Hackney 1st XV: Winchester, Beno, Bobin, Hart, Corckett, McMahon, Chamberlain, Tully; C. Davis (c), O'Hara, Williams, Aylward, Rowbottom, J. Davis, Hardwick

Replacements: Cunningham, Walsh, Watkins

Hackney suffered a disappointing loss as 4th placed Verulamians put in a strong second half performance to deny the Griffins. Hackney had started very brightly, continuing where the left off against Old Grammarians the week before. From the kick off captain Charlie Davis offloaded to the onrushing Adam Winchester who drive forward. Quick ball was won and Hackney worked through four high quality phases, orchestrated by fly half Alex O'Hara with great hands and at pace. From quick ball, O'Hara spotted a chink in the Verulamians' defence and broke; returning open side flanker Ben Chamberlain was there in support to outpace the remaining defenders and score under the posts. In the first minute, Hackney had scored one of their best tries of the season and where 7 points to the good.

However, ultimately the Griffins never really managed to match the intensity of the opening exchanges again. Verulamians came back into the game as Hackney errors - particularly at the set piece - and indiscipline set them back. The Verulamians 9 and 10 controlled the game well, with the opposition 10 kicking intelligently. Verulamians almost scored as the 10's chip bobbled onto the try line, but scrum half Davis was able to cover and guarantee the Hackney 22. Eventually the pressure did lead to points, as a penalty was converted to make it 3-7 but Hackney came back and won a penalty of their own. James Hardwick saw his kick come back off the posts. Soon after, Hackney were in trouble again as Chamberlain was sin-binned for an indiscretion right in front of the referee. The Griffins were now really up against it going into half-time, but the defence held firm to leave the score at 7-3 at the break.

The second half was a frustrating affair for Hackney as they struggled for continuity as errors prevented them getting a solid platform. There were moments of brightness -  a Hardwick penalty extended the lead to 10-3 but Verulamians came back into the game and scored an excellent try in the corner off a well executed first phase move to make it 10-8. Hackney tried to regain a foothold but were disrupted as O'Hara was forced to temporarily leave the pitch with a blood injury. Verulamians had the Griffins on the rack and again span the ball wide to score in the corner; it went unconverted but that was 13-10 and Hackney were now behind for the first time in the game. Hackney pushed hard at the end but again indiscipline cost them as a penalty allowed Vs to stretch their lead to 16-10.

It was a frustrating afternoon for Hackney having started so brightly. There were some small pieces of consolation as they won a losing bonus point having lost by less than 7 points and the news that Verulamians are likely to  be docked points for fielding an ineligible player. This means that if Hackney can beat Hendon and Saracens in their last two games, 3rd place in Herts Middlesex 1 could be theirs.