Under-strength Hackney brought down to Earth by heavy-hitting Hitchin
Pre-season friendly: Hitchin RFC 54 Hackney RFC 0
An under-strength Hackney suffered a heavy defeat in their second pre-season game away at London Three side Hitchin on Saturday afternoon.
The Griffins were forced to welcome several new players into the side following the unavailability of some first-team regulars, and as the side took some time to gel, it was no surprise when Hitchin started the stronger, immediately putting pressure on the Hackney defence.
A well-drilled outfit with plenty of strong runners across the park, the home side began to test both the Griffins’ organisational and tackling abilities.
And after holding out for a bruising 10 minutes, Hitchin finally powered through with a well-worked move, utilising the width of their home pitch to go over in the corner.
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Hackney immediately looked to up their game and began with a vigorous attack from the restart, but quickly learned that their hosts were equally strong in defence as they were in attack.
Hitchin managed to keep the visitors at bay, although following a quick drinks break after 20 minutes, the Griffins did begin to win penalties from the breakdown, managing to secure possession and territory from the subsequent kicks.
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However, Hackney failed to make the most of their field position and convert pressure into points, and Hitchin duly took the opportunity to double their lead, scoring out wide just before the half-time break.
The second half continued in the same pattern as the first, with Hackney working hard to keep possession in attack, while Hitchin remained firm in defence.
Having been threatening the tryline all afternoon, the Griffins were disappointed to lose Olayinka Kazeem to an ankle injury in the second half.
With little substitution options available, Paddy Walsh left his usual duties on the back row to take up position on the wing.
Also playing out of position was Charlie Davis who appeared at various points in the backline, proving to be an omnipotent defensive force that frustrated the home attack.
Yet ultimately, Hitchin’s offensive structure and ability to exploit gaps out wide kept the scoreboard steadily ticking over in their favour.
Hackney begin their Herts/Middlesex One league campaign this Saturday when they welcome Bank of England to Spring Hill.