Hanwell 26 - 10 Spartans
Report by Wayne Allum
Hanwell ended 2015 with a very impressive win against Spartans at home which sees them 3rd in the table during the Christmas break.
The hosts went into the game on a good run of form, but faced a tough test against Spartans who beat them just a month ago.
Due to a waterlogged pitch at Boston Manor, Hanwell were forced to sacrifice home comforts to play at the neutral pitches at The Green School in Isleworth (many thanks to our friends at Old Isleworthians for helping out at short notice).
Hanwell began the first half had the wind behind them and for the first 5 minutes played with purpose and gained territory. However, it was Spartans who took the lead following some quick play by their rapid backs, they scored a classy breakaway try to lead 5-0.
Hanwell then started to charge forward and up the 22 they got a penalty, a Kevin Falvey took the kick and Score was 3-5. Almost from restart, a similar move from Spartans opened up Hanwell again and their pacy back scored in the corner - Spartans were leading 10-3.
Hanwell regrouped and then begun to up the physicality in the game. Myles Cavendish put in a superb hit to turnover the ball which Dan Horner gratefully scooped up to run within within 10 metres of the line. Russell Whish collected a pin point pass to cross the line to score (8-10).
The hosts then continued to put pressure on the Spartans offence, with some excellent tackling across all areas of the pitch. Another penalty was won and Hanwell opted to take the 3 points with the ever reliable boot of Kevin Falvey obliging. 11-10 to Hanwell.
The hosts started to take a stranglehold on the game with tireless work from the forward pack putting the Hanwell backs on the front foot, leading to Russell Whish to cross over under the posts for another try. With Kevin Falvey once again slotting home the conversion to put Hanwell 18-10 ahead.
The second half began with Hanwell facing an ever strengthening wind. Playing a little more cautiously, the hosts played a tighter game using the pack at every opportunity. A penalty kicked to the corner, led to a secure lineout take from Myles Cavendish and an enormous drive from the pack bringing the hosts up to the visitors 5 metre line before spreading the ball wide for Russell Whish to go over in the corner for his hatrick. Hanwell now led 23-10.
Spartans however, did not go down without a fight. Retrieving the ball from a knocked on restart, the visitors camped themselves in the Hanwell half for a long period. With the home side's defense stretched, inevitably the pressure led to a penalty which Spartans kicked for the corner. From the resulting lineout, Hanwell managed to turn the ball over to kick the ball clear. Spartans however, retrieved the kick to pile yet more pressure on the host's try line.
Eventually, an infringement at the breakdown gave Hanwell a penalty and a break in the wind gave Hanwell the chance to clear their lines.
Working their way slowly back into the visitor's half, another penalty in front of the posts gave Kevin Falvey another opportunity to score. With the precision of a laser beam, the penalty was scored and Hanwell secured an impressive win against one of the strongest teams in the league.
The game was physical and played in a great spirit. Credit has to go to Spartans, who despite the scoreline, pushed and fought right to the death. They really are a great local club.
Final score - Hanwell RFC 26 Spartans RFC 10
On behalf of everyone at Hanwell a Rugby Club, we would like to thank all our supporters and wish you a Merry Christmas and a Prosperous New Year.