Hackney: Pilkington, Beno, Bobin, Hart, Crockett, Walsh, Chamberlain, Tully, C. Davis (c), O'Hara, J. Davis, Dawson, Rowbottom, Williams, Hardwick. Replacements: Bowers, Cunningham

Hackney rounded off their home campaign in style with a superb second half performance to put Hendon to the sword. The Griffins started brightly and soon gave James Hardwick the chance to slot a penalty. There were patches of good play from Hackney - when the forwards secured quick ball the backs looked dangerous. From turnover ball winger James Davis opened the scoring, showing great pace to skin his opposite man and then cut inside to beat the fullback; all seemed well at 10-0.

However, Hendon didn't  lie down and Hackney were guilty of poor fringe defence and indiscipline allowing Hendon a succession of drives which led to a try out wide which was well converted to leave the game tight at 10-7. Soon after, the Hendon 12 took exception to a big (perfectly legitimate) tackle from Hackney fly half Alex O'Hara - a couple of punches thrown in front of the referee later and Hendon were down to 14 men. Hackney took advantage as Hardwick slotted another penalty soon after. Hendon continued to battle but Hackney secured the all important score before half time as James Davis broke, sending Hardwick clean through who couldn't quite evade the last man. Centre James Rowbottom - outstanding all afternoon - was there in support to secure quick ball and feed scrum half Charlie Davis, who finished the move his brother had started. Hackney had a decent lead going into half time.

The second half got off to an unusual start as Hackney dominated possession but open side Ben Chamberlain found himself in the centres and a speculative chip and chase when straight into the hands of a Hendon player, who broke clean through to score under the posts, giving the home side cause for concern. Back the Griffins came though and Hardwick's metronomic boot made sure another penalty was converted. O'Hara's first and best try of the afternoon soon followed as from quick ball he skipped through the Hendon defence, beating at least three to score a superb try and give Hackney some breathing space.

But Hendon again fought back - admittedly helped by Hackney errors - an overcooked penalty kick to the corner was knocked on by Hardwick in the dead ball area. The resulting 5m scrum gave Hendon the chance to use their strong scrum. The Hackney pack wilted and Hendon were awarded a penalty try. At this point, coach Ben Scanlan introduced scrum half Neil Cunningham and flanker Will Bowers, with skipper Davis moving to flanker. Cunningham quickly made a real impact - with a quick tap and go penalty and strong run giving Hackney go forward and leading to another  Hardwick penalty.

It was in the last 20 that Hackney upped their game - as Hendon tired - to put the game to bed. A superb 30 yard break from lock Johnny Crockett was intelligently offloaded as he stopped to look for support and good hands from Cunningham put O'Hara away in the corner for a second score. Shortly after a deep kick from O'Hara created panic stations in the tiring Hendon defence and a feeble clearance went straight into a chasing Hackney hand - O'Hara was in the right place at the right time to complete his hat-trick and his tenth score of the season in Herts Middlesex 1. There was time for one more score as skipper Davis broke down the blind side before offloading inside to Cunningham; this time hard working hooker Dom Beno was there in support to score a well-deserved first ever score for the 1st XV and bring up Hackney's half century. To be fair to Hendon, they showed great willing to come back once more, pounding at the Hackney line. This time, Hackney's defence was superb - showing real steel to keep the away side out and deny them a bonus point.

With other results going Hackney's way, 3rd place is now mathematically secure - a fantastic achievement for a team that had been promoted for three successive seasons before 2010-11 and whose honest ambition at the start of the season was to avoid relegation in Herts Middlesex 1. The Griffins' final game is a chance for revenge on an early season defeat against Saracens Amateurs on April 9.