Was this a game in Hackney or had we all been transported to Dubai? October is not known for 82 degree heat & firm ground but Hackney lapped it up on Saturday afternoon. From the kick off Hackney mishandled & allowed USC to exert pressure, which was dealt with ease & turned around into attack with Sam Tivoi scoring out wide. Matt Hanton.s first kick attempt of the day & his only miss, in fact he finished the game with a kick conversion rate of 88% - another outstanding performance with the boot. USC were a side that offered a good challenge to Hackney, with a powerful (but undisciplined) pack & a strong running fly half. Despite the opportunities that they created it was not until the 37th minute that they crossed Hackney.s try line. This is testament to the strong tackling from throughout the squad. USC did have a man sent to the sin bin at 24 minutes for a thoughtless tackle on Jonny O.Connor, which within 5 minutes had ended Jonny.s contribution. The consequence was that Sam Willoughby came on at inside centre & Nuno moved to the wing. There was no loss of impetus, in fact allowing Nuno more space worked in Hackney.s favour.

The second half began with an exchange of territory & a Hackney penalty at 45 minutes . duly converted. With the score standing at 25 -5 USC now had their best period of the game, attack followed attack, with Hackney.s defence standing strong. Phil Walsh suffered a dead leg & on came the legend that is Guy Halfhead, with Nuno moving to full back & Sam Willoughby to wing. Guy had arrived unannounced, with his kit, hoping for a 10 minute .cameo. towards the end. But more of him later. At 60 minutes USC crossed the line for their second unconverted try. This was to be a tipping point for Hackney, the opposition had got a sniff of a comeback & were fired up. Were Hackney up to the challenge? The answer came within a short time from Guy. He crashed up the centre of the pitch with pace & power, reminding me of the stone ball from the .Indiana Jones. film. A front on tackle from USC resulted in their player sitting down very hard & red faced. 2 phases later . try from debutant Fernando. An exchange of tries in the last 5 minutes & another sensible penalty from Hanton & the game was over. Both halves won convincingly.

Hard work from the pack was ultimately the deciding factor. All 8 grafting tirelessly in the open & tight, which allowed some speedy play to be had in the backs. A special mention must go to Fernando, despite not knowing anyone in the team, fitted in like an old timer. He had the opposition tight head in all sorts of trouble, carried & tackled well.

USCOB.s will be a bigger threat when the weather gets wetter, so no sitting on our laurels.

Some passes & plays were not executed as well as they might have. Need to see the boys on Tuesday.s a bit more regularly! Fitness on a very hot afternoon was excellent.

MOTM : Laurence Mills. Took a knock in the opening 10 minutes but played on without complaint. Turned ball over for fun & was all over the opposition like a rash for the full 80.