Match report from the Springhill Park Stadium, Hackney 3XV v Hammersmith and Fulham 4XV.

Attendance 2154 (+/- 2150)

Reporting by Matt Fielden.

Seeking a win after a run of defeats the Hackney Gogs made a strong start to the game with possession being maintained for much of the opening 15 minutes and impressive interplay between the forwards and backs being led by Rich ‘I’m always at drinks events’ Shorey. Hackney looked more comfortable in the open than their opposition with nice work from the Gogs' centres and wings almost resulting in an early lead. Positive play from the Gogs was cut short by a downed ball which was quickly recovered by Hammersmith who went the 70 yards to score under the posts which was duly converted.

With their noses ahead Hammersmith played to their strengths and kept Hackney pinned back in their own half through judicious use of the boot for the next 20 minutes. Your correspondent would hate to be accused of bias and say their kicker wasn’t especially strong and it was all the wind, so I won’t say it (though please do read very much into the heavy suggestion it was all the bloody wind). Hammersmith picked up another try after continued pressure and again converted it.

Hackney had somewhat slipped off and the last few minutes of the half probably had some good moments from Hammersmith in it but your correspondent was too busy eating pizza that Alex Higgs had brought to the touchline (I don’t decide MoTM, but if I did pitchside pizza delivery has to be up there). Upon finishing the pizza we discovered Hammersmith had opted to kick at goal and a further three points were added.

Half time substitutions saw Ben Goacher move to 10, Jed Hunter joined the front row and Tom ‘I swear it’s pronounced Davis’ Davies slotting into 13. The Gogs had clearly been given some fire in their belly (or their hangovers were finally breaking) and momentum swung firmly behind them in the second half. Strong carries from the Hackney pack saw the Gogs maintain relentless pressure on Hammersmith which was soon rewarded with a try scored by the captain after powering through the defensive line in a display some have called ‘Lomu-esque’ (others used the word lolloping but your correspondent doesn’t own a dictionary so we’ll go with my phrasing). It is here unfortunately that your correspondent must veer into the unseemly business of calling for the manager’s head.

Those halftime substitutions which looked so good in this blithering idiot’s mind had ended up removing the only place kicker from the field. The incompetent manager did not realise that Ben Goacher stood in the proud tradition of French outside halfs, which is to say wonderful in open rugby, less so from a tee. In fact upon being offered a tee Ben was so confused he promptly lost all rugby ability momentarily and scuffed his drop kick low and wide. The score stood at 17-5. For reasons which shall become apparent this would be significant.

The amount of pressure exerted by Hackney was only matched by the number of penalties given away by Hackney. This prevented them from converting pressure into points and continues to be an issue for the Gogs, but the penalty count should be lower next week as Dave Lewis won’t be around to mouth off at the ref. An ugly moment occurred when one of the Hammersmith pack made a very late tackle on Pat Beal. A knock to the head had rendered Pat groggy and he had to depart the field but only after storming up to the player in question and threatening to punch his lights out – sadly Pat was screaming at a corner-flag but the point was well made all the same!

Upon losing his fullback the beleaguered manager finally decided to bring a kicker back to the field and Chris Reay returned to the game in the back three. Hackney had clearly gotten the measure of the Hammersmith lineout and used this to pick up good territory. Now firmly camped in the opposition half, Hackney looked in control of the game but time and again Hammersmith’s defence would force an error from Hackney who seemingly could not capitalise on their possession. The clock was ticking down but through the powerful running of Laurence Mills and Arran Ferguson Hackney again found themselves within 5 metres of the opposition tryline. A heroic effort from Hackney (still a neutral report this) was rewarded with a try scored by Gogs' debutant Will Kay. After Chris Reay slotted the conversion (and threw some serious side-eye to the manager) the score stood at 17-12 with 5 minutes to play. Nail biting stuff indeed.

Hackney took the ball back inside the Hammersmith half and looked ready to break down the door but further choice words from Mr Lewis saw a penalty awarded to Hammersmith. Surely that ended Hackney’s chances? But no! Without the benefit of a gale force tailwind the Hammersmith kicker failed to reach touch and Hackney went wide in a last ditch effort to seize the day. Sadly, it was not to be and the ball was lost forward in a frenzied outside break and the score remained at 17-12.

Upon the final whistle your correspondent witnessed uncomfortable scenes whereby Chris Reay was seen to run towards the manager with an abacus and show the fool that if Hackney had made the first conversion and kicked any one of the penalties awarded in the final 5 minutes within the Hammersmith half then they could have tied the game at 17 all. Pathetically the manager was reduced to tears and failed to comprehend CR7’s argument, who promptly stormed off screaming something about ‘the value of a good kicker’. We reached out to the manager for comment but the only response we got was “eff off I’m busy thinking of an amusing way to write a match report”. Your correspondent remains unimpressed, #FieldenOut.