Burrows completes comeback with decisive late score as Hackney leapfrog Datchworth
- Credit: Archant
Hackney RFC came from behind to triumph 19-13 at Datchworth, leapfrogging their opponents and moving into the top five places in London North-West Division Three.
Datchworth had raced into a 13-point lead in the first game back after the Christmas break, but Joe Askham and Matt Strong replied with tries for the Griffins, and Will Burrows completed a remarkable turnaround with a decisive third score in the final minutes.
The task of overcoming Datchworth, who had defeated second-placed Welwyn prior to the three-week hiatus, was not helped by inclement weather conditions, but Hackney were the authors of their own downfall in the opening 15 minutes.
The hosts deservedly took a 7-0 lead through a well-worked converted try involving good offloading among the backs, and were it not for some last-ditch defending, Datchworth would have opened up a far more handsome advantage.
As it was, two long-range penalties extended the hosts’ lead and left Hackney with 13 points to haul back - a deficit which could have been far greater had two further penalties been converted.
The visitors were given a lifeline on the stroke of half-time when Askham pounced on a knock-on from a Datchworth prop and ran 60 yards for a breakaway try that was barely merited on the basis of their overall first-half performance.
That cut the deficit to eight points at the interval, and Hackney began the second half keen to make amends for a sluggish opening period. However, following a spate of bulldozing runs from Strong and Alex Readford, indiscipline threatened to get in the way of any gathering momentum.
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Both sides were guilty of conceding penalties that owed much to the conditions, but Hackney eventually wore down their opponents at the line-out, with the imperious Ben Chamberlain causing much of the damage.
Following another functioning set piece involving the flanker, Strong rode five challenges to score his seventh try of the season - and Askham added the extras to reduce the arrears to a single point and set up a grandstand final 10 minutes.
With Datchworth evidently happy to hold onto their slender advantage, Hackney’s desperate efforts to muster one last winning play appeared forlorn. But, after Charles O’Halloran had created space out wide, winger James Legg unselfishly offloaded to Burrows, who cantered to score in the corner.
Askham kept his nerve to convert his kick from out wide and put Hackney more than five points ahead, and they left the field having overcome a stiff test of character and with a further four points in the bag ahead of this weekend’s home game against Belsize Park.