A wet day with cumulus clouds spectating on high at Spring Hill saw Hackney 2’s take on a London Scottish team sitting just above them in the league. A highly organised warm up at 13:45 precisely was complimented by London Scottish’s struggle to field a full front row, meaning the game would start with 15 v 14. However, despite the stars seemingly aligning before kick-off, it was the away team who would start the game strongly, profiting from some miscommunication in defence to open the scoring with an unconverted try. This was the wakeup call that Hackney needed, who defied the conditions with some lovely handling and phase play to retake the lead with two well taken Jim Miller tries from close range.


As play continued, handling was proving difficult due to in the conditions and the sweaty palms of the excited Gargoyles, however the forwards were able to keep fresh due to the uncontested nature of the resulting scrums, and Hackney would again cross, with pacey winger Laurence Jones on the end of another period of sustained Hackney pressure. With defence to the fore, Hackney would again strike before half time, with Alex Mills this time profiting from an outrageous Paddy Reilly-O’Donnell break to put Hackney 22-5 up at half time.

The second half would see Hackney extend their dominance further, an early try to wing-cum-fullback Luke Leyland setting the tone for proceedings, cantering in like a valiant stead, off the back of some hard carrying from the forwards. With the Hackney defence refusing to yield after their early setback, patient build up play would next see fullback-cum-centre Alex Lee get himself on the scoresheet, benefiting from a lovely offload from second row-cum-centre Raf. A defensive mix up gave London Scottish a brief reprieve, with their impressive winger getting to the ball ahead of the scrambling defence to score their second try.

The afternoon threatened to be mired in controversy when resting captain Ricardo saw red from the touchline for a verbal spat with the referee. However, in a dance as old as time itself, this turned out to simply be a classic case of practical joke between resting captain and referee, much to the relief of the on-field contingent. Inspired by Ricky's jovial high spirits, and captain for the day (and secretly in charge for the whole season) Charlie King's presence on the pitch during the closing stages of the match, the day was to belong to Hackney, with a try to the impressive Ruairidh Keeley from the base of the scrum, and a wonderful team try finished by Raf, finally wrapped up with what felt like a 40 phase defensive masterclass to shut out the visitors, with the score finishing at 46-10.

An utterly splendid performance, with plenty to work on at training, is just what the doctor ordered for the Gargoyles, who visit London New Zealand next week in a bid to keep the good times rolling.

 

 Player Ratings

1.Tom Addenbrooke 7/10 – a strong performance for the man celebrating his day of birth – Steve Thompson-esque stick mitts a must in these conditions next time. Contributed to a solid scrum

2. Spencer Elliot 8/10 - very strong carrying and contributed to dominant scrum

3. Dave Lewis 9/10 – 100% of own scrums won, certainly played a key role in the dominance in this area

4. Franck Cohadon 8/10 – again contributed to a strong scrum – tackled hard all game and turned enforcer when an opposition swinging arm went unpunished by the powers that be.

5. Fraser Barr 9/10 – tackled and ran hard all game – what, an, engine. Played his role in what transpired to be a solid scrum

6. Ed Waters 9/10 – one outstanding catch from kick off stands out, as does the draw and pass for a try – a great days work and again, contributed at the scrum.

7. Arran Ferguson 8/10 – tackled all afternoon and again, contributed to a solid scrum.

8. Paddy Reilly-O’Donnell 9/10 – weaving run the highlight of the first half, bamboozling defenders to set up a beauty of a third try. Solid in the set piece too, notably the scrum, where the pack managed to secure 100% of it's own ball.

9. Ruairidh Keeley 8/10 – strong distribution, chipped in with a try off the back of a dominant scrum, but MUST learn how to execute an “Apollo” under pressure.

10. Charlie King 8/10 – an off day from the tee, albeit with difficult underfoot conditions, was balanced by some pinpoint passing in difficult conditions. Led the team consummately and incredibly managed to NOT get carded in the process.

11. Luke Leyland 9/10 – good try, good running, slotted in at fullback, solid as a rock.

12. Jim Miller 9/10 – 1 half, 2 tries. A quite phenomenal strike rate and solid as a rock in defence too.

13. Alex Mills 9/10 - was able to bring width to the attack, in testing handling conditions, with aplomb. Battled through injury but eventually succumbed (succamb feels better but apparently isn't a word). Mark my words, leg will need icing this week.

14. Laurence Jones 8/10 – ran hard and fast and took opportunity to get on the scoreboard when it came. Didn't make it out of the sheds for the second half

15. Alex Lee 8/10 - on the wrong side of an early contentious knock on call but recovered to link play well and chipped in with a SUPERBLY taken try. And I mean SU, PERB.

16. Damien 9/10 –seems to coach from the side lines in French for some reason, scrum seemed to go up a level when he joined the fray.

17. Shaun Rooke 8/10 – Demonstrated an Apollo nicely for the starting 9.

18. Raf 9/10 – impact in spades, set up 2 tries and scored 1, excellent in defence. Punctuality needs addressing but an overall strong outing.

19. Josh Stelle 8/10- dog with a bone

20. Justine 9/10 - talks a great game from the off the pitch super supportive Fellowship is Life  

21. lowri 9.5/10 -bit short for the back row, but a massive presence got the Gargoyles back rain or shine