For other teams a late-season cup final against the runaway league winners would be a difficult dénouement. Not for Hackney. No, the mythical creatures from the final book of the good book wrote their own last chapter. And so, dear reader, come close and let me tell you what – despite jet-lag, sunstroke, and fine IPA – I recall of the greatness of the Gogs.


The game took place on the sunniest of Saturdays in the distant land of Watford. Indeed, the only shade was that thrown from the sideline, where senior gentlemen Rafferty, Brook, and Griffin told misty-eyed tales of days past. Daddy Baker pulled out all the stops for this one – even bringing Granddaddy Baker along as tactics consultant. And so it was that a season-best crowd saw hard work pay off as rampant Gogs stormed into the lead.


 The first try came from that most unlikely of sources. It was unlikely, that is, unless you ask the try-scorer. In the midst of an attack, Matt Hanton’s flat no-look inside pass gave Alex Gussardo the chance to break the line, before Hanton spread the ball wide to Patch Thompson. The Amersham defence raced to bundle him into touch but to no avail. Patch dove from 2 inches out and the sheer Momentum of his quiff saw him over for his third try in three cup games.


 Hanton’s passing in this move, dear reader, was Ford-esque. Indeed, the ability to pass is one of several traits the Hackney and England No. 10s share, the others being that neither would’ve got the conversion from Patch’s try, and both will watch the Lions tour on TV.

The second score came hot on the heels of the first. The Hackney scrum, led by Michael Waithe and Dave Lewis, laid the platform for Hanton to send the ball up into the stratosphere and down into hands of the onrushing Colm Brady – perhaps the only man in Kilkenny who likes balls larger than sliothars. Brady did well to shuck off a tackle from the Amersham winger and make quick work of the fifty yards to the tryline. Hanton’s kicking coach, Kath Kallend, saw there were no mistakes with this conversion.

It was all, dear reader, getting a little uncomfortable. As a group we are at ease as undergogs. But at this point in the game only one team were looking like champions and it wasn’t the league winners. Gussardo won a restart and sent it through the hands to Mike Abiodun who, having reclaimed his wing from Patch, ran hard to score. Another conversion and already Alex Higgs was talking of caviar and champagne.

Amersham came back and came back hard. A line-out in the Hackney 22 led to a maul that all the Gogs horses of men couldn’t stop. The opposition were on the scoreboard and – for a span at least – in the ascendency. Hackney had to stand tall. This is difficult for the diminutive Rolfin Nyhus but he somehow made it seem easy. Indeed he even made a tackle. Nima Akbari tore a ball from an opposition carrier with the enthusiasm of Patch ripping the cellophane off the London Review of Books. Franck Cohadon’s charges had revolutionary fervour – unsurprising as it was election weekend and his feelings of fraternité were even stronger than usual.

And thus, despite the Amersham comeback, Hackney got to half-time with a strong lead. But the second half, dear reader, was more terse. Hanton was hobbled by his own hamstring. The loss of our No. 10 and on-field front-row replacement was a blow. There was a strong urge to send a Worthy doppleganger on as replacement. But Dan was too many tinnies in so Old Man Jepps took a step infield. It seems Jepps at long last realised that “You Shall Not Pass” memes have nothing to do with rugby and his distribution sent wave after wave of Gogs at Amersham.

One such man was Ed Langelier – a barnstormer all season. The applicability of that phrase is questionable, as Ed only emerges from his glass-and-steel-law-prison to play rugby. Nevertheless, if he were left into the countryside, and found a barn, he would undoubtedly storm it. That he would do so while looking like he was about to die from simultaneous cardiac arrest and pulmonary embolism is his gift and his curse.

And on the subject of men whose morphic state belies their mobility – how about Adam Faulker? His recent conversion to scrum-half has been successful in part because the pack are smart enough (smart enough, dear reader, not smart) to know that when this Ulsterman says “DRIVE” you ask questions later. On this day he would defy Amersham’s defensive line to make several fine drives of his own – in particular off difficult line-out ball.

The tension built. It boiled over. Rolfin and a fine member of the opposition found themselves in something of a tussle, which the referee resolved in the fairest of fashions by sending both to the bin. Rolfin made peace with “darling” fellow sinner as they strode towards the sideline. For, in truth, the breach in discipline was more indicative of the game’s attritional nature than any ill will.

Subs rolled. After yet another season it is clear that all that will survive a nuclear winter is cockroaches, plastic, and John Chung. Chung came off under suspicion of broken hand, did his Wolverine thing, and went on for more. Patch Thompson did likewise – after a collision with two Amersham man-mountains all it took was a quick nappy change to get him back in business. The alliterative duo of James Davis and Tom Davies ran hither and thither. Khris Sanker did too – insofar as props can run.

Going into the final quarter, with Amersham coming strong, the game hung in the balance. But then young Akbari made a solo run of jinks, steps, and surges to streak over the line. “Streak”, dear reader, is a figure of speech – Nima is only nude at bathtime. The babiest of Gogs was kind enough to touch down close to the posts so Jepps, who had just seen a box kick defy the laws of gravity and thermodynamics to spiral infield and backwards, added the extras.

Still Amersham came. A less generous reporter might claim that the runner who saw Rich Shorey ahead of him didn’t want to smash the hip of our silver fox. But your reporter is more generous and so it is written that Shorey scared the Amersham man into knocking-on with the have-a-go look he reserves for post-office queue-jumpers.

Despite the concession of a late try the Gogs held firm for a two-score win. Afterwards there were presentations aplenty. The Gogs were given a shield for a valiant cup victory. Dan Worth was given a shield for being Dan Worth. Nima Akbari was made Man of the Match (“man” being a loose term). And Daddy Baker was given a baby-grow for Baker Jnr.

An apocalypse of Gogs strode onto the early evening train and back to the White Hart. Hackney men and women, young, old, and whatever Mike Waithe qualifies as, came together to celebrate. There, with his final act of leadership, Daddy Baker threw about tiny vials of sweet nectar with triumphant abandon. And the rest dear reader… well it was far from silence. Champions.