Hackney end strong season with Middlesex Vase triumph
Middlesex Vase final: Kilburn Cosmos 7 Hackney 28
Hackney rounded off an impressive season by clinching the Middlesex Vase in a rain-drenched and muddy encounter at Kilburn Cosmos on Saturday afternoon.
Facing downhill and with the driving rain and wind to their backs, the hosts started well against the Griffins.
And with five minutes on the clock, Kilburn took a deserved lead, when their flanker handed off Johnny Crockett before gliding past Hackney skipper Alex O’Hara to score between the posts for a try which was subsequently converted.
In the difficult conditions, a half-hour dogfight ensued with both sides unable to break through each other’s defence, with the wet and slippery ball proving hard to handle for both teams.
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However, strong tackling from Richard Yong, John Tully and Ben Chamberlain prevented the home side from extending their lead going into half time.
The Griffins came out fired up for the second half, and Hackney’s perseverance soon paid off as they scored their first try of the afternoon when Glenn Prouse found Will Bowers, who finished strongly.
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Moments later, O’Hara’s clever chip over the on-rushing Kilburn defence found wing Charlie Williams, who managed to offload to man-of-the-match Bowers to cross for his second try, giving Hackney the lead for the first time in the game at 10-7.
By this point both sides were finding the going tough as the worsening conditions started to take their toll.
The Griffins had already lost Laurence Mills to a facial injury, but the visitors refused to be brought to their knees, with the heroic Newton Mills and Ollie Hart showing the desire to lift the team.
And Hackney scored their third try of the game through Charlie Davis, whose dummy and dart confused the Kilburn defence, allowing the fly-half a clear run to finish under the posts.
The visitors were not finished there though, as No. 8 Uzo Uyanwune picked up from the base of a Hackney scrum, handing off his opposite number before finding Davis, who scored his second try of the game, gifting the Griffins a 23-7 lead and stepping ever closer to clinching the Vase.
Hackney were flying now, and when O’Hara kicked again and the ball skidded along the touch line another score seemed inevitable, if improbable.
James Rowbottom somehow found the speed to beat the defender and catch up with the ball just before it bounced out of play moments before the final whistle.
Hackney squad: Mills, Bowers, Pilkington, Hart, Crockett, Prouse, Chamberlain, Tully, Fanning, O’Hara, Williams, Mills, Yong, J Davis, Rowbottom, Jones, Bailey, Walsh, Uyanwune, C Davis, Dawson.
? Last Sunday, the Gladies held their second Ladies Development Day, aiming to encourage and recruit more players to the game.
Despite the adverse weather conditions, there was a great turnout of players from Hackney and other clubs.
If you are interested in finding out more about ladies rugby then contact Genevieve at firstname.lastname@example.org.