell meant Hammers manged to get good front foot ball. However it was Tabard who were first to strike with a penalty. 3-0 to the home side.
A battle for territory became the focus for a good portion of the half, the Tabard 10 using his boot to good affect to keep the Hammers pinned in their own half. Bryant and Bane had other ideas though and delivered some sublime counter attacks that put the pressure right back on Tabard. However the Hammers were often too guilty of forcing the last pass resulting in turnovers.
Hammers still continued to press and strong midfield running by the bash brothers ( CCS and Tass) and some half breaks by Doherty allowed the Hammers to camp themselves inside the Tabard half. A good passage of play eventually resulting in a penalty, however Gallo unable to convert the kick meant the Hammers came away with nothing.
The resulting 22 drop out saw the tables turned with Tabard using their big runners to put Hammers into defence mode. Hammers did their best to hold out an onslaught on their own line but after a strong stand off, Tabard managed to squeeze over and score. At the half the home side led 10-0.
Hammers looked to play more rugby in the 2nd period, the front row quartet of Jacob, Horse, Blyghts and the Nugget showing that technique beats size and managed to get the upper hand at scrum time. Great work by Lloyd at line out time resulted in some good steals and provided Hammers with more ball. It was the decision making and execution that was letting the opportunities slip and numerous trips to Tabard red zone resulted in no points.
The home side eventually doing enough defensively to get out of their half and turn the tables once again. A penalty and then a brilliantly executed cross kick led to a second Tabard try and a commanding 20-0 lead.
In the last 10 the game certainly opened with the Hammers needing to produce something special. Some great breaks by CCS, Oli Chambers and Chance resulting in a try scored by Lloyd after some neat interplay down the left hand touchline. Again the conversion missed by Gallo and time running out meant a comfortable 20-5 victory to the hosts.
A frustrating day for the Hammers, with uncharacteristic handling errors and poor decision making, who now have it all to play for in the coming weeks.The boys however are eager to get things back on track again this weekend at home.
Fulham and Hammersmith Rugby: Match report: 2017-02-11 (2nd XV vs. London Cornish II)
Hammersmith & Fulham FRC 2nd XV vs. London Cornish 2nd XV
A last minute change of venue saw the Hammers kicking off at Fortress Hurlingham. The Hammers came out ready for what we knew would be a physical 80 minutes against a team that we beat in back to back outings at the start of the season. As the starting whistle blared the Hammers gunned from the line and put together a strong first 5 minutes with aggressive running seeing us in their 22 quickly. A few changes in possession occur but we remain in their half. Magnus came out with an aggressive burst and neutralised the strong LC runners with some crunching chop tackles but unfortunately comes off with injury to the hand. The strong play continues in their 22 with good pressure building right up to their try line. Unfortunately poor discipline causes a penalty and results in turnover and long clearance kick by Cornish.
Long range kicking ensues on both sides but Hammers patterns put us back in 22. Sam Sheppard and John Mcmanus commanding the pack around and keeping comms up. Cornish quake under the pressure and give up a penalty right in front of the posts. Mcmanus lines up to kick….. and it’s good! Hammers seize the lead 3-0
Cornish rally and come straight back with a vengeance after a knock-on from the kick-off. Cornish spread the ball wide, found a hole in the Hammers defensive line and score in corner. The stark realisation that this will be a game of attrition sets in. Conversion good from a tough kick in the corner brings Cornish ahead 3-7
Cornish take us back into our own 22 with some rolling mauls and one-out running but a clearance from Goode gives Hammers some respite. The full-back catches the ball but slips and falls allowing Hammers to swarm in and force the turnover. Deep in enemy territory the Hammers push on and steal gain after gain. The backs start to shift the ball wide but the wet conditions undo us again and a pass just slips out of Hammers hands…. Quick thinking by O’Hara with a swift fly hack through sees a scramble for the ball….Ulton rips it from Cornish fingers and darts for the corner. try!!! Hammers steal the lead right back to make it 8-7. McManus lines up on the corner to take the conversion but it comes up just shy and left. Still 8-7
8-7 at the half.
Both teams come out gunning in the second half but lapses in discipline sees Cornish give up 4 penalties in quick succession giving Hammers strong field position. Kicking into touch and effective lineouts from Hammers give us possession in their half. Hammers can’t make use of the space and patterns become less frequent. Cornish come straight back and fight their way out of their half and some breakaway runners storm into Hammers territory.
Effective box kicking from Sheppard gets distance up the pitch. Taking back the ground takes its toll on Cornish resolve and they begin to falter at the breakdown. Even pack sizes makes scrumming a hard slog throughout with both teams seeming equal for most of the match. The fight is bought to the middle of the field with both teams fighting for possession. A huge effort from the whole pack with strong runs from both locks, Powell and Thomson
Hammers have wind at their backs for second-half and accurate kicking from Sheppard and McManus sees us pushing slowly forward.
Suddenly, a rumbling crash ball from a lineout, sees Finn Canney take ball into contact, he ploughs through 3 giant Cornish forwards to power onward and over the line for the try!! McManus adds his compliments with a conversion splitting the uprights – Hammers pull ahead to 15-7!
Cornish lose their shit and come straight back with huge runs and hits immediately after the kick-off. They kick to corner and drive a maul from the resulting lineout over the line. Cornish reduce the deficit to 15-12. The pressure, wind and kicking position hinder the Cornish kicker who slices the conversion well-right. Hammers still ahead 15:12
The battle in the middle of the pitch continues and our own Chris Ralph runs some excellent lines but then gets laid out by their 12. O’Hara retaliates by chopping their fly-half in two!!! Huge hitting from both sides sees tensions rise…
Ulton takes the legs from beneath their lock and he goes down hard. Jack Worton gets involved by chasing down and crunching their winger.
More Cornish penalties give us field position and possession…Worton makes a great 58 metre run straight down the pitch… he’s caught up and taken down but not held so scrambles up and makes a few extra metres into the Cornish 22!
Rapid running across the pitch by Hammers spreads the ball to the wingers and Hammers can smell that next try coming. Tim Williams rumbles over the line and scores!! But the Ref blows up and he’s been held up!! 5 metre scrum to Hammers, Cornish drive us off our own scrum and their 8 picks-and-go’s, O’Hara adapts and shoves the runner out of touch.
Play continues on their 5 metre line and it looks like a hammers try is inevitable….devastating! Intercepted pass by Cornish runs 80 metres but chased down just as he reaches the 22…
Cornish continue to use the momentum from the intercept and grind hammers defence down to score in the corner. The conversion is missed but Cornish take the lead 15-17 with just minutes to spare.
Hammers keep their heads up and their resolve steeled. We fight back and trudge into their 22, scrapping for every meter we can get. Time runs against us and we still haven’t broken through….we reach the final seconds, the only way to seize victory will be a drop-goal….
….the ruck is set up and John mcmanus drops deep, quick ball out and John takes the shot under pressure…. it has the legs but tragically it flies just right of the posts and the shrill blast of the ref’s whistle screeches defeat for Hammers.
Final score: Hammers 15 vs London Cornish 17
Fulham and Hammersmith Rugby: News: The Dinner Dance returns - 6th May 2017!
This year sees our Dinner and Dance Event being held on 6th May at Star and Garter in Putney, over our favourite late night dance floor Thai Square!
Star and Garters gorgeous Ballroom overlooks the River Thames & will host us for the night. With a glass of bubbles on arrival, 3 course meal and wine included shows an enjoyable night is in the stars! After a lovely meal, great speeches and awards announced, the floor will open to the DJ until late.
Dress code is black tie
From then, whom ever has the energy to continue, it will be a small walk downstairs to Thai Square to continue the dance moves and singing to cheesy tunes!
IMPORTANT NOTICE :
There are only 121 tickets. Point blank- 121 ONLY. Once we are SOLD OUT - that’s it.
Tickets will be sold on a 1st come, 1st served basis.
Early Bird Ticket £60 can be purchased until Wednesday 1st March 2017.
Ticket Price from 2nd March then be £65 until sold out.
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Fulham and Hammersmith Rugby: Match report: 2017-01-29 (u14s vs. Saracens)
The Hammers U14 headed North to Saracens, thankful of a full complement of playing staff for the first time in several weeks as our injury list begins to clear.
Having arrived safely, changing Room 3 was eventually found, Narnia-like “through the back of the showers”. The coaches prepped the team while the TLCs selflessly donated to the away team café, although the staff were confused at the order of a “double espresso” which must mean they don’t get too many Frenchmen in Barnet I guess.
Both sides set about their drills with gusto, while the TLC noted that the home team did have the usual compulsory giant, and for the first time in our history an opponent with a full beard. “Watch out for stubble rash in the scrums” was an unusual warning for an U-14 side (that I wish I’d said at the time….). Coach Guy was the happiest man in London after managing to swerve touch judge duties as Coach James stepped up to the plate (although there was mild panic when at one point it seemed like one of the TLC might get roped in…)
The game kicked off bang on 11:00 and once again the Hammers were caught cold at the start of a game. Sarries huge pack pushed us off a scrum, and after a few phases, one of their colossal back row set off down the touchline scattering tacklers everywhere for an early score, 5 – 0 after 2 minutes.
The Hammers responded quickly, winning a penalty from the restart and kicking to touch. Despite losing the lineout, just as we set up a driving maul, we soon recovered the ball from a ruck. 4 phases later after some slick hands in the backs, Victor went over from close range to level the scores, 5 – 5
“Scrappy play” covers the next passages of play, with knock ons galore. Sarries then unfurled their kicking game twice hoofing the ball down the slope to gain ground. On the second occasion, we knocked it on, and from the resulting scrum the ball went wide for their very slick wing to dot down in the corner. A heroic conversion from the touchline later and it was 12 – 5
More Sarries pressure followed as they won our ruck ball from the restart and their outside centre broke clear. Reuben just caught him up and forced him into touch near our line. Although we won the lineout, our clearing kick up the hill and into the wind, came straight back with interest, and another close-range effort from the base of a ruck meant another converted score followed: 19 – 5
Worse was to come, when the home side turned to the boot again. A mix up in the back field and a gift of a try to the home team: 26 – 5
With half time approaching a decent kick chase from Koman forced a knock on from the restart. Saracens were penalised at the scrum for an early push – Noah smashed his way up to the line, only to be stopped right on the line. The forwards arrived, secured the ruck ball and Bertie “flashed” over from1 yard out and it was 26 – 10 at half time.
The second half started with the home winger again showing great pace down the right wing to blaze over from half way: 31 – 10
The Hammers then dominated the next phases of play with slick hands in the backs putting Rafa, Victor and Rex into gaps – Rex got over the line, but couldn’t dot the ball down – unlucky.
Harry also got his signature bull-like charges going and things were looking up for the Hammers. Adrien, having come on at half time for his Hammers debut, also moved the ball at pace and also managed some big tackles, the last of which gave him what we hope was just a dead arm, and his game was over.
Momentum was lost during this injury break and from here, a litany or errors and fumbles crept into the game, and we conceded two scores to create a very harsh 41 – 10 scoreline.
The Hammers had the final word however, with Harry, Rafa and George (having a career highlight game for the Hammers) running the ball up hard to the line. We got over the line once to make it 41 – 15 (Noah the scorer), but on the second occasion Tom was held up (by the neck….) over the line.
41 – 15 didn’t seem a fair reflection of the play with Hammers again not turning pressure into points and also conceding some sloppy scores (a view the referee shared in the bar after the game). We will play worse than this and win some games….
Fulham and Hammersmith Rugby: Match report: 2017-01-28 (4th XV vs. London Cornish IV)
After a few weeks on the road, the 4s returned to home turf to take on Cornish whose results had improved markedly since the sides last met on a sunny September day at Roehampton Vale.
A notable feature of the Hammers’ side was in the front row where the trio lining up to start the match had a combined age of 120 years. With a distinct absence of hooking options across the club, captain Mike Spurgeon – the baby of the front row at a sprightly 37 - took on the role of throwing into the line and striking for the ball. Alongside his distinguished counterparts Simon Khalil and Justin Perry propping on either side of the scrum, the Hammers looked solid in the set piece and built some early momentum after applying pressure in the set piece.
With lineout options aplenty, James Lalor showed excellent hands and Bob Davies the usual control and authority to secure some good ball and set up a strong drive for the line. However, the breakthrough came when Lalor combined with the backline to race clear of the cover defence and open the scoring. Mark Bishop made the tricky kick from the right look easy as the ball sailed between the posts. Despite some sterling work from Josh McLeod at the front of the line to deny Cornish on a couple of earlier occasions, the visitors pulled a try back with a well-constructed driving maul. 7-5 was perhaps a fair reflection of the opening quarter, with the Hammers playing with some adventure with ball in hand and Cornish building some pressure in the tight exchanges.
As the half wore on, Mark Bishop was again to the fore, first making a fine try-saving tackle to bring down a man twice his size (Nick Emmett take note), before being on the receiving end of a high tackle, which despite its honest intentions landed the Cornish full-back a 10 min stint in the bin. Despite their man advantage, Hammers had to wait a little longer to break down the visitors’ resistance, but ultimately Harry Heal’s quick thinking to run a close-range penalty was rewarded when his pop pass to Tom Parkinson saw the streamlined centre dive over the line to score under the posts.
The first half had seen Parko’s centre partner and debutant Charlie Nohre make some notable runs on his debut and it was his strong carrying in the 13 shirt which was a constant threat. The backline was ticking nicely and it wasn’t long before the pacy outside centre was on the score sheet, running in from long distance after fine work from the Hammers’ back row to turn the ball over.
Cornish however showed their mettle and scored another try from close range shortly after to narrow the gap once again, before some more fine work in the backline, this time instigated by Heal, fed Nohre who sent Parkinson away for his second try of the afternoon, this time from much further out, although on this occasion the swallow dive that accompanied the finish was more for show than necessity.
Although Cornish were making the scrum a real battle in the second period, replacement Tim Lowndes held up manfully as well as reducing the average age of the front three. After a fine shift on the flank George Chapman made way for newly converted flanker Hamish Barker who kept the pressure on and made another energetic contribution.
It was another replacement – the evergreen Andrew Lynch – who marked his return to competitive action at Hurlingham with a typically tenacious try, bursting through 2-3 tackles to ground the ball between the posts and effectively make the game safe.
To their great credit, Cornish came back again, causing no end of problems to the Hammers at the breakdown and at scrum time in particular. Scrum half Will Finn, who was having a difficult afternoon due to some poor quality ball presentation and well-contested rucks, made a telling contribution with a fine cover tackle, while wingers Nick Jackman and Alex Locke were finding the space they had enjoyed earlier in the game difficult to come by. Cornish battered away, and won a scrum penalty prompting a need for a final rearguard effort from the Hammers. In the course of prompting an aggressive rush defence, Lynch’s eventful cameo came to an abrupt end when his frustration at being called for offside was voiced a little too clearly to the referee. Down to 14, albeit just for the closing moments, the Hammers conceded after the visitors constructed another strong maul and were rewarded with their third try of the afternoon.
As well as some sparkling back play in the three-quarter line often initiated by Harry Heal and typified by debutant Nohre, there were notable contributions from Mark Bishop, not least landing 4 out of 5 conversions, and an outstanding effort in the back row from Will Parker whose work-rate and effectiveness at stealing and securing ball were integral to the Hammers effort, and without these largely unseen efforts the ball may never have reached the wide men.
Fulham and Hammersmith Rugby: Match report: 2017-01-28 (2nd XV vs. Richmond Normans)
Hammers took on top of the table Richmond captained by Will North.
Kick-off by Richmond and an immediate attack by the hammers leads to a try in the first minutes! New captain Will North to score! 5-0 conversion missed.
Richmond came back out with some big runs from their huge number 8 and prop. They also had some good ruining options in their back three. Richmond pile on the pressure but clear heads and a quick turnover allow a great clearance kick by hammers followed by 5 mins of battling it out in the midfield.
The Hammers 900kg scrum pushes Richmond back regularly and the opposition start to feel the strain.
Hammers use the width of the pitch, seeing some great runs from the backs. Accurate passing means the ball gets spread wide to Ryan with North close in support…run gets us deep into the Richmond 22, pressure building and it could be another Hammers try within the first 10…..
Richmond get a quick turnover, kick into space and get a break through try score under posts 5-5. Conversion goes through to make it 5-7
Hammers have great kick-off pick up by Julian, followed by some big runs from everyone, great communication from Si to boss the forwards about. Richmond can’t cope with the onslaught and ATG rumbles over for try! 10-7 missed conversion.
More big runs from hammers playing patterns. Rhinos and Ambers in abundance!
The next 5 minutes sees kicking from both teams In more mid-field warfare
Richmond get a break up the wing leading to a line out in our 22…
Huge break from hammers after a precision line out. Backline smash a move that sees Ryan and North break up the wing again, Ryan attempts a chip and chase, Richmond take it behind the try-line but don’t put it down, attempt to kick for clearance kick is blocked!! Loose ball scooped up by Bane to push Hammers ahead to 15-7. Missed conversion.
After kick off, a good run by Sam Shepard goes all the way! Another Try! 20-7. Missed conversion. Hammers get the 4-try bonus within the first 30 minutes.
Richmond come back hard and score after some big rumbling runs by their pack. They capitalise and score quickly to close the gap to 20-12 conversion successful - 20-14
Kick off and Richmond take it back to our 22 with their big runners carving good lines. Hammers retaliate with a huge clearing kick and Richmond run it out themselves! Another silly mistake that gives hammers a line-out deep in Richmond territory. Back to the mid-field grind!
Conway with hit of the season! Brutal. Absolutely lays their 6 out! Then good play by North to shrug off 3 attackers….. suddenly intercepted pass leads to 50 metre breakaway try to Richmond the crowd groans 20-19. Conversion successful, taking Richmond ahead 20-21 at the half
Midfield scrap then Hammers put pressure on and trudge up the pitch. Hard work pays off and a Try to Cillian! Shit, he’s been held up! Scrum on the 5 metre line….Hammers 8 picks out the back of the scrum, offloads to Shepherd, Shepherd dummy pass to score in the corner!! 25-21. Missed conversion
Richmond hard on the attack straight after kick off and run very hard. Numerous missed and broken tackles. Hammers lapse in defence and Richmond crash over the line 25-26. Conversion successful, 25-28
Hammers push drive and scrape their way into Richmond territory just to have it seized away and a desperate clearance by Richmond puts the ball just outside their 22
10 mins of tough play and both teams attacking and defending well.
Richmond break away and run 60 meters to score in the corner Queue second communal crowd groan. 25-33. Missed conversion.
22 mins to go…….
Great run up the wing by Weeks. Big Richmond runner gets yellow for high tackle. On their 5 metre line, scrum to Hammers. The 900kg pack take them for a walk and scrum over the try line!!!! Right under the posts. 30-33 missed conversion.
3 points in it with 15 to go…..
Hammers get a penalty in the middle in their 22. Do we go for the kick? Do we f*”K, it’s glory or nothing for us! Japan vs South Africa undertones…..
Hammers opt for the scrum……
We go blind, quick run by Goode, Julian picks up, dives to the line but gets high tackled! (Penalty) TRYYYYYY!!! 35-33 converted 37-33
Final 10 minutes……
Si makes a break, could be all the way but the offload gets dropped. Richmond scrum on their 22. We keep them there for a few minutes. Then huge clearance kick to our own 22…..
Final 5 minutes…..
We kick ball out, caught by their full back who kicks it out on the full. Line out on the half. We take it and drive. Keep the fight between the half and their 22. Final seconds ticking down….Hammers turnover the ball and kick for touch…. FINAL WHISTLE!
Final Score 37-33