Hackney hosted 2nd place London Welsh hoping to revenge a painful defeat earlier in the season when the experienced Welsh pack dismantled Hackney's 8. A late pull-out meant Alex Bobin stepped in for his first start at 3, combining with hooker Paddy Walsh to make one of the least experienced front rows in league rugby. Despite this the whole pack performed brilliantly winning plenty of their own ball and disrupting their scrum.

Despite this great scrummaging Welsh had the better of the first half and scored two tries (converting one). The first was a well executed move that saw their 10 scythe through the Hackney defence to touch down under the posts. Their second was lucky as Hackney tapped back from a defensive lineout and the ball spilled on the wet ground with a Welsh forward getting his fingers to the ball as it crossed the try line.

A great break by Alex O'Hara almost led to a try for Ben Chamberlain who couldn't grasp the slippery ball from the inside pass. Hackney did finally get a score after sustained pressure with a kick charged down, a great kick through and Hardwick getting to the ball first. His conversion attempt went agonisingly close as it appeared over only to hit the post.

The second half was a classic at any level of rugby. Both teams attacked and defended as though their season depended on it, meaning there was little to chose between the two. Hackney started the better and were rewarded with three penalties in the Welsh half for infringements around the ruck. Unfortunately Hardwick pushed the first two attempts narrowly wide, but send the 3rd, a 40m effort sailing between the posts to make it 12-8 and take his points tally for the season to 110. Welsh were not battered though and utilised some intelligent kicks to push Hackney back time and time again.

The matched climaxed with Hackney attempting their second escape act of the year after a lineout on the half way line went into touch just before full time. A great claim by Johnny Crocket set up the maul, collapsed for a penalty which was tapped quickly taking Hackney deep into Welsh territory. With 3 points not enough Hackney had to run and cross the try line but this time Welsh managed a turnover and hoofed the ball into touch.

So the 7 match winning run ends and to the best team Hackney have faced this season. Some surprising results in Herts Middlesex 1 this week have meant next week.s match at Old Hamptonians pitches 3rd against 4th, with only 1 point between the two - if it's half as good as the Hackney - Welsh contest, it'll be a classic.

MoTM: to single out one of the front row is difficult - Dom Beno, Paddy Walsh, Alex Bobin and Martin Byers take a bow. But the performance from Alex Bobin in his first start at tight head prop at 1st XV level (and only his second game there ever) was truly remarkable . Man of the Match, well done.