Hanwell RFC V Whitton
With league opponents pulling out midweek for both Hanwell and Whitton, it made perfect sense for the two sides to play against each other in what was the third game between the sides this season.
Ironically, the cancelled league fixtures mean that Hanwell & Whitton currently share joint 2nd in the league - with both sides equal on 48 points.
With the fixture the last home game of the year for Hanwell, there really was no better opposition than the Lions who are both fiercely competitive on the field and hugely social off it.
The game began with Hanwell receiving the kick off and taking the ball into contact. Truth be told, the conditions were heavy under foot and as such ensured the game would be dominated by both team's forward packs.
The game really wasn't full of highlights, with both defences snuffing out attacking play. Hanwell possibly had the edge in both the scrum and lineout, with Whitton edging the contact area and rucks.
Eventually midway through the first half, Whitton got quick ball out wide to their backs who after a few phases crossed the line to score the first points of the game. The conversion was taken from a particularly difficult angle and although missed, was inches away from going over.
Both sides were missing players, but this simply meant that the game had no substitutes - which given the conditions and fierce defending from both sides, really sapped the energy from everyone.
Following the Lions' try, Hanwell were camped in their half for a long period - but Whitton stood firm and made it to the break 0-5 ahead.
The second half began as the first had ended, with Hanwell camped back in the visitors 22, but unable to make the break through.
Eventually, a change in tactics began to work in favour of the home side. Rather than trying to force the game wide, Hanwell began to use their forwards to 'pick and go' in pairs and this earned them valuable field position.
Just inside Whitton's 22, a ruck was ferociously cleared out allowing Hanwell Captain, Steve Nolan to pick and run to cross the line. The resulting conversion was scored by scrumhalf Kevin Falvey to give Hanwell a 7-5 lead.
The remainder of the game was a close battle within the middle third of the pitch until time ran out and the game came to a close.
The game was a tough, physical affair that was also played in a fantastic spirit - summed up with the two teams serenading each other as they applauded each other off the pitch.
Final score; Hanwell 7 - Whitton Lions 5.
17th December 2014