Hackney grind out win over Datchworth to put pressure on Finchley

Hackney RFC's Al O'Hara

Hackney RFC's Al O'Hara - Credit: Archant

Hackney moved to within a point of third-placed Finchley in London North-West Division Three after digging deep to defeat Datchworth 10-3 at Spring Hill.

Despite the low score, it certainly wasn’t a drab affair, with the Griffins’ grit deserving of victory to close the gap on Finchley, who were beaten by leaders London Nigerian.

Sean Conner scored the game’s only try, but it was Datchworth who started the brighter, putting the hosts under territorial pressure.

Hackney’s defence held firm and the tables turned when a cross-field kick was well contested and gathered by PJ Lloyd to spark a good phase of possession in the Datchworth half.

The Griffins, who welcomed back the likes of James Rowbotham and front-rower Sam Alderson, kept their opponents pinned back throughout the remainder of the opening 40 minutes, but too many knock-ons halted any significant progress.

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It required a penalty from Al O’Hara to break the deadlock, but after a great exit play from the subsequent kick-off, the home side finally were rewarded for their dominance.

Mike Ward charged down a box kick from deep inside the Datchworth 22 before miraculously regathering and passing to Conner, who flew over the whitewash.

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O’Hara added the extras to give Will Bowers’ side a 10-0 lead at half-time, but the second period was a far tighter affair.

Were it not for the exceptional defence, led by the ever-present Matt Strong and eventual man of the match Ben Chamberlain, the result may have been very different as the Hertfordshire side gradually began to make inroads under driving rain.

Evidence of the Griffins’ iron will came from hooker Laurence Mills and Sam Wilkinson, as Datchworth had to settle for a single penalty and a losing bonus point.

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