The eagerly-awaited Hacks vs Flaks annual football and netball clash took place on Saturday between the media and PR industries.
Held at the Bank of England Sports Centre in Roehampton, this year’s matches were in aid of the charity Arts Emergency, which was established in 2011 to work with those most able to benefit from – but least able to access – higher education in subjects like art, literature, history and drama.
Following in the footsteps of the firm’s erstwhile budding netballers, Aspectus PR’s Head of Content lined up for the Flaks football team in what was yet again a fiercely contested encounter.
Captained by Brands2Life’s Sam Kane, the Flaks were quick out of the blocks, going close with a looping Kane header that narrowly cleared the crossbar. However, it was the Hacks, led by the Independent’s Nick ‘Ave It’ Clark that drew first blood, as Financial News’ Nick Kostov (and man-of-the-match) calmly tucked away a penalty. The Hacks doubled their lead shortly after, a dangerous in-swinging corner by the Telegraph’s Dan Hyde eluding everyone in the packed six-yard area and somehow dropping into the net.
Undeterred, the Hacks fought back through EE’s David Quainton, who rifled home via the underside of the bar after the Hacks failed to clear a corner. The Flaks drew level early into the second half, with Kane completing a fine team move with a crisp finish from just inside the box.
With Hacks’ centre forward John Crowley (Wall Street Journal) keeping Flaks’ centre backs Nsikan Edung (Ernst & Young) and Jamie Ricketts (MHP) busy, it could have gone either way. Charlie Geller (Redleaf Polhill and touch rugby pro) failed to capitalise on a mix up in the Hacks’ defence, blazing high and wide from three yards out and the goal at his mercy, while Flaks’ keeper Roger Newby (FTI Consulting) made some smart saves to keep his team in the hunt.
However, it was the Hacks that edged it, with Hyde slotting home the winner ten minutes from time before Mark Kleinman (Sky News) hit the post late on with only the keeper to beat. Unfortunately, the Flaks Netball As also tasted defeat, going down 10-48 to the Hacks, although the Flaks Bs did at least notch one victory for the PR pros, beating the Hacks 11-8.
During the post-match refreshments, Clark announced that the event had raised £10,000 for Arts Emergency, whose co-founders Josie Long and Neil Griffiths were on hand to provide more insight into the great work being done to improve social access to the arts. Aspectus PR would like to say a big thank you to the organisers (FTI’s Ed Berry and the Independent’s Nick Clark), as well as supporting sponsors Ernst & Young, Gorkana, IG, EE, Charles Stanley, FTI Consulting and KPMG.
Although there are more than a few PR pros who will be hurting (not least KPMG’s Nahidur Rahman, who missed the buffet to visit A&E for what transpired to be a cracked rib), it’s great to be supporting a worthwhile cause that makes the Arts more inclusive. We are now looking forward to restoring PR pride with a strong performance in the cricket and rounders for the forthcoming Hacks vs Flaks Summer Sports Day in September.