An unseasonably warm October morning rose above the marshes as the cream of Datchworth Rugby Club took the long road to Spring Hill. Two buses, a train and an uber would be the likely choice of transport for most. Awaiting the Hertfordshire based team at the end of their tiresome journey was a hungry and eager Hackney. With lessons learnt from the previous weeks frustrations Hackney RFC were steadying themselves for one of the tougher tests of the season thus far. Only one point separated the teams at the start of the day, a lot was on the line for both clubs. The wind was still and the rain was absent, an unlikely combination on Hallow's eve. With conditions in favour of an expansive game it looked set to be a tight affair.

Some say first impressions don't last and I'd be hard pressed to disagree. What looked to be a tight affair and a tough test for Hackney would unravel to be quite the opposite. The standard was set immediately with a barn storming counter attack straight off the kick off. 60 yards gained by the ever impressive Matt Strong and Datchworth were left pointing fingers. There was little time wasted in drawing first blood, a theme that became increasingly literal throughout the match, as good link play between the back three of Lloyd, Watmore and Burrows allowed the try scoring talent of Conner to canter in for Hackney's first score. Converted by the wondrous kicking talent and makeshift 9, J Askasm the scoreboard read 7-0.

The calming excuse of 'having not gotten off the bus yet' would have done little to sooth the worries of Datchworth as Hackney proved to the home support that the fearsome start was by no means a stoke of luck. An uncharacteristically successful run, containing all the hall marks of a poor mans David Campese, from the imperious and diligent PJ Lloyd caused a scene reminiscent of a John Wane western. Tackling arms swinging like saloon doors allowing Lloyd to ride in Hackney's second score in less than 10 minutes.

As ever, the bountiful talents of Sean Connor were proving too much to handle for the portly shaped combination that assumed Datchworth's midfield. Proving himself to be a great asset and a thorn in the side for any opposition by repeatedly slicing the opposition defence asunder, Connor walked in his second of the day. Unconverted the score was taken to 19-0. 

Then came the expected but extremely brief fight back. After the prominent ball carrying talent of Will Bowers, having rhino charged their 15 and then immediately conceded his footing, Datchworth won some much needed turn over. Leading to an industrious capitalisation on some poor defending at the fringes, an opposition back row forward made strides into the Hackney half. A kick through followed and panic alarms were sounding for Hackney. Fears were abated briefly as Connor flew to the rescue. Disappointingly, fears were then re-established with interest as not only had the valiant Connor unsuccessfully cleared up but had also received a considerable blow to the head. Blood was oozing out of the left eyebrow region and stitches were a necessary remedy marking the end of Sean's contribution. Nothing was lost in terms of pace as the Hackney Flyer, Yinka Busari, took to the field.

Some tense phase play followed with hackney camped in their 22. Only minutes after the Connor injury, and having repelled some potent attacks, Hackney suffered the biggest disappointment yet this season. Having not even touched the ball, yet putting his body on the line (literally) Yinka's knee suffered a serious knock, the unfortunate diagnosis was a dislocated leg. With the home side having to juggle the back line around Datchworth took the opportunity to register points on the board, 19-5.

The game then turned into a stop start affair with injuries suffered on both sides. Broken ribs were handed out by the forceful Fraser Tait, often with question marks over appropriate timing. The local maxillofacial doctor was kept busy as a second player, this time belonging to Datchworth, needed stitches. Despite the stop start nature, Hackney continued to open up their lead. Some lovely phase play down the right flank and some fine work from Watmore, Askam and Burrows led to an easy dot down over the line for J Crockett, 26-5. A second from PJ, thanks to the assistance of their number 10, put a cap on a fine half of rugby for the home team. Oranges, water and a lead of 28 points were the half time rewards.

The inspiring words from Marcus at the interval proved to have effect as Hackney flew out of the blocks yet again. It wasn't long before another set piece, which again proved to be an effective weapon in Hackney's arsenal, led to the bulldozing Tait to dot down near the posts. It was no longer a question of if Hackney would win but more a question of by how many! The lesson from the previous week of, playing rugby in the oppositions half, had been learnt and were being put into practice with great effect. The second row combination of Crockett and Legg were imperious as ever, this time demonstrating to the backs that not only can Hack complete 2 on 1's but 3 on 2's weren't beyond us. Burrows was the happy recipient of the hard work and the score moved to 40-5. Play began to expand and there was some audacious kicking on display as Askham put up a well judged up-and-under and Charles King, the impressive stand-off, won the aerial battle with the oppositions 15 and sauntered under the posts. All I can say is Al O'Hara will have his work cut out on his highly anticipated return.

A slight drop in concentration allowed Datchworth to restore a morsel of pride back in the jersey as their winger broke through to run in an 80 yard try. This, however, was quickly cancelled out as some powerful running from Frost and Goulden led to a precise pass from Askham finding the poaching talents of C King waiting on the wing. Moving the score to its final resting place of 58-14.

A job well done for Hackney but at the potential cost of important casualties, some more serious than others. All will be wishing Yinka a speedy recovery and hope to see him strapping on his boots again soon down at Spring Hill. As to the match itself, a game that seemed to last at least 20 minutes too long, most would agree that it was not Hackney at their best but their best was on display for short periods of the game. A good standard to set for next week but certainly room for improvement.