In a town which has the general air that nothing significant has happened since Celt King James stopped off for a wee dram of scotch and a snooze on the way to becoming James the first in 1603. The Griffins ensured there were no dramas in an efficient effort to take care of business against Royston, while they don’t sit Kings of Herts./Midds. 1 yet, Hackney are now sniffing like hound dogs around the top of the league.

Seizing the early initiative, the visitors got debutant Michael Legg (one of two debutants with the surname of Legg) involved early on the wing with a scrum move and a cross field kick. While not breaking clean through, Hackney were certainly testing the home sides defence. More encouraging signs were sought at the set piece where the Hackney front row of expert blogger Bailey, expert drinker Jones and an expert on sunscreen Bobin gave away a few kilograms to their opposite numbers but still have the upper hand in the scrum. All this exerted energy resulted in a penalty in front of the posts, Alex O’Hara, perhaps taking inspiration from the local golf course 10th tee next to the pitch, chose to use his driver when a 9 iron might have been appropriate for the chip shot. The result was a heavily shanked effort out of bounds to the left.

While Hackney were on top in many aspects, Royston had some threats of their own. The hosts back row and scrum half had pace to burn and any phases of broken field unstructured play they excelled at forcing the Griffins to scrabble in defence. All this colliding of pace and power gave the spectators the answer to the question of what sound is made when the immovable object meets the unstoppable force when a Royston forward in full flight was brought to a sudden stop by Alex Bobin with a thud. This allowed Will Bowers to turn the ball over and the loose ball in space found its way to Matt Strong who was escorted by James Legg (in case he got lost on the way) and Sam Wilkinson (offering the helpful advice of “Run!”) to sprint in for a try from 40m out. That score was doubled when a penalty gave the Griffins a line out 10m and the power evident in the forwards in carries throughout the first 40 was channelled into a push over maul, a real team effort. 0-12 was how it stayed till the half despite loose kicks finding their way to James “Moves like Jagger” Rowbottom who’s swinging hips often sent the chase the wrong way, this nearly set up George Bevan down the wing but he was forced into to touch by the last man.

The second half became a much more even contest with Hackney’s defence stepping up to deny many yards to the tight carries of the opposition. Chad Burke came closest on one of many massive charges into the Royston midfield but the score remained the same for half an hour. Territory swung much more towards the North Hertfordshire team forcing the Londoners to play from deep and in doing this offered a chance for blitzing defenders to intercept resulting in a lone score for the home side. With the composure and confidence installed from a rich vein of form meant that Hackney were un-phased by this or the ever reduced time left to secure a bonus point 4th try. Capitalising on another great defensive scrum, Matt Strong charged off with a loose ball caused by Chamberlain setting up an overlap in the Royston 22. The backline couldn’t quite get over the line but from this position the scrum were able to push over for the 3rd try, a pure 8 man shove which credit should be handed out equally to the boys in the tight 5 (now supplemented excellently with Andy Pilkington and Will Bowers), making the actual try scorer irrelevant. This left just enough time for Hackney to march back up the pitch to set up a final close range scrum and the important 4th try in the last play. Again another piece of play which all 15 contributed, there is rugby theory which argues each little contribution is as important as the act of grounding the ball over the line. Therefore it is important to focus on this rather than name the scorer or state how many he scored in the game