Hackney traveled to Enfield, the home of the worlds first ATM cash machine, to face off against their Herts and Middlesex Merit 6 rivals refreshed after a Saturday off the previous weekend. In blustery conditions the fifteen Gogs (no more, no less) were in for a stern test against a physical Enfield side who, from the get go, looked up for a game.

The opening phases of the match were all Hackney, with debutant Chris Lunkins using his radar guided boot to punish Enfield for infringing at the breakdown. Pined in their own half with a succession of five meter line outs Enfield defended well and Hackney, suffering from rare performance issues at the line out, were unable to capitalise on this early possession. After a tense opening ten minutes Enfield cleared their lines and the game began to open up.

The breakdown was an incredibly physical affair, with both backs rows launching themselves into it with gusto. Another Hackney first timer, Gethin Rees, put in an excellent shift at open side flanker and was a constant source of frustration for the home team. Around the fringes Hackney defended well but initially struggled to get their own ball wide. Playing into the wind didn't help and when Enfield kicked long the pill was allowed to bounce, a fatal event that allowed the hosts to get the first score. Given the conditions Hackney were not overly distressed by this, knowing that come the second half they would have the wind on their side.

However it was in the closing stages of the first forty that Hackney struck back. Slowly winning the breakdown battle Hackney were able to give the backs some good ball, Nick Ford and Chris Lunkins linking up well, with the latter making some excellent half breaks to put the Gogs on the front foot. It was the man outside him, Henry Claridge, who got Hackney first try. Running a beautiful line, he ghosted between the two Enfield centres and dotted down under the posts. Dec Ryan converted and Hackney went into the huddle 7-5 to the good.

With the wind at their backs and the line out functioning better in the second half Hackney once again were able to pin Enfield back in their own twenty two. Strong carries from Claridge and Hyde in the centre and some dynamic work in the loose from the forwards gave Hackney more momentum while Rhys Howell, a back row standing in on the wing, enjoyed a couple of majestic runs. It was not long into the second half that the visitors scored again. Once more in was Claridge, in an almost exact replica of his first half score, who dotted down. 14-5 to Hackney.

However the fight was by no means out of Enfield. Had it not been for some brilliant first up tackling from the Gogs and Enfield might well have come back into the game. As it was Hackney managed to keep the visitors largely contained in their own half and after a turn over in the middle of the park Hackney went wide, storming down the left wing. With the try line in sight the ball was in the hands of the Gogs' inside centre once again. Masterfully using the three men outside him as a decoy he stepped inside and scored his third of the game. Some of us wondered if he was a clone of Dan Worth. The conversion drifted wide (bloody wind) but Hackney were looking comfortable with a fourteen point lead.

In the closing stages of the game Enfield enjoyed their most concentrated possession of the match and after multiple phases on the Hackney line scored a well deserved try. However the Gogs saw the remaining time out and secured a win that sees them maintaining their title challenge and go into the Christmas break with an All Black-esque 75% win percentage.

Man of the Match: Although not mentioned above, Anthony Gilligan was the well deserved winner this week. Throwing well at the line out in terrible conditions, getting through a tonne of work in the loose and being part of an all celtic Hackney front row that was solid as a rock his only crime was leaving early post-match, resulting in Henry Claridge having to down the celebratory pint on his behalf. A mention too much go to Chris Lunkins and Gethin Rees who made their debuts for the club this weekend and Ted Bolt, who showed that despite his tender years he can mix it with the seniors.