|Heartbreak For Hanwell|
World famous Harlequins v Hanwell RFC
After such long periods of 2014 without a game - due to the weather - Hanwell finally got back to league action with a make or break game against the amateur side from the world famous Harlequin club.
Hanwell began the day in fifth place within Middlesex Merit 6, with their opponents just four points and one place above in fourth spot. The simple fact was, if Hanwell could secure the win and avoid letting Harlequins score the bonus point, it would be Hanwell who progressed through to the end of season play-offs.
The game kicked off early (due to the England/Ireland game) in blazing winter sun and on a near perfect playing surface. It was the home side who were immediately on the attack, quickly earning a lineout within the Hanwell twenty-two. With Quins playing off the top of the lineout, they fed the ball wide to their monster inside centre, who crashed through two tackles to score and hand Hanwell the worst possible start.
Despite this being Hanwell's first ever season as a club, they have already started to earn themselves a reputation as a hard side to beat and so it proved from the restart when the visitors forward pack started to take the game to the hosts.
Hooker, John Bodman threw the lineout to skipper Steve Nolan who brought the ball down for a maul to form, which marched up to the home side's try line before Kenny Hassan crashed over to score.
With the conversion missed, Hanwell collected the restart 7-5 behind but were straight back on the front foot with flyhalf Darren Breen cutting open the Quins midfield to get good pressure on the Quins line.
A penalty was quickly taken and with quick hands the ball popped to Kenny Hassan to score his second of the game.
Quins tried to fight back, but with Hanwell easily winning both their own and the home side's lineouts, the visitor's backs were unleashed and a grubber kick was collected by the Quins fullback deep in his 22. Failure to get any distance on his clearance, led to another Hanwell lineout close deep in Harlequins territory.
Once again, the Hanwell forwards collected clean lineout ball and decided to go it alone with an unstoppable maul driving and rolling it's way over the Quins line for Myles Cavendish to score.
The unconverted score meant the sides changed ends with Hanwell 17-10 ahead.
Quins started the second half much the stronger side and they quickly broke through a series of missed tackles for their number 12 to score his second of the game level the scores.
By this point, the Hanwell players were suffering from lack of games and were clearly struggling to keep up with the pace of the Quins midfield. Another two unconverted scores from the home side came in quick succession, stretching their lead to 27-17 before Hanwell got their second wind and began to once again build momentum.
With the pressure back on the Harlequins, their discipline began to once again suffer and they lost a player to the sin bin for persistent infringement. Quick thinking from Hanwell centre Paul Doherty ensured his tap penalty was taken quickly for a try under the posts, which was easily converted.
Going into the last 5 minutes, the scores stood at 27-24 with Hanwell almost out on their feet throwing everything at the home side.
The final score of 32-24 was a fair reflection of the game, with the home side showing humility and great spirit in victory. Everyone associated with Hanwell RFC wish Harlequins Ams the best of luck in the play-offs.
Despite the loss and the failure to qualify for the play-off places, we are extremely proud to have been so competitive within the league in our first ever season as a club. In many games it was only the bounce of the ball that could have made a difference in results.
Hanwell's season is however, far from over. Up next is a Middlesex Vase (knockout cup) game against Chiswick.
February 25th 2014