A convincing win was had by the Gargoyles this Saturday despite playing within their capabilities. The game was a stop start affair punctuated by numerous penalties given away by Hackney’s finest. The continuity was absent this week, however Hackney still had the ability to “win ugly”. The game commenced with immediate pressure in the opposition 22 resulting in a well taken try by Dave Huxley. From the restart the ball was gathered & returned at pace by Jonny O’Connor, who was tackled but offloaded to Olivier in support, running in unopposed. The forwards had the upper hand throughout the game as demonstrated by a 3rd score from Matthieu. After a dream opening 15 minutes Hackney began to lose self control & allowed Verulamians back into the game, in fact scoring themselves at 20 minutes. More pressure came to bear on the opposition but was not converted into scoring chances due to lack of discipline & over eagerness. More control of phase play would have resulted in rewards on the score sheet. It was not until the 34th minute, when Hackney were awarded a penalty 30m out in front of the posts, that Matt put on his “sensible head” & elected to kick, thus allowing pressure to be converted to points & time to regroup.

The second half was the antithesis of the first, a poor start from the visitors but a better one from the home side. The penalty count began to rise as did the referees blood pressure, who within 10 minutes was lost to Hackney. Verulamians efforts were rewarded at 54 minutes with their final score of the afternoon. There was a simmering undercurrent of niggle creeping into the game by this time also. Mainly fuelled on Hackney’s behalf by their frustration with themselves & to an extent the referee. However the referee is out of our hands but we can take responsibility for ourselves. The final quarter saw superior fitness from the Gargoyles shine through, even though the game finished with 14 men apiece, due to a fight & subsequent sin binning of Dom plus one opposition. Tim MacNally & Luke scoring in the last 13 minutes. The “play” of the day saw Luke chip kick to the wing in the dying moments, leaving Fernando the unenviable task of chasing it down. He failed to recover the ball but gathered the winger instead & drove him into touch. A fitting touch of optimism to close out the game. Matt Hanton finished the game with a creditable 86% kick success rate.

MOTM – Dave Huxley, inspirational to those around him, in the thick of everything & very vocal (in the most positive way).