Hackney captain remains confident despite defeat by Fullerians

Hackney captain Will Bowers. Pic: Paolo Minoli

Hackney captain Will Bowers. Pic: Paolo Minoli - Credit: Archant

Hackney captain Will Bowers is confident his side can do better than consolidate their league status in London North-West Division Three this season – despite Saturday’s 24-6 defeat at Fullerians.

Two penalties from Andy Sprague were never going to be enough against a well-drilled Fullerians side that were playing two divisions above their opponents only five months ago, leaving Hackney with three wins and three defeats from their six league games thus far.

“I targeted four wins and two losses [at this stage], but it could have gone a lot worse,” Bowers told the Gazette. “It was a big thing for us to get promoted and to win games at this level, but I want to do more than just consolidate.

“There are four or five teams far worse than us, which is a good reason for us to push on. We should be looking higher than mid- table.”

Bowers has been encouraged by the manner in which two new signings have adjusted to life at Spring Hill this season – and has called all the senior players to raise their game.

“I’d like some of the older players to buy into the system as much as the new players do,” said the skipper. “There are a few who seem to take for granted that we’re going to stay in this league.

“TJ Lloyd has only been with us for a month. He’s an Irish full-back who is confident on and off the ball. He makes the right decisions – it’s impressive given that he’s only been here for a matter of weeks.

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“Alex Redford has also just moved to us. He’s a second row full of direct running, very supportive on the field and is a good influence to have around. Having these players bedding in and buying into a system is really promising.”

Hackney’s chances of a positive result on Saturday suffered a major blow when two starters pulled out that morning.

Bowers admitted that the enforced changes meant it felt like his side started the game “with their hands tied behind their backs”, but acknowledged it would always be a tough afternoon.

“The difference this year is that we are playing against guys who are two or three stone heavier,” said Bowers, whose side earned promotion last season.

“They are simply bigger in the contact, so you can get put off. We’ve had cases where we’ve applied ourselves well for 20 minutes – as we did on Saturday.”

Hackney went into the break unfortunate to be 7-3 down after missing a penalty on the stroke of half-time.

“I had a real sense at the interval that we were in the ascendancy,” Bowers continued. “But one missed tackle cost us a try soon after the restart and our heads dropped slightly.

“We can weather a storm, but we don’t realise that it’s going to keep coming. We defended very resolutely but we conceded 14 points through minor errors, with major consequences.”

This weekend’s home match against UCS Old Boys pits two sides with identical records against each other at Spring Hill – and Bowers feels it is a watershed game for Hackney.

“They’re in the same position as us,” he said. “They’ll be a good test of how our season is going to fare.”