|Date||14 October 2017|
|Opposition||Hammersmith & Fulham 5 Cup|
|Venue||Bank of England Sports Centre|
|Result||L 35 - 40|
|Time played||Normal time|
Picquets 35-40 Hammersmith & Fulham
Bank started the game brightly, Ash Ebanks (as he did all day) putting their receiver under pressure from the kickoff and then some big hits in their half forcing them to kick loosely to Bank’s back 3. Debutant Ross McClymount surged onto the ball and found a gap in their defence to go in under the posts, duly converted and Bank were 7-0 up with barely 2 minutes played. This H&F squad are no pushovers though and we know the way they play, big carriers round the fringes and then spreading the ball wide to pacey backs. They hit back almost immediately, finding a couple of holes around the fringes of rucks and a good offload to score. Try was converted 7-7. H&F then took the lead from a stroke of luck, with Mitch making a half break through the midfield and the offload not quite going to hand, H&F pounced on the turnover and with Bank’s defence pulled out of position were able to find their way over on the right following some good continuity between their backs.
With their tails up this H&F team are properly dangerous and they came pouring forward, carrying hard. However some excellent defensive work from the Bank, with untold big hits from Bedford, Ash, Ross, Julian, Jim, Jack and others halting them on the gain line and after 10 minutes camped in the Bank 22 a penalty from excellent work on the floor allowed Bank to clear. The psychological impact was clear and H&F immediately infringed again allowing Bank to kick for the corner where a traditional Bank catch and drive saw Bedford go over in the right hand corner. The conversion from the touchline put Bank 14-12 ahead. The pattern for the rest of the half was much the same, with Bank’s defence excellent against an H&F team who enjoyed much of the possession. It was that excellent defence that created Bank’s third try, having forced a knock on to turn the ball over in midfield, a series of scrappy but very physical phases in the H&F defence on half way. Bedford’s call was loud and clear on the left as he looked up and saw himself one on one with their smallest player. The pass from the Bank 10 was at the edge of his passing range but with a kind bounce and excellent hands Bedford was off, surging through his opponent and into the opposition 22. A good chase from H&F saw him dragged down just short but the tackler had gone high in his desperation and a penalty try was awarded for what would otherwise have been a certain score. 21-12 to bank at half time.
Half time led to some enforced changes in midfield as the physicality of the game took its toll, with Rob White having tweaked his dodgy knee and Mitch also having taken a knock and in the first 20 minutes post half time some of the defensive organisation that had stood by Bank so well for the first half began to fall away. H&F are not a team to pass up chances and they ran in a series of four very similar tries in quick succession as Bank’s defence offered up some gaps. With 15 minutes to go the score was 21-40. With the Bank 10 having to leave the field with a cramping calf and big hitting Jack coming off with a shoulder injury this could have been the point where Bank heads dropped but with some fresh legs from the subs bench and renewed aggression, instead Bank began to go through the phases. The introduction of Big Ali Parkes steadied the scrum and provided some go forward in the loose, along with new player Rob in the back row, while Ross continued his excellent debut, carrying hard into the heart of the H&F defence. After a series of phases camped in the H&F 22, scrum half Shane Devlin skipped around his man to score under the posts. Converted by Tom Calnan, the gap was 2 tries with 10 to go. Bank came again and after sustained pressure Ali carried three men over with him under the posts. Converted again by Tom and the score was 35-40 with 5 minutes to go. Unfortunately, that was to be how the game finished as some good field position management from H&F left Bank having to play out of their own half and despite some excellent hands the last ditch attempts to go the length faltered at half way.”