This weekend Hackney 1st XV traveled away to Hendon RFC for their first league game of the season. With much anticipation and coming off the back of two preseason wins against tougher opposition Hackney knew they would have to really set down a bench mark for the season if their goal of promotion was to be realized.

However with the Hendon slope and a fierce wind against Hackney the first half started with both sides not making any ground and play being firmly camped in the middle of the pitch. Hackney's backs had a fantastic defensive spell with no yards being given to the ever tiring Hendon backs, and this defensive dominance was also matched by the forwards who continued throughout the first half to match Hendon in all aspects of their game. However for Hendon continued to match Hackneys defensive play through out the first half, even when Dan Aylward crossed the line one of their players managed to get a hand under the ball to hold it up and end the first half 0-0.

From the whistle it was very clear to see that the hard fought first half had taken it's toll on Hendon's fitness, as with Hackney now taking advantage of the wind and slope they firmly camped themselves in Hendon's 22, and with 5 minutes gone Hackney got their just reward with Henry Williams taking advantage of huge overlap to cross the line and put Hackney ahead 0-5. From the kick Hackney continued to dominate with Hackney forwards sucking in Hendon players into all rucks and mauls to create further overlaps and within 10 minutes Hackney had crossed the line twice thanks to Charlie Williams and Dan Alyward both showing the Hendon defense a clean pair of heels, both of which were converted by Alex O'Hara to take Hackney lead up to 0-19.

Hendon continued to battle on with their forwards pack having a second burst of energy and putting pressure on Hackneys rucks and mauls, however this energy soon faded and Hendon started giving penalties for their lack of discipline around the rucks. The Hendon forwards were then continually forced backwards in both the scrums and mauls as the Hackney forwards strength and fitness payed off. This force in the forwards continued to stretch Hendon out wide with gaps starting to appear all over their back row, and with 5 minutes left James Rowbottom crossed the line of the back of an excellent backs move to put his name on the score sheet, which was followed up by Alex O'hara's conversion 0-26. Finally with seconds on the board Hackney forwards pushed Hendon back into their 22 through excellentrunning from Ben Chamberlain and Lloyd William-Jones making huge yards to take Hackney to Hendons 5, and with sight of the try line Hackney forwards drove a maul clean over the Hendon try line for John Tully to claim his first try of the season, with Alex O'hara finishing off the game with another conversion to help Hackney to a 0-33 win and claim a bonus point to start us off at 2nd place in the merit table.

The game helped to set down a great bench mark for Hackney for the season, with pre-season training clearly paying off. Next week Hackney faces Old Ashmoleans away, with the relegated team hungry to get back up into London 3's.

Man of the match - Lloyd Williams-Jones for his excellent rucking and mauling to suck in Hendon players in to create overlaps out wide for the backs to utilize.