This weekend Hackney travelled down to a very cold and windswept Regents Park for the final season encounter with Belsize Park, and with Hackney comfortably beating Belsize at Home early on in the season they new Belsize would be looking to take revenge in order to keep the top 3 spot in their sights.

The gamed kicked off and within seconds it was evident that Hackney had come out of the blocks faster and more determined that Belsize. With the catch of the ball Hackney forwards ploughed their way into the Belsize’s 22, with excellent running from Newton Mills and Ben Chamberlain. With the Hackneys forwards sucking in all the Belsize defence this left gaps all over the Belsize back line, which Jack Agboola took full advantage of to side step his opposite man and put Hackney in front within 5 minutes.

However from this first 5 minutes Belsize woke up started playing like the team Hackney knew - physical and scrappy. For the next 35 Minutes Hackney changed their style of play, and started playing to Belsize’s game plan which result in Hackney losing their lead by two brake away tries from Belsize’s inside centre, who was helped out by poor Hackney defence and a dubious refereeing decision. With this Hackneys poor discipline also handed Belsize a further 6 points in two penalties from right in front of the posts. Hackney managed to pull back 2 penalty conversions to reduce Belsize’s lead at the half time whistle to Belsize 20 – Hackney 13.

With the half time whistle Hackney captain Alex O’Hara told the team to up their games and to start playing our plan.
Hackney took the half time message and started the 2nd half at a slower pace with the emphasis firmly on retaining the ball and supporting the playing. Within the first 10 minutes Hackney were had locked heads with Belsize and were fighting over the middle 20 meters in a kicking match which saw no end. However Hackneys back three took the initiative and with James Hardwick and Charlie Williams quick feet countered Belsize’s dog legged defence to make good yards into Belsize’s 22. With the renewed pace to the game, Hackney’s counter attacking proved effective as Charlie Williams quick feet and excellent side step saw him cross the line to take Hackney level with Belsize at 20 – 20.

With the final 10 minutes left on the clock, Hackneys forwards fitness and strength proved to be the deciding factor in the evenly matched game, with Newton Mills, Alex Bobin and Ollie Hart driving Belsize back past their own 22 to with 10 metres of their line. Belsize continued to be penalised for pulling down both rucks and scrums on their own five metre line, as they seemed to have no other answer to the Hackney forwards, with John Tully commanding the scrum from 8 and forcing Belsize back over the try line. However for the final time Belsize collapsed the scrum and the referee awarded the penalty try. With the last kick off the game Alex O’Hara made Hackney 7 points clear of Belsize to win the game Belsize 20 – Hackney 27.
An excellent end to a hard fought game with all of Hackney stepping up to match their opposite man, however taking it down to the last moment has not helped Hackney coach Ben Scalan with quitting smoking.

Next week Hackney host Old Priorians in a match which will literally decide Hackneys season, as both fight it out for 2nd place and the coveted promotion spot.