League promotion isn't won in a single game or moment. It's earned every Saturday game, in the pre-season, in the training sessions when it's raining and the final fitness rep that all adds up to a position which is a true reflection of the team as a collective, from weak to strong and permanent fixture to the guy who makes a 10 minute cameo only.

Having said that there is something quite nice about the simplistic winner takes all contest, unaffected by other results at the end of a long season. To the winners, promotion. To the losers, another year in Merit 2. No other factors need to be considered for this game

The first 10 minutes were far from a perfect start from Hackney, however nerves were settled like so many other games this year with an outstanding solo effort from Charlie Williams. Bishop Stortford learned not to switch off after turning the ball over pretty quickly when Neil Cunningham flicked the bobbling ball to the fullback who weaved through the disorganised defence from 60 yards out to open the scoring. The worrying sight of Tom Jepps leaving the field due to injury was offset by the more comforting image of a confident Matt Hanton stroking over two penalties to extent the lead. Fast paced phase play and a far superior lineout gave the Gargoyles territorial advantage for much of the half but Bishop weren't going home without putting up a fight. The visitors continued to use the vast width of the Spring Hill pitch with long passes to their back three and with one of these they eventually found a overlap for a unconverted try. A Contagious bout of offside penalties drove Hackney back into their 22 yard area to finish the half and in the desperate scramble Charlie Blagborough found himself on the wrong side of a ruck inches away from the tryline, the referee had no choice but to use the sin bin but Stortford choose to push the ball up tight to the breakdown against 14 men and as the ball was held up the half time whistle saved Hackney temporarily.

If the 13-5 scoreline at the change of ends spread doubt to which team deserved to be promoted, Hackney's next 20 minutes zapped those doubts into oblivion with 4 try blitz in a period where the away side barely touched the ball. Ollay Kazeem got the show on the road by breaking two tackles and finding James Legg who switched the ball to the ever in support Tom Bentley who strolled over. From the kickoff the fearsome sight of Oli Adams with a 5 yard run up was too much for the Stortford pack, this setup momentum and after carries from Rolfin Nylus, Williams again added the finishing touches. Not to be undone for solo try of the game, soon to crowned player of the year Alex Bewick picked a hole in the tiring Bishop defence and when one on one with the full back did what all forwards would do it that situation, burn him on the outside without being touched. Tireless carries from the No.8 Neil Cunningham continued to set up great field position and with this Matt Hanton produced a sublime off load to give Charlie Williams his Hat Trick.

With a little social function planned for later, the Hackney XV spend most of the remaining game with their bodies on the field but their minds already hoofing Jaeger bombs at the Round Chapel Centre. Bishop Stortford were also a proud outfit who showed why they finished 3rd in the league with 2 well taken consolation scores. Hackney's quota of French replacements Mathieu Arneguy and Damien Bouvier added some impetus however and the season was finished in style as Dan Aylward was rewarded with hard running all day with a try on the last play.

A personal thanks to all that have helped this year, weather you played 20 games or 20 minutes or ran on with some water or helped behind the scenes. You all have made this a very enjoyable season for yours truly. Merit 1 here we come!!!