A warm sunny afternoon with the prospect of some flowing rugby was the order of the day at Spring Hill, well all except the flowing rugby part. An over confident Gargoyles approached the match with one eye on the next round. Having played Tring twice previously this season and comprehensively winning, facing them again travelling with no front row and only 13 players was lulling Hackney into a false sense of security.

Tring started strongly and played smartly throughout the game. Superior numbers from Hackney allowed the hosts to gain a 13 – 0 lead by 24 minutes. Precision and power were lacking from the Gargoyle squad in the opening quarter, Tring utilised a sensible game plan to turn Hackney at every opportunity and got a 7 point reward at 30 minutes. A further exchange of tries followed, Hackney finishing the half with a narrow 6 point advantage.

The mid- point break was a time for reflection, redirection and rebirth. However, Hackney’s mirror, compass and midwife went missing. The second half was as disjointed as the first. Both teams vied for field position and territory. The opposition began to tire around the 60 minute mark but to their credit won the half 7 – 3.

There were no really howling errors from Hackney, just 15 men playing the game like 15 unconnected freshers in October. There seemed to be a lack of cohesion, a lack of tactical awareness when playing 13 men with uncontested scrums, a lack of sharpness in general. All of these shortfalls have been absent since September last year, since when the team have moved on from strength to strength. If Hackney are to play a poor game then it’s out of the way now and they can build towards the next round.

A day to learn lessons from.

MOTM – Tring’s fullback.