A motley squad of Gogs ventured to Illford on a windy Saturday in late November. Illford Wanderer's ground, firm under foot, promised a great running game. Certainly this was what the Mighty Gogs were there to play.
An unfamiliar looking Gog Squad opened the game with the tempo and enthusiasm that has become a standard feature of their game.

The opening 5 minutes of this clash saw two teams that seemed evenly matched. The tempo that Hackney brought to the game early on faltered and the powerful Illford forwards gained meter by meter at the fringes of the rucks. The Hackney defence couldn't hold and the Illford pack wrestled their way over the line. This was to become a feature of the game.

Strings of penalties conceded by Hackney frustrated the side, and another try was conceded. With the ball in hand Hackney ran with ernest and intent, perhaps forcing the play, but with possession came confidence and a mobile pack contesting every breakdown. The quick ball opened up the backs to play some running rugby that saw Declan cross the line. A Ferocious wind meant place kicking was not an option. Powerful Illford runners gave Hackney a lesson in ball carrying, twice replying quickly. A 40 mins marred with a sum of small mistakes drew to an end and the break couldn't come soon enough.

The Second 40 mins Hackney remained composed and the intensity and pace of the Gogs kept the opposition out for countless phases. The Hackney set pieces were solid. The immense front row battled hard against experienced scrummagers and didn't give away an inch. With the Ball in hand the Hackney backs experimenting in unfamiliar positions looked dangerous and it felt that there was a turning point coming in the game. Dave Huxley eventually crossed the line after dozens of splintered phases of Hackney go forward. Simple rugby was all they needed. Again the penalty count hurt us as the strong illford runners replyed further and with some lucky bounces added to their score.

Hackney were not done yet, once again with the ball in hand, simple rugby that the Gogs played worked them up the pitch. After intense clashes a powerful Matthieu crossed the line again. Once again Illford quickly replied. The fitness of the visitors (as with so many of the games this season so far) shone though and the Gogs fought hand - looking dangerous until the very end.
Indeed a frustrating day for all those bold Hackney men involved.

MOTM: Ollie Relph. Powerful tackling and enthusiastic going forward.