Local team wear yellow t-shirts for missing schoolgirl Alice Gross
On Saturday 13th September, Hanwell RFC played their final pre-season game against local rivals, Ealing Exiles.
Hanwell chose this game to support the #FindAlice campaign, by wearing yellow t-shirts sporting the hashtag used by the community to raise the profile of the search for missing local schoolgirl Alice Gross.
The Exiles started the game strongly, with a period of pressure for the first 10-15 minutes, that pinned Hanwell deep in their own half. Hanwell defended strongly, turning over Ealing ball and clearing downfield on a couple of occasions. Eventually, Hanwell started to gain some parity in the scrums which gave them a base in which to launch some counterattacking rugby.
The first score of the game came from a Hanwell scrum, deep within the Exiles' 22, which was picked up by scrumhalf Matt Pickersgill, who danced through a gap in the Ealing defensive line and sidestepped the fullback to go in under the posts. 0-7 to the visitors.
Hanwell then collected the restart and immediately put the ball through the hands to release Phillip Nolan to run through a poor tackle and down the wing, eventually coasting over the try line under the posts. The extras were added and the visitors led 0-14.
It was obvious that the two sides were playing completely different styles of rugby, with the home side using their powerful pack to punch holes in the Hanwell defence, whereas the visitors were more keen to run the ball through the backs.
This was once again in evidence when Kenny Hassan picked up a pass in his own half and ran through the Exiles to score in the far right corner. With a difficult conversion missed, the scores were 0-19.
The Exiles powered back with numerous close quarter moves through their forwards to get themselves deep inside the Hanwell 22. A well worked turnover gave the visitors the ball which was cleared by winger Darren Breen - with Hanwell players believing that the ball had been touched in flight, a move that would mean all players were onside, the pursuit was on. The referee however, decided the ball had not been touched and the Exiles opted for a scrum back on the visitors 5 metres.
From the resulting scrum, Ealing powered forwards earning a penalty which was scored by their prop, to close the gap to 5-19.
Hanwell struck back at the beginning of the second half, when captain Steve Nolan again broke through in yet another counterattack move to cross in the corner to make the scores 5-24.
Running rugby was the order of the day for Hanwell, with winger Darren Breen breaking from deep in his own half to run in another try to extend the lead to 5-31.
Exiles started to bring on fresh legs which had an immediate impact with a break into the Hanwell 22. Following a couple of reset scrums, the home side went over to score beneath the posts 12-31.
Hanwell again struck back with a clever penalty kicked across field for fullback Kevin Falvey to collect and simply fall over the line to put the visitors ahead 12-36.
The remaining time was all Exiles. Hanwell defended heroically, but the fresher legs of the Ealing side helped to run in two further unconverted tries. The game ending 22-36 to Hanwell.
Anyone who has seen Alice or has information that may assist the investigation should call the Incident Room on 020 8358 0100 or Ealing Missing Persons Unit on 020 8246 1018 or 101. Alternatively call the charity Missing People on 116000.
Alice's sister, Nina, has set up a Facebook page to appeal for information which can be found here: www.facebook.com/groups/435881003216659/?fref=ts
16th September 2014