Having endured some organisational mishaps in the run-up owing to the recently departed secretary and logistics consultant of a certain short, ginger, back-rower (not James Elgetti), the Gogs eventually got the slow train to Hertford on a fine November morning to play Cuffley, a side with very similar up and down results throughout the season.

 

Arriving at the picturesque ground with 7 pitches, the Gogs were pleased to hear that they weren't playing the large gentleman of either Amptill 3s or Hertford 3s, who were doing the sensible thing and kicking off early. When Cuffley turned up following the dispatch of a rumour that the game had been called off, the Gogs warm-up went surprisingly well; these things appear to happen when the vast majority of the side arrives on time.

 

Hackney RFC welcomed back Andy Sprague having temporarily been booted out of California by The Donald. While the people of Hackney are unlikely to thank the thin-skinned Twitter monster (Trump, not Patch) for much in the coming years, the outside centre's impact on the game meant that at least 16 Gogs gave the President-elect a pass for the duration of this game. Having won the toss and made the opposition play into an awkward lowing sun, the Gogs knew that a quick start was required – something that has been somewhat lacking this season. Messrs Sprague and centre partner Colm Brady got that memo and immediately went about dismantling their opposite numbers in attack. As solidly claimed restarts by the excellent Rolfin consistently put the Gogs on the front foot, the author cannot recall either centre being tackled for the first 25 minutes of the game. As fly-half Hanton took (occasionally erratic) ball from Rich Shorey, he made space for both players to glide through with solid support from the likes of Chung, Davis (J) and Reay on the outside. Brady went over twice in quick succession and perhaps should have had a few more assists had he not made one of the all-time great forward passes to a screeching Shorey when clean through (admittedly, the author is not one to throw shade about such things). Chung and Davis were also try-scoring beneficiaries of the centres having something of a field-day and, with consistently solid phase play through tight-head/blindside Dave Lewis, Alex Guassardo, and new-comer James Elgetti, Sprague went over to open his account for the year. While the Gogs let the opposition back into the game slightly in the final 5 minutes of the half, the Gogs went into the break 33-0 up and well in control.

 

Despite a typically upbeat and cheerful half-time chat from the author, the Gogs fell asleep at the beginning of the second half as Cuffley came out and showed that they had a pack and 10 who could certainly play. A few penalties saw Cuffley make their way into the Hackney 22 and, while Patch managed to steal the 3rd of 4 opposition line-outs, a botched clearance by A.N Other back lead to both a knock-on a subsequent pushover try by the hosts. Cue second typically upbeat and cheerful chat. Having given up a sizable lead against Royston earlier in the year, the Gogs had no intention of doing the same this time and immediately marched up the pitch from kick-off, with strong defence from Murphy and Sankhar leading to a third try from Brady. From here, the Gogs refused to allow Cuffley to leave their half, although struggled themselves to finish off a number of opportunities that came their way, with a single try for Guassardo the only additional score.

 

verall, an excellent day for the Gogs from 1 – 17. Special mention to the set-piece that went well all game, losing only 1 of their own scrums and taking 3 against the head while also winning 100% of their own throw, and stealing 4 from the home side. Good debuts for Messrs. Elgetti and Dickinson demonstrated the excellent strength in depth that the club now has coming through.  The Gogs have a target of a minimum of 5 more wins from their remaining league matches and, on this show, that may well be underselling the side.