Wilkinson hat-trick ensures Hackney keep pace in promotion battle

Alex O'Hara

Alex O'Hara - Credit: Archant

Sam Wilkinson grabbed a hat-trick of tries to lead Hackney to a resounding 74-0 win over Verulamians that kept them second in the league ahead of their crucial title decider against Belsize Park this weekend.

Hackney sit seven points behind their rivals, but have a game in hand to play at Cheshunt on April 26. The Griffins know that victory over Belsize Park would edge them closer to the title, after they narrowly missed out last season.

Hackney lost three of their opening four league games at the start of this term – including an opening-day 28-13 defeat at the hands of Belsize Park – but a remarkable unbeaten run has propelled them towards the top of the table and a chance of promotion to London North-West Division Three.

“We’ve worked hard all season for it,” said first-team captain Alex O’Hara. “We’re on a run of 16 games unbeaten on the bounce.

“We had a poor start to the season but now we’ve given ourselves a shot at the title. We’re just happy to be there.”

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Wilkinson eased Hackney to victory against Verulamians to set up the must-win title decider, while a brace apiece for Matt Strong and Richard Yong and a try each from Charles O’Halloran and Alex Bobin sealed the comfortable victory.

Defeat against Belsize – one of the few teams to have beaten them this season – would end their title aspirations, but O’Hara remains hopeful his side can maintain their impressive run of results.

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“We played them in the first game of the season with quite an understrength team, but we’ve got ourselves together and been a very consistent side throughout the year and showed that we’re all playing very well together,” he added.

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