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Bowers in buoyant mood as Hackney wrap up the double over rivals Old Streetonians

PUBLISHED: 13:23 23 December 2014 | UPDATED: 13:23 23 December 2014

Hackney captain Will Bowers tries to break free. Pic: Paolo Minoli

Hackney captain Will Bowers tries to break free. Pic: Paolo Minoli

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Will Bowers will look back on his first six months as Hackney captain with immense pride as his side sit fifth in London North-West Division Three at Christmas after doing the double over local rivals Old Streetonians.

Hackney's Matt Strong heads for the line to score the opening try against Old Streetonians. Pic: Paolo MinoliHackney's Matt Strong heads for the line to score the opening try against Old Streetonians. Pic: Paolo Minoli

Hackney ensured those who had chosen to avoid the Christmas shopping scrum were treated to a feast of rugby in Saturday’s derby clash.

Having beaten Old Street away from home earlier in the season, the Griffins repeated the feat at Hackney Marshes, with tries from Conor O’Sullivan, PJ Lloyd, Guy Watmore, Matt Strong and Andy Sprague – who also kicked two conversions – wrapping up a 29-15 win.

Oliver Adams impressed on his debut while second-row forward Alex Readford put in another man of the match performance.

“Alex has just got stronger with every game,” Bowers told the Gazette. “He’s a very dominant ball carrier, and aggressive in the manner that only Australians can be. He’s settled in very well.

Guy Watmore finds a gap in the Old Street defence on his way to the try-line. Pic: Paolo MinoliGuy Watmore finds a gap in the Old Street defence on his way to the try-line. Pic: Paolo Minoli

“It’s a local rivalry and having played rugby in the borough for five years, we’ve always been the noisy neighbours until now. It’s nice to finally be in the same league, and to have beaten them home and away.”

Hackney were ahead from one of the opening phases as an offload by Alex Bodin released Ben Chamberlain, who fed Strong for his fifth try of the season.

The Griffins were unable to add the extras but doubled their lead from a driving maul before 10 minutes had elapsed, as Street were unable to prevent the home side’s formidable pack from crashing over the line.

Hackney added a third try before the Streetonians were temporarily reduced to 14 men due to persistent infringements on their own five-metre line.

Hackney's Ben Chamberlain claims the ball at the line-out. Pic: Paolo MinoliHackney's Ben Chamberlain claims the ball at the line-out. Pic: Paolo Minoli

But, rather than push home the advantage after the interval, the hosts were forced to defend for large periods and their galvanised opponents managed two tries of their own.

Nonetheless, Hackney secured the winning bonus point with three further tries and, by keeping Old Street’s tally down to three, the visitors left empty-handed.

Bowers is optimistic of replicating his side’s seven victories this term at the very least when Hackney’s league campaign resumes away at Datchworth on January 10.

“We’re new to the league and despite losing half a dozen key players, we’ve taken 10 points from our last two games,” he said.

“We have the majority of teams above us to play at home and the sides struggling to stave off relegation to come on our travels, so we’ve got a good chance of staying where we are or finishing even higher.”


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