Hackney travelled to Harlequins amateurs this weekend badly needing a win to put the disappointment of their cup defeat the previous week behind them.

Things did not start well. Not only were the side late arriving, but they were late arriving to the wrong pitch and with a markedly different squad from that announced the previous day (A big thank you to Jon Williams and Olivier Onillon for stepping in at the last minute). Ten minutes of panic ensued before Harlequins could be contacted and directed us to their mysterious second pitch. Hackney, a side for whom the glass is always half full, were able to reflect warmly on the fact that one local taxi company is now financially secure for at least the next couple of months.

A swift, but focussed warm up preceded a well respected minutes silence and the game began with Hackney, somewhat surprisingly, quickest out of the blocks.

A series of infringements from Quins players allowed Hackney to play the opening exchanges comfortably within the opposition half and from the line-out Quins simply could not handle the Hackney driving maul. Josh Binns playing his first game at 12 looked very sharp and could have created the first try. He broke the line with a fine sidestep before accelerating away from the Quins defence. He was only undone by the similarity between the two teams shirts. His pass finding the Quins centre, who was able to clear. Hackney were left to lament the unlikely fact that sky blue, purple, green and yellow quarters simply weren't as distinctive as they had hoped.

Unsurprisingly it was from the driving maul that Hackney would draw first blood. O'Hara kicked the line-out within striking distance and Bowers smartly rolled Chamberlain around the corner who was able to dummy to scrum half Fanning before finishing in the corner. To their credit Quins reacted well, upping their work rate and intensity and were not behind for long. Line-out confusion, created by Quins questionable tactic of shouting out pretend calls gave them a free kick. Hackney's defence was caught napping and a quick free kick allowed Quins to exploit the overlap and score in the opposite corner. Hackney had two opportunities to regain the first half lead, but the lack of any pre-match kicking practice affected the normally ice veined Hardwick with both sailing narrowly wide. The resulting restart saw one of the season's more interesting refereeing decisions. The Quins drop-out was called back for not going 10. Fortunately Quins were able to persuade the referee that this particular rule was not one that is open to refereeing interpretation and they were allowed another go. This proved rather the sign of things to come when later in the game Hardwick gathered the ball in his own 22 kicked and chased before hacking on and putting the Quins fullback under real pressure. The Hackney pack were bemused to discover that instead of lining up for a line-out on the Quins 22 they had been in fact awarded 'advantage' and a scrum 20 yards further back. The scrum was far from its usual dominance and Hackney were fortunate to have the vast experience of Jon Williams to replace the injured Lloyd Williams-Jones or the game could have easily belonged to Quins.

At half time the score was 7 a piece and the match hung genuinely in the balance. Hackney knew that they had not given their all in the first 40 minutes with the notable exceptions of Crockett and Binns, who were both excellent.

The second half started much as the first with Quins frequently conceding penalties. This time however, with two warm-up kicks under his belt, Hardwick showed Quins no clemency. After six minutes he had moved the score on to 13-7 and more was to come. Nerves relieved and Hackney were now playing with far more fluency. Charlie Davis replaced the reliable Fanning on 55 minutes minutes and his return to the first team brought greater vigour and bite to Hackney's tight play. He repeatedly pushed his forwards through and around the ruck and this tactic opened up space for both O'Hara and Binns to make promising breaks.

Hackney really should have had their second try when another driving maul from the line-out resulted in Lawrance Mills touching down without a Quins hand on him. This, one of the cleaner push over tries one could expect to see, was inexplicably deemed held up (presumably by a Hackney player!?) with the referee awarding Hackney a scrum five yards out.

The game was nearly lit up by two extraordinary tries in the second half. Hackney's Charlie Williams pulled off a quite remarkable one handed pick up off his toes at the end of a Hackney move only to be bundled into touch. This was soon to be bettered by the Quins left wing who threw the ball around the back of his head while evading two Hackney tackles only to be undone by his own forward pass.

Quins, six points behind, were able to work themselves into one last promising position ten minutes from time when a series of powerful runs led to a scrum five metres out. Up stepped Jon Williams, the Hackney replacement prop who whipped the ball away form the Quins hooker for Hackneys only scrum against the head of the match. Hardwick would swiftly make matters academic adding six more points from the boot and leaving Quins too much to do.

Excellent performances this week from Binns making his first start at 12 and Williams and Davis making real impacts off the bench, but MOTM goes to Crockett who was as imperious as ever in the line-out and single handedly held the Hackney pack together throughout the first half.