Too little, too late for Hackney as they are stung by Wasps
Wasps Amateurs 23 Hackney 12
Hackney travelled to top of the league Wasps Amateurs knowing that at win was a must if the Griffins were to stay in the race for promotion.
The visitors started brightly and looked sharp from the first whistle, with centre James Dawson and number eight Ben Chamberlain finding gaps in the Wasps defence, pinning the hosts back inside their own 22.
Hackney continued to pile on the pressure, but despite having the better possession and territory failed to find the crucial breakthrough and convert their good play into points.
However, it was not long before the hosts finally woke up and started attacking the Hackney fringe, which exposed the visitors’ weakness.
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With 20 minutes left of the first half, the Griffins were repeatedly penalised for their rucking and maul play, eventually being pushed back into their 22.
Wasps then showed Hackney how to make pressure count, by flooding the contact area with support runners, and clocking up three tries in little over 10 minutes to give them a healthy lead.
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With the visitors’ heads dropping, Wasps ended the half in the ascendancy, slotting a penalty just before the break for a 20-0 lead.
During the interval, Hackney coach Ben Scanlan gave his side a fierce warning to improve their defensive play or risk losing the game by a landslide, and with those words in mind, the Griffins returned to the pitch with renewed vigour.
Hackney’s defence stayed strong throughout the second half, with Newton Mills, Johnny Crocket and Charlie Davis making huge tackles to stop Wasps in their tracks.
The home side decided to change their approach and began a kicking game, which gave the Griffins’ back three space to counter attack.
From this counter play, Hackney took their first opportunity to get some points on the board, as prop Mills drove over the line from five yards out.
The visitors continued to attack and piled on the pressure with a series of rolling mauls, which then enabled Will Bowers to cross the line for Hackney’s second.
Captain Alex O’Hara stepped up to convert the score, with the Griffins now just eight points behind the hosts.
However, it was to be a case of too little, too late once again for Hackney, as Wasps slotted a penalty late in the game for a final score of 23-12.
The defeat now means that Hackney must win all of their remaining Herts/Middlesex One fixtures if they are to stand any chance of getting promoted, starting this weekend when they travel to Old Millhillians.
Hackney: Rowbottom, Williams, Silverthorn, Dawson, Davis, O’Hara (c), Fanning; Mills, Bowers, Bobin, Crockett, Hart, Binns, Davis, Chamberlain. Subs: Prouse, Uzo, Duttine.