Hackney RFC start pre-season with hard-fought draw

Hitchin RFC 17-17 Hackney RFC

To kick-off the season with a challenge, Hackney RFC’s first XV travelled to their north London rivals Hitchin RFC.

The game kicked off and within minutes the Hackney forwards showed their dominance in weight and skill by driving HItchin’s scrums and mauls backwards.

The hard driving from the Hackney forwards soon saw its just rewards with Ollie Hart forcing his way over the line to put Hackney on the score board, swiftly followed up by Alex O’Hara’s boot to put Hackney 7-0 up.

However the dominance in Hackney forwards was not matched by the visitors’ backs as unforced errors and bad handling lead to Hitchin pulling back a messy try to level the scores just before half time.

Following on from the Hitchin try, Hackney prop Lloyd William-Jones had to be replaced by Johnny Crocket as a bad back forced him to the bench.

However, this replacement in the scrum did not stop Hackney’s pack from battering the Hitchin scrum, with turnover ball aplenty.

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At half time, Hackney’s backs got a good talking to from captain O’Hara, who called on his team to up their game.

However, this talk did not transcend onto the pitch as within minutes of the kick-off, Hitchin found themselves again over the Hackney tryline as a result of bad handling from the Hackney backline.

The visitors responded to this set back with an excellent display of scummaging from the forwards to produce an overlap on the HItchin wing, for debutant Charlie Williams to level the scores at 12-12.

The Hackney forwards continued to steal the majority of line outs and scrums from Hitchin pack, and runs from Glen Prowse and Ben Chamberlain saw Hackney force the hosts back into their own 22.

However, more bad handling and ill-discipline from Hackney saw a breakaway try from Hitchin to go ahead by five points at 17-12.

With only two minutes remaining, Hackney drove Hitchin back onto their own five-metre line, and with a scrum awarded to the visitors, the hosts opted for uncontested scrums as a tactical move due to the dominance of their opposition’s pack which they could no longer compete with.

However Hackney’s forwards did not give up with huge charges from Andy Pilkington testing the Hitchin defencee, until Will Bowers powered over the line to level the scores on the final whistle for a score of 17-17 at the death.