Another sunny clear day for Hackney to play their brand of open fast rugby. The team did not disappoint with territorial advantage approaching 90% of the first 40 minutes, although possession was more evenly matched. A steady start saw Hackney on the score sheet at 7 minutes with a well stuck penalty. Some incisive running ensured that tries followed at regular intervals throughout the half, however better handling could have resulted in even more scores. Hitchin were not without endeavour & at one point manufactured a 1 v 1 scoring chance on the left wing, only for their player to select a kick rather than back himself resulting in an easy clearance for Hackney.

Following shortly after half time Ben Scott-Robinson was substituted for Blair Gray with a reshuffle in the front row. Alex Wilson came off with a back spasm, replaced by Tom Knight with Sam Willoughby going to lock. As a consequence the dominant scrummage suffered but was quickly shored up with the props swapping sides. Jonny O.Connor (playing fullback for the first time) finally ran out of steam at 55 minutes & was replaced by Owen Chadwick, who went to inside centre with JP dropping to 15. The scoring rate slowed in the second half as the error count began to climb, some strange tactical decisions were also made which can only be due to loss of focus. Hitchin failed to stop 3 scores in 30 minutes of this half but they did not lose heart & began to gain more territory & possession. Hackney.s defence held firm & resulted in the .play of the day. . Matt took a short & fast 22 tap drop out passing on to Sam (? I think) who then passed to Blair, although tight to the left touchline he kicked superbly off his left foot putting the opposition winger in trouble. He backed this up with a great chase (supported) causing Hitchin.s man to give away a penalty for a high tackle. It was not all one way traffic though & at 77 minutes Hitchin were awarded a lineout 5 metres from Hackney.s line. Hackney chose to compete for this ball & Hitchin used a front of the line move to crash over in the corner. The final play of the game saw Hackney break out from their own 22 with new recruit Owen speeding up the centre of the field, although caught 25 metres out he offloaded to the supporting Matt for a score under the posts.
Matt returned his worst kicking rate of the season with 60%. I know he was disappointed with this, so he sets himself high targets! 60%? We.ll take that every week.

A good free running game with decent ball provided by the forwards was witnessed at fortress Springhill. However I still feel that this side is running at 70% potential, so there is more to come!

Mention should be made about Hitchin.s determination to fulfil the fixture. They suffered cry offs & unavailability issues which resulted in a mixed 3rd/4th team travelling away. Next week.s Gogs team can look forward to a competitive fixture with a good bunch of true rugby players.

MOTM : Sam Willoughby. Determined work as flanker with no issues swapping to lock. Quiet, efficient work rate throughout the 80 minutes.