Camelot visited Hackney on a dank day and the end result also proved to be just as gloomy as the first team went down to the London 3 North West leaders 30-21.
The first team welcomed back their leading play maker, Jamie Hearn, after a four week injury layoff and he soon showed his influence in midfield.
The pack also had a late change when influential No 8, Hadyn Morgan, withdrew in the morning having not recovered sufficiently from a shoulder injury.
Camelot always knew that Hackney were going to be a tough nut to crack as the home side had carried all before them and so it proved.
Hackney started off exerting the early pressure which got them on the scoreboard with an unconverted try in the fifth minute.
After 18 minutes Camelot found good field position close to Hackney’s line and from an attacking scrum, number 9, Tom Aitken darted over for a try to open Camelot’s account. Full back, David St George McKenzie, added the conversion and Camelot were leading.
Hackney scored next in the 27th minute when they pounced on a breakdown by Camelot’s three quarters and out flanked the defence on the right to score a converted try to take the score to 12-7.
With a relatively easy penalty kick missed in the 33rd minute Hackney seemed to let Camelot off the hook. However, as the first half was drawing to a close, Hackney crossed for their third try but again missed the kick to lead 17-7.
This seemed to wake up Camelot who then scored their best try of the game. Receiving the ball from the restart in their 22 they immediately launched an attack with some great inter-passing, with the move being finished off in style by flanker Will Temperley who took the final pass to go over near the posts.
St George McKenzie added the conversion and Camelot were right back in it at 17-14 down as the half-time whistle went.
The second period saw Camelot give away a series of penalties in kickable position. A fairly easy one in the 10th minute was squandered but when Camelot were caught off side at centre Hackney took the points to lead 20-14.
Camelot needed a score to keep in touch and this almost came when David St George McKenzie gathered a clearing kick on his 10 metre line and ran back through a number of tackles and then out paced the winger before being tackled 10 metres from the try line. From the subsequent lineout Camelot could only squander their possession.
Hackney added to Camelot’s woes with another penalty in 27th minute and piled on the agony by scoring a breakaway bonus point converted try to extend their lead with five minutes remaining.
However, with the game lost, Camelot managed to have the last say when winger, Aled Gamble went over for Hemel’s third try which St George McKenzie converted from far out on the right.
Unfortunately the game ended on a rather sour note as Gamble suffered a spiteful late tackle from the Hackney flanker. As the players were separated the Referee stepped in to issue the game’s only yellow card.
Camelot will need to cut out all their unforced errors which have manifested themselves in their last three or four games. When that happens, and various players recover to full fitness, we will see the return to their free flowing displays that were eveident in the early part of the season.
Next Camelot travel a short way up the road to take on near neighbours St Albans. They will be hoping to rediscover their form which they had against them in September.
Tries: Tom Aitken (1), Will Temperley (1) Aled Gamble (1) Conversions: David St George McKenzie (3).
Team 1 Matt Kears, 2 Nino Massa, 3 Jamie McCutchen, 4 Jack Field, 5 Sean Meddeman, 6 Will Temperley, 7 Gareth Carder, 8 Gary Jahn, 9 Tom Aitken, 10 Ben Kavenagh, 11 Sean Johnson, 12 Jamie Hearn, 13 Ryan Doyle, 14 Aled Gamble, 15 David St George McKenzie. Subs 16 Danny Howard, 17 Ross Merrett 18 Joe Cox.