Another week, another tale of two halves, but this time with a happy ending for Hackney. The first half started quickly with two tries from James Dawson in the first 15 and a third from Alex O'Hara which was answered by a maul driven over from Kilburn just before the break. Hackney put previous lessons from referees to good use as they listened well, whilst Kilburn lost their cool. Ben Chamberlain made some stunning runs off the back of the scrum, making more than twenty metres with apparent ease despite the best efforts of the opposition 6. With the work done with the back three in training, an understanding was evident as they made great use of poor clearance kicks from Kilburn, creating space for the tries.

The initial line-up was altered after a recurrence of the calf injury sustained at Cheshunt for Steve Nichols brought Andy Finn on at 13, with James Dawson switching to 12: despite this disturbance great head's up rugby was shown as chances were capitalised upon, although it would not have been unfair on Kilburn had Hackney been five or six scores in front at half time.

The second half started perfectly as a delicate cross-field kick from Alex O'Hara was gathered by James Rowbottom, who was left with the easy job of flopping over the try line. Rowbottom should have had a second try, as some great midfield work gave him space out wide but he failed to gather a sympathetic pass as he threatened to wrap the win up - a long night ahead beckoned instead. Kilburn seemed to take heart from this as they used their size advantage (aided by a backline who wouldn't have looked out of place in the pack) to batter the fringes of the breakdown and maul anything that could be mauled. Despite being shocked at having their lead pegged back to a point within the first 18 minutes of the half, the pack provided a rear guard action tackling anything that moved. The introduction of fresh legs into the front row (a huge display from Jon Williams at scrum time in a cameo appearance ahead of his half marathon on Sunday), coupled with the bright pink faces in the Kilburn pack resulted in a number of scrums with Hackney in the ascendancy, but the referee failed to recognize this and let off the Kilburn front row with standing up. While the pack were tackling anything that moved, the backs also had to be alert for the odd occasion when Kilburn when wide, with everybody needed to complete tackles against bigger (in size only) men. The final whistle was greeted with cheers of relief, but the squad were unhappy with not having converted their first half dominance into a bigger margin of victory.

Ultimately, Hackney had triumphed in a great contest, rather than just coasting to a comfortable win - something which can be drawn on in the weeks to come.

With other results from Herts Middlesex 1 showing how competitive this league is, the bonus point may prove crucial over the coming season. Next up, Hackney travel to Richmond to face a buoyant London Welsh team who sit second on ten points from their two wins. There were a fair few candidates for MOTM - Ben Chamberlain was off the scale again, Alex Bobin made some big hits, the front row of Blair Gray, Dom Beno and Andy Pilkington worked manfully and James Dawson has made a very impressive start to the season in the centres...In the end we have a forward and back MOTM



MOTM: Chris McMahon for his big presence in defence and James Hardwick who literally made road-kill of their winger and the fulcrum around which the back three developed some great counter attacks.