Hackney continue superb form with home win

Griffins soar to the top of the league with Old Ashmoleans victory

Hackney RFC maintained their great start to their Herts/Middlesex One campaign by beating recently relegated Old Ashmoleans in their first home game of the season.

Having secured a bonus-point win away to Hendon in their opening fixture, pressure was on the Griffins to build on their good start.

The game kicked off to the sound of thunder above and heavy rain made the conditions very greasy.

With Hackney choosing to play into the wind first, the opening 40 minutes were going to be tough and so it proved with both sides taking their time to get to grips with the conditions.

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However, it was the visitors that secured the first points of the afternoon as Hackney were made to pay for infringements at the breakdown, as Old Ashmoleans camped themselves in the hosts’ half.

With conditions getting worse, the visitors scored their first try after sucking in the Hackney defence and then spreading the play wide.

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However, the home side responded immediately from an attacking scrum when a well-worked blindside move saw Neil Cunningham cross over for a converted try, bringing the scores to 7-7 at the break.

The message at half time for Hackney was to use the wind and build pressure by cutting down their penalty count and not giving away easy yards.

And the hosts showed that the message was well received immediately into the second half, by kicking for territory and camping in the Old Ashmoleans’ 22.

And it wasn’t long before Ben Chamberlain forced a five-metre scrum.

From the scrum, Chamberlain continued to apply pressure to the Old Ashmoleans’ fly half, who spilled the ball while trying to clear his lines, allowing the Hackney player to score his first try of the season, giving the hosts the lead.

Hackney pressed on and should have added a couple more tries, however a combination of slippery conditions and poorly executed handling left Old Ashmoleans within a score.

Changes were made up front and Hackney’s pack started to once again show their dominance and were rewarded with a try to warm any forward’s heart.

Pressure from the hosts resulted in a Hackney lineout 10 metres from the tryline, which was caught and duly driven over, with Andy Pilkington emerging to claim the try.

With little time remaining, Josh Binns became the second member of the back row to make and score his own try in the game.

With Hackney’s pack now dominant, the ball came firing out of the back of the Old Ashmoleans’ scrum, and Binns needed no invitation to collect the ball and crash over for a final score of 24-7, sending Hackney to the top of the league.

This weekend, Hackney travel to winless Saracens Amateurs looking to maintain their unbeaten league start.

Saturday’s opponents currently occupy 10th place in the league.

Hackney: Pilkington, Beno, Bobin, Hart, McMahon, Mills, Chamberlain, Tully, Cunningham, O’Hara, Williams C, Aylward, Rowbottom, Williams H, Dawson. Subs: Prowse, Binns, Delgado.

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