Hackney complete Saracens double with convincing win
Herts/Middlesex One: Hackney 52 Saracens Amateurs 0
Hackney started the new year in a similar fashion to how they ended the last with an impressive win against a side struggling at the opposite end of the league table.
The Griffins returned to Springhill following the winter break to face a much-improved Saracens side, who were largely unrecognisable from the team that had been drubbed 64-0 earlier in the season.
And the hosts wasted no time getting out of the blocks, striking deep into the Saracens defence from the kick-off.
Early indiscipline from the visitors provided Hackney with more than enough opportunities to push for the line and it was wing Charlie Williams who opened the scoring for the hosts with the first try of the afternoon.
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Moments later, and Williams had doubled his tally for the afternoon.
After excellent work from Charlie Davis and Jack Silverthorn, Williams popped up on his opposite wing to wrongfoot the Saracens defence and score another try.
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With less than 20 minutes on the clock, Hackney had scored their third, this time through Silverthorn.
The full-back collected the ball in his own 22, before beating several Saracens defenders and running 80 metres to score under the posts.
Hackney then started playing in a sevens style, with expansive rugby being complemented by offloads and numerous turnovers.
However, this tactic seemed to favour the Saracens backline, who boasted an excellent kicking fly-half.
Despite intense pressure from the visitors, the Griffin’s scramble defence held strong heading into the break.
Hackney’s director of rugby Ben Scanlan delivered a rousing team-talk at the break and ordered his men to stop playing like sevens players and concentrate on winning the game.
And the change of tactics paid off almost immediately in the second half.
Captain Alex O’Hara and Davis combined well to put the ball within the Saracens half, and Ant Duttine’s directness repeatedly put the Hackney forwards beyond the gain line.
Having made so many hard yards, it was apt that Duttine then confirmed the bonus point for the Griffins, spotting a gap and showing a good turn of pace to beat the covering full-back.
Johnny Crockett was the next name on the scoresheet shortly after when he rounded off an excellent individual performance with a strong drive across the line and the pack continued to reap success as flanker Ben Chamberlain added to his tally for the season, following good work from Silverthron, Duttine and James Davis.
Skipper O’Hara then grabbed an opportunistic try after good work from Chamberlain, before the flanker added another score when he showed good pace to beat the Saracens full-back.
The youthful Saracens side refused to give up, but Hackney’s defence remained tight, confirming the impressive bonus-point win along with a clean sheet.
Next week mid-table Verulamians travel to Springhill looking to repeat their victory from last season, while Hackney know they must continue to match pacesetters Wasps who also recorded a good first victory of 2012, if they are to remain in the hunt for promotion from Herts/Middlesex One.
Hackney: Silverthorn, Williams, Rowbottom, Dawson, J Davis, O’Hara (c), C Davis; Pilkington, Bailey, Bobin, Hart, Crockett, Mills, Chamberlain, Uzo. Subs: Prowse, Tully, Hardwick.