Scanlan frustrated as Hackney slip to third place with Old Priorians defeat

Herts/Middlesex One: Hackney 3 Old Priorians 31

Hackney’s Director of Rugby Ben Scanlan insisted that the scoreline was not a true reflection of his side’s performance and effort as the Griffins recorded a heavy defeat at home to promotion rivals Old Priorians.

Scanlan’s men went into the game full of hope and expectation, but were met by a resolute and stubborn Priorians defence.

“I think that the scoreline of 31-3 is really unfair to us, as we dominated the game in terms of possession and territory,” said Scanlan.

“Priorians came to us with a gameplan of winning the match without having the ball and being able to remain strong in defence for the majority of the 80 minutes.

“And fairplay to them, that is exactly what they did. We had the majority of the ball, but just couldn’t break them down with our attacks.

“The game was a clash of two different styles as we like to play expansive, running rugby with the ball in hand, and their approach was more effective than ours at the weekend.”

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Scanlan also revealed how Hackney were missing some key players as the game was a rearranged fixture due to the recent wintry weather.

“Originally, last Saturday was down a free weekend, so some players had already made plans that they couldn’t change,” he said.

“One of those players was our inside centre James Dawson, who has been tremendous for us recently.

“He is the only real out-and-out 12 at the club, and he could easily play at a much higher level, so we really missed his direct and powerful running, which would have created gaps in the Priorians defence.”

The defeat leaves the Griffins in third place in the Herts/Middlesex One league table, and Scanlan believes that the seven-point gap between Hackney and second-placed Priorians is probably too much to make up from the last five league fixtures.

“I think that realistically it is asking too much to catch Priorians in second,” he said. “It is out of our hands, as we would have to win every game with a bonus point and hope that other teams do us favours and beat the top two.

“I think our promotion hopes are quite slim, and the rumours are that only one team will get promoted from the league anyway, and that looks like being Wasps Amateurs, who are unbeaten this season.”

Instead, Scanlan revealed that Hackney are now building for the future, starting with a serious promotion campaign next season.

”We want to be where Wasps are this time next season,” he said. “In terms of natural ability, we probably have the strongest team in the league, and with a few additions in the summer, I expect us to earn promotion next year.”