A tale of two halves as after dominating territory in the first period, Hackney were undone in the second half, letting H.A.C come back from the brink and claim a try bonus score in the last minute. Ultimately, like Saracens the week before, H.A.C will be contesting for promotion (as evidenced by the string of ex-Durham Uni players on the bench) and Hackney will have to bounce back after a promising, if ultimately disappointing, start to the season.

H.A.C were reduced to three attacks in the opening forty, but still managed to claim two penalties as Hackney were unable to contain their enthusiasm in defence and were warned about continually infringing at the ruck. Despite this, Hackney defended magnificently and put real pressure on the opposition 10 giving him no time at all, with Paddy Walsh and Charlie Davis making real nuisances of themselves. Lessons had clearly been learnt from the previous week as when H.A.C ignored the whistle and drove over the prone Hackney front row, Hackney were quick to front up and show they weren't willing to take any rubbish.


Hackney were unlucky to only be two points up as James Hardwick failed with a conversion and three penalty attempts (one of which hit the post) which would have been just reward for more attacking intent in the rucks and through the direct running of Steve Nichols; this is not to doubt the quality of the kicking, with all attempts from outside the 22 and inside either 15m line - a tough ask on a first appearance of the season. The Hackney try was well worked down the left hand side, with great strong running and a classy offload from Shaun Rooke allowing James Rowbottom the space to scamper home and claim his first score of the season.

Despite early scrums going the way of Hackney, with late call-up Dom Beno holding his own manfully, we were unable to capitalise and often relied on Ben Chamberlain to run or pass us out of trouble. Likewise we suffered at the lineout as H.A.C had two very astute jumpers who were able to get airborne quickly enough to disrupt our ball and claim clean ball for them. This can be mitigated by looking at the number of changes made in the pack over the 3 fixtures of the season, but in such a contained environment, practice will make perfect.

The second half seemed to find Hackney asleep for the second week, as the intensity faded, as it was down to individual highlights (such as beautiful chips by Alex O'Hara and Paddy Walsh into the corners) to lighten what was role reversal from the first half. The last twenty minutes saw H.A.C sense their second half superiority could be rewarded as they piled on the pressure through quick hands and a willingness to run. Without being pressured at the set-piece, their confidence grew and they took more chances, running flatter lines; ultimately tackles were too weak as the Hackney midfield were over-run with attackers and H.A.C were able to run in three unanswered tries to put a gloss on what had threatened to be Hackney's day. To rub salt into the wound in the closing stages of the game, Mike Harris (on debut for the 1s) was denied a clear try in the corner by the referee who then apologised after the final whistle, realising his error!

MOTM: Ben Chamberlain for some brilliant work off the back of the scrum and in the loose - stealing ball and carrying selflessly all day long.