Home turf for Hanwell RFC
On Saturday 19th October, Hanwell RFC returned home to Boston Manor Playing Fields to take on the Whitton Lions in the league.
Hanwell came into the game off the back of a narrow defeat away to Staines (who went on to see off Harlequins Ams 54-5), whereas Whitton's league position really does not do justice to the brand of rugby they play (they recently beat both Grasshoppers III & Hammersmith & Fulham IV's comfortably).
Hanwell began the game slowly, with stand in fly half John Bodman trying and failing to gently nudge the ball just over the ten with the first kick of the game. Whitton took the scrum back and immediately put 'The Upstarts' under pressure for a prolonged period of time.
Hanwell defended their line heroically, however Whitton were on fire and bulldozed their way over to score first. Their 10 failed narrowly to add the extras.
This time, Hanwell went deep with the restart and began to create pressure of their own, building to a series of lineouts and consequently penalties in the Whitton 22. Eventually the home side broke through for Myles Cavendish to score. Like the Lions, Hanwell failed to convert.
Hanwell gathered the restart and Whitton powered forward in an attempt to win back the ball. A series of pick a go moves from the Hanwell pack slowly won back momentum from the opposition. Hanwell's powerhouse number 8, H.O. Louwrens picked up from inside his own half and ran almost unopposed deep into the Whitton half, offloading in the tackle to set up a Hanwell attack, eventually resulting in captain Steve Nolan running into space created by a neat dummy pass and scoring Hanwell's second try. Once again, the try went unconverted.
At this stage of the game, Hanwell well and truly had the upper hand, with H.O. Louwrens a constant thorn in Whitton's side. However, the Lions kicked a ball wide and deep into Hanwell's 22 and the bounce of the ball beat Hanwell's fullback to be collected by a Whitton player who just had to fall over the line to score.
This time, their fly half was accurate with the conversion to take Whitton into the break with a 2 point lead (10-12).
The second half began with both teams slugging it out like a couple of heavyweight boxers, with both sides hitting hard in an attempt to create the breakthrough.
Centre Kenny Hassan eventually made that breakthrough with a run through the Whitton defence - less like a rapier and more like a blunderbuss, eventually crashing his way under the posts to score.
Due to injury, full back Kevin Falvey (pictured) took the conversion and extended Hanwell's lead to 5 points with the scores 17-12.
Whitton began their fight back right from the restart, by bringing their powerful centres into the game more. However, indiscipline at the breakdown resulted in a Hanwell penalty just on the Whitton 10 metres line. Full back Kevin Falvey surprised everybody by opting to go for goal.
A monster kick from the number 15 was drilled straight through the uprights to extend Hanwell's lead 20-12.
From that moment on, Whitton were on the attack for the remainder of the game. Continued pressure put Hanwell onto the back foot, generally needing to kick to clear their lines. Whitton eventually forced a penalty that was converted to close the scores to 20-15.
Despite the pressure from the Lions' attacking play, Hanwell defended well and with one of the last plays of the game, they forced their way back onto the attack, but the game was to end 20-15 to the home side.
Following the game, both sides relocated to The Plough where both clubs enjoyed each others company and the drink flowed as usual.
23rd October 2013