“Great sporting defeats” returns some 533,000 hits on Google. Delve down this particular internet rabbit hole and you shall be reminded of Brazil’s 7 – 1 defeat to Germany in the 2014 world cup, Phil Mickelson’s collapse at the 2006 US Open and, of course, Matt Strong’s favourite sporting anecdote: Rich Froning falling off the rope at the 2010 Crossfit Games.

Hackney supporters can, perhaps, find solace in such an exercise. The loss suffered by the Griffins to league leaders Harpenden was on not so great a stage. There were no sprawling masses to jeer and spite the defeated home side as they trudged off the field; no armchair pundits to pour scorn upon their failings; no newspaper column to document their shortcomings as men, as athletes, as scholars and, perhaps most obviously, as lovers. 

The crowd comprised merely of a few lost tourists and this writer’s parents who, having listened diligently from afar to their son proudly boast of his team’s season-long undefeated streak (“stay humble” the old man would sagely counsel in response), made the journey to most inconveniently located rugby pitch in London. And, on this wet Saturday afternoon, watched their son’s team get so comprehensively spanked that the best my mother could say was “at least you tried”.

Match reports in circumstances like these require the sort of strained wit usually saved for a 90s movies podcast and so this shall be short: Harpenden are really good at rugby. They are, at the very least, significantly better than Hackney. 

Honourable mentions should be made to Ben Suddell – Hackney’s MOTM (and yellow-card receiver) – and Tommy Gardiner – Hackney’s only tackler. 

Hackney were given a rugbying schooling. They would do well to heed the lessons.


Harpenden play well.

Hackney rugby not so much.

Visitors score lots.