One more win?

PROMOTION is now within touching distance for Datchworth. A 25-14 home win over closest rivals Hammersmith and Fulham saw Datchworth open up a four-point gap with three matches remaining. If Datchworth win at Old Verulamians this Saturday – and Hitchin ca

PROMOTION is now within touching distance for Datchworth.

A 25-14 home win over closest rivals Hammersmith and Fulham saw Datchworth open up a four-point gap with three matches remaining.

If Datchworth win at Old Verulamians this Saturday - and Hitchin can take points off Hammersmith - then promotion from the London Four North West will be assured.

If successful, it will be their third promotion in four seasons.

Datchworth head coach Mark Pittaccio said: "We were very fortunate to win a close encounter with Hammersmith earlier in the season and knew that we would have to put in a solid performance.

"Despite the absence of some key players, we prepared well and now have the depth to cope with these situations."

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Hammersmith's early arrival at The Green indicated the importance of the fixture.

From the moment Richie Howells stroked over a penalty midway through the first half, the home side never looked like losing.

Only dogged defence from Hammersmith and a few dropped passes had prevented an earlier score as Datchworth dominated both possession and territory.

Captain Rob Botterman scored their first try. Tom Ruffle plucked the lineout ball from the air and Botterman joined the back of the unstoppable 10m drive.

The pack was well orchestrated by scrum-half Danny Horne who, considering his recent return from a lengthy injury, enjoyed an excellent performance.

Datchworth's effective press defence denied the visitors the time and space to create any threat with the ever-present open side Jamie Sinclair rattling up an impressive tackle count.

Teenager Andy Tarsey's trademark scything run, at fly-half, opened the defence for the second try which Howells converted.

A lead of 17 points at the break looked comfortable but Hammersmith took advantage of the slope and persistent pressure reaped the reward of a converted score.

Howells responded with a penalty soon after and the win was sealed by prop Allan Leggetter.

From a fourth phase breakdown 10m out, Leggetter took the ball at pace from Horne and there was no stopping the industrious loose head.

Despite more pressure on the visitors' line, the only remaining score came from a bizarre and almost comical series of errors which saw the Hammersmith wing gifted the ball totally against the run of play.

Pittaccio added: "These are valuable points secured by a team nearly all of whom also played their youth rugby here.

"We are proud of these players and everyone who has worked so hard to make another promotion a real prospect.