Travelling to Osterley to take on an in form, third in the League, Grasshoppers was never going to be a simple task. The home side were on an 8 match winning streak and everyone from Hackney knew it would take a special team performance to beat the Grasshoppers in their own back yard. 

Knowing that a win would effectively seal promotion, some elder statesmen stated that it was perhaps Hackney’s biggest game in their history. ‘Stay humble, play our game and bore them to tears lads’ was the advice.

Kicking up hill into the wind, Hackney produced arguably their finest 40 minute performance of the season. After several phases of play and mounting pressure it was the captain who broke the deadlock cutting inside the scrambling defence to touch down within the first 5 minutes.

Askham missed a simple conversion.

The tone had been set and Hackney continued the onslaught with the forwards dominating the set pieces giving the backs an excellent platform from which to mount attacks. A half break and out the back door pass from Dunlop to Askham had Hackney on the offensive and into the oppositions 22. The front 5 continuously gave go-forward ball from scrums and after several phases of play O’Hara was able to break a few tackles to touch down under the sticks, 12-0 up, 20 minutes gone.

It had been touted as Hackney’s biggest game but for some it was merely about redemption. After another excellent scrum (this is a reoccurring theme) Watmore ran an excellent line to break through the defence and pass to the Dunlopapotamus who crashed over to score Hackney’s third try. It wasn’t long before Grasshoppers’ defence was broken once more by Dunlop who completed his brace and the visitor’s fourth try. 40 minutes played and barely a mistake by Hackney.

The second half started the same as the first with the forwards doing the hard yards, setting up a platform for the backs to attack. A lineout within the opposition’s 22 allowed the forwards to execute a rolling maul only to be held up, much to the disagreement of Bowers.

The Hackney scrum was penalised and this was the catalyst for a Grasshoppers revival. Building the phases they worked their way up the pitch to score a well worked try up the blind side. It wasn’t long before Hackney were behind their own posts again following a forwards rolling maul and then a third try finished off in the corner. Not even several turnovers from the Hackney back row could prevent the Grasshoppers onslaught. With Connor in the bin for a malicious high tackle, Bowers yellow carded for…something, the lead reduced to 7 points and an opposition scrum on the 5 metre line it was the Hackney front three who won a crucial penalty.

They say time goes faster when you’re having fun. Well, the last 5 minutes was anything but fun for any of the Hackney players or supporters, but with a pressing, determined and relentless defence against each wave of attack, Hackney were eventually able to win a penalty on the half way line. O’Hara easily slotted the 50m kick ensuring that Grasshoppers left the field empty handed.

A first half of impeccable attacking play and a second of grit and determination.

The Juggernaut rumbles on.

Stay humble,

Stay fresh, sexy fresh.