Hackney came into the full of confidence after the win v Hamptonians and well rested a week off. Despite the pain of travelling west on the Picadilly line, the boys started brightly. A driving lineout sent OAs backwards at a rate of knots as the Hackney forwards made their mark early in the game. The subsequent penalty put the Griffins 0-3 up and a further foray into the OAs 22 saw another indiscretion from the home side to make it 0-6. While Hackney didn't get over the whitewash, they were turning pressure into points. Jeff Moore, on his comeback to the 1st XV, in particular shone - with some big hits in defence (including one dump tackle carrying the OA player 5 yards off the pitch!!) and sharp lines of running; it looked like he'd never been away!

However, as the half wore on Hackney lost their way; defence was too passive and OAs gained a foothold in the game with some half decent phase rugby. Hackney were pushed onto the back foot and didn't respond well, allowing OAs to work the overlaps and punch holes in the Griffins' defence far too easily. After a spell of pressure Actonians managed a try in the corner to make the score 5-6 with 5 minutes to got to half time. Hackney came straight back from the kick off, with pressure in the home 22 resulting in a penalty which the reliable James Hardwick made it 5-9. But Hackney lost Jeff Moore and Ozan Asim to injury and were forced to reshuffle with Uzo onto the wing, John Tully to no. 8 and Ben Chamberlain to 13. More defensive troubles followed, and OAs scored a converted try on the stroke of half time to put them 12-9 ahead and Hackney on the back foot.

Some harsh words were said at half time about the defensive display but it didn't appear to have worked when within the first few minutes of the half more sloppy blind side defence allowed OAs in for another unconverted score and Hackney staring down the barrel at 17-9 down. Once again, the boys were asked to show their character and fight their way back into the game. And that's exactly what they did.

Led by superb orchestration at fly half from Alex O'Hara, strong, relentless direct running from Adam Winchester and John Tully and tireless work at open side from Paddy Walsh - making a point at his old club - Hackney worked their way back into the game. Within 2 minutes of the OAs' try, Hackney pressure led to a penalty - it was to be Hardwick's only miss of the day but showed that Hackney could capitalise on OAs indiscipline. The Griffins had to be patient as OAs resisted and exerted pressure themselves. But the hits were getting bigger from Hackney and they were now playing with far more intent with ball in hand.

With 25 mins to go Hacney forced another penalty, which Hardwick duly converted to peg it back to 17-12. Within 5 minutes more good phase play from Hackney led to OA indiscretions and they were back within a point at 17-16. The Griffins had turned the game through guts and hard work. Now, a superb break from the impressive Winchester broke into the OA 22 and another penalty was won. Hardwick made no mistake and Hackney were ahead! 15 minutes to go and could the Griffins hold on to a 2 point lead?! It looked unlikely as OAs won a kickable penalty with 10 mins to go. The kick missed left - relief. But more pressure came and another kickable penalty with 5 minutes to go - somehow missed too - the Griffins were holding on!

With the game on a knife edge OAs kicked deep into Hackney territory. In his own 22, winger James Rowbottom fielded the kick under pressure from the chasing defence. He skipped past the first tackle and made a searing run from right to left, beating 4 OAs players and taking Hackney deep into the OA half - it was a superb break and a momentum changer. Soon after, Winchester had his hands on the ball once more, rampaging down the blind side. O'Hara was there to take the attack forward, with a perfectly timed inside ball sending Hardwick in for a try under the posts and open up the lead. Hackney's 'Mr Reliable' converted and it was an 8 point lead - so no bonus point for OAs as things stood! Of course, OAs came back, but the Hackney defence was impressive - huge hits from John Tully in particular.

MOTM: Alex O'Hara - a superb display from the Hackney 10 - a master-class in kicking from hand and leading from the front in defence, tackling like a back row.