The Cup draw granted Hackney with a trip to lower league Feltham for a 2:15 kick off. Feltham's unenviable position just north of Twickenham made the coming and going of the Griffins a trying task amid drunken English and Irish revelers; a giant-killing could well have been on the cards.

It was not to be for Feltham, but they should be commended for resisting the onslaught of a strong Hackney side for most of the first half. Penalties were initially exchanged, with debutant Matt Hanton scoring comfortably with his metronymic right peg. A positive sign in the opening minutes was the Hackney forwards’ interplay: on a number of occasions Charlie Davies, John Tully, Ben Chamberlain, and Johnny Crockett, were off loading with ease as they charged down field. A moment of luck provided the breakthrough: the referee (of whom we will be hearing more later) missed a huge knock-on in a Hackney move, with the Feltham players baffled, Chamberlain gathered and ran it in from halfway. The Hackney open-side was involved in the other key event of the first half, but this time to his team’s detriment. An awkward fall from Feltham’s line out jumper, was interpreted by the referee to be Chamberlain’s fault leading to a yellow card just before half time.

Coach Ben Scanlan marshaled his troops in the break: he knew his team would need to work hard for the first ten minutes down to fourteen. The Griffins heard their coaches call, with the pack dominant, particularly in the line out. The nexus of this domination was Man of the Match Johnny Crockett, who was happy claiming Feltham’s lineout balls and seemingly turning over their players at will. One driven maul was worked so well that Feltham were taken over their line for Jonathan Tully to score. With Hackney back to fifteen players, and Feltham tiring, the Griffins began to turn the screw. This pressure was summed up by a Feltham box kick, charged down by Charles Bailey, who dived on the ball to score a stunning individual try.

Changes were made at sixty minutes, with Owain Hughes replacing Andy Pilkington, Davies moved to six and Hughes at scrum-half. Fresh legs meant more bad news for Feltham, with Davies passing to Rowbottom running a sublime line to score, after a Kim Fitzgerald break. The fifth try was to be the game’s finest: a weaving break from Hughes, ending with an offload to Davies, who found Chamberlain, who flicked a pass to Hanton, then finding Rowbottom. Standing in at fly-half, Rowbottom deftly placed a cross kick to O’ Hara who plucked it from the sky under the nose of the Feltham fullback, offloading to Fitzgerald for a mesmeric try.

Feltham rallied to get hold of the ball for the last few phases of the game, but a huge double tackle from Ollie Hart and Will Bowers led to the ball spilling loose. Feltham panicked, Charlie Davies picked up the ball and fended the last defender to canter home from sixty yards flanked by four Hackney runners. Hackney’s performance seemed a fitting prelude to England putting the Irish to the sword, and the Griffins play Wasps on Saturday in fine form.