Hackney secured a 28-10 bonus point win at Old Actonians on a windswept and rainy day. The score line did not do justice to the spirit of the home side who were leading at half time.

Following the unofficial winter break, rugby resumed this weekend with a tricky away fixture to Old Actonians. Any prematch plans for expansive rugby had to be abandoned as the heavens opened up shortly before kick-off. Over to you then forwards. Hackney's forwards had dominated all comers this season and the plan was to scrummage and maul the legs out of the opposition. However, when the first attempt to maul a lineout was driven sideways 5 yards and then turned over, there was reasonable concern that the pack may have met their match. The scrum was also was faring little better, with Hackney grateful to the in form Uzo who was able to dig the ball out from the base and get over the gain line on a number of occasions. Hackney, we have a problem. Back to you then backs. And they almost obliged. O'Hara, spotting space on the reverse from a lineout, hit Rowbottom coming unsighted from deep. One on one with a prop there was only going to be one winner and he danced his way over the line only to inexplicably drop the ball beyond the try line. Oh well James. The left flank was proving fruitful as the Davis brothers combined for the second best attack of the first half. James found space and freed Charlie to plough the touchline. He chipped the cover defence only to be hit late by two covering tacklers.
Actonians were countering the occasional high speed Hackney raid with powerful, if unimaginative forward drives. Hackney defended doggedly, but when Davis was charged down box kicking the Actonians pack pounced. Hackney were forced to concede a penalty, which lead to the only score of the first half.

The second half produced far superior rugby to the first. Hackney, now playing up the hill were able to get their phase game going for the first time. The difference being that unlike the Actonian drives Hackney were stretching the opposition with Dawson repeatedly plundering the gain line from inside centre. Six phases into the second half and O'Hara spotted the reverse was on again and found Chamberlain coming from deep who ran untouched through the Actonians line. Thirty yards further down the field Charlie Williams’ tridar was going wild. With five from the last three games, no opportunities were going begging. Burners on, he went 50 yards down his flank and executed the two on one with aplomb. Six in four thank you very much.

To their credit, conceding a try sparked the best period of Actonian play. Their powerful forwards made yards phase after phase against a Hackney defence that was set too high and giving away too many easy yards. Eventually Hackney lost their shape and Actonians powered in from short range. Game on.

Hackney retaliated quickly though, regathering their own kick and putting five tight phases together. Davis and O'Hara were waiting for the cracks to open and when they did the ball was duly delivered to the powerful Dawson who again beat the first tackle running a great line and putting Rowbottom in under the sticks for his retribution try.

Actonians were hopeful of another quick return and built some momentum with several good phases from the restart. However when their 10 got isolated the Hackney back row pounced. A quick turnover allowed Charlie Davis to hit Charles Bailey on a miss pass. Actonians were desperately stretched and when Bailey, showing fine awareness, softly flipped the ball to Rowbottom on the charge, noone could stop him sprinting in from 30 yards out.

Hackney were now fully in ascendancy. O'Hara, starting to toy with the Actonians backline, found Williams with well-judged cross kick. Williams was brought down five yards short. Consistent Hackney pressure forced Actonians into a risky chip, which was skilfully regathered only for the ball to be ripped away by the rampaging Rowbottom. Hackney again moved the ball away from the large actonians defence and Dawson powered through the centres, dragging one defender for several yards before leaving him in the dirt and dotting down for a thoroughly deserved try. There was a moment of real concern at the end of the game when Hackney's talismanic fly half and captain O'Hara went down in a heap. Fortunately he was able to walk off the pitch and all wish him a speedy recovery. Special mentions are warranted for Richard Yong who in his ten minutes on the pitch made something like 10 tackles including some rather bruising ones and Newton Mills who moved in from prop to become Hackney’s go to lineout option.

MOTM Dawson, scored one, made another and never stopped short the gainline.

DOTD tough call between butter fingers Rowbottom and Parker, who decided to play second row, in the rain, in February, in moldies!