And lo, on that day, Daddy No 1 was away enjoying some of his final Spring days free from the duties of fatherhood. And so it was left for Daddy No 2 to parent alone as the Gogs met at St Pancras for the trip to St Albans. This was dangerous, of course, as it was close enough to Platform Nine-And-Three-Quarters for the Club Captain to want to run off and play with his wand. But good sense prevailed (your reporter took charge) and the Gogs made their way North.


It was, of course, unclear who Skipper-for-the-Day Hanton would shout at now that Skipper-for-the-Season Baker was away. The answer, which came as something of a surprise to all, was no-one. Rather, Hanton chose the ‘I’m not angry I’m just disappointed’ approach as the Gogs let in some easy scores at the start of the game. The first came on the back of a scrum penalty. Rolfin’s unconventional hooking technique at last met its nemesis. This came in the form of a referee who choose to enforce the rule that requires all players to bind - even hookers who can dislocate their shoulders in the scrum. 


Still, Hanton’s boys took their scolding, and as the half wore on the Gogs began to take control of the game, or at least as much control as one can take when three tries down within twenty minutes. New boy Tom Davies brought some Welsh composure (perhaps the only Welsh rugby composure on display in recent weeks) to the midfield and Pampers Thompson was caffeine-free and so a threat to more than the plumbing in St Alban’s. They and other Gogs held the line in the latter part of the first half and a penalty from Hanton left them with a 19 - 3 deficit at the half. 


It was time for a rub of the green. Fresh from his forages in le Franck’s homeland of Champagne, Murphy came on to join Cohadon in the row, with Thompson going to blindside and Elgetti being one of the few Gogs to see his shirt number get higher rather than lower during a game. The introduction of Rafferty brought some old-time Gogs wisdom that, along with the ever-dependable Faulkner-Langlier twins, saw an increase in dynamism as the game wore on. 


And all this led to results. The always energetic Sanj Deb brought his mix of order-barking and terrier-like runs to bear on an opposition that was wearying. This, and some clever distribution from Hanton, led to two tries in short order. For the first, that most tall of Gogs, John Chung, got over in the corner. Some might say that Chung lost control of the ball as he dove over the try line. But some would also have to admit that if he did then he did so because the covering tackler almost took his head off with a loose arm (it’s hard to claim it was a “high” arm). The referee opted for a try rather than a penalty try and Hanton was unlucky to see the conversion fade to the left at the last moment.


New Gog, and alleged foie gras fiend, Michael Abiouden, caught another volley of Hanton’s artillery fire, skinned the winger on the outside, and stepped the full-back to leave the easiest of kicks for the extras. Game On. The Gogs’ scrum began to cause serious problems for Verulamians, thanks in large part to the ancient forces of Sankar and Waithe, who are not for moving. Their efforts would yield position and, at times, possession. The problem, as ever, was one of Gogs’ group-think and, in particular, that the group thinks they are the All Black 7s team when in possession. 


This led to plenty of opportunities for Verulamians counter-attacks. And yet the Gogs can not only rely on the old, but also those who look old, as the heads (and hairlines) of Rich ‘Salt and Pepper’ Shorey and Chris ‘Not-Receding-But-Routed’ Reay did well (most of the time) with opposition breakaway runs throughout the second half. Despite the pressure, and a try at the base of the post for the hosts, the Gogs defence by and large held firm. The Seventeen Horselessmen of the Apocalypse thought they could write the final chapter. 


It was not to be. Any observer would admit that 10 minutes more and the Gogs would’ve, should’ve, got the win. But no. The game was to end with a scrum that got reset more than the Club Captain’s laptop on squad announcement day (he claims it runs XP but that’s only because he doesn’t know the names of any older operating systems). When, at last, the scrum was complete, so too was the game. 


And so the winning streak is over. Hats off to Old Verulamians for sending a jug of suds into the Gogs’ dressing room after the game. The train home saw the Gogs gorge themselves on even grander delectations than usual. It must be Abiouden’s influence. Plus ca change… The season continues.