My dear reader, after a season of highs and… well… just highs actually, it is my pleasure to bring to you the final first team match report as well as some bonus features including further extracts from the memoirs of Johnny Crockett and the alternate end of season awards.

 

On the warmest day of the year so far (record held for 24 hours), the Champions of London NW3 set a course for Kilburn RFC, who, just 21 games previously, had provided stern opposition in the season opener and were now enjoying a strong end to the season.

 

The Griffins started the game hotter that Matt Strong’s glistening bonce and were rewarded with a score when Sean “the-fastest-player-in-the-first-team,-no-seriously-he-actually-thinks-that,-I’m-not-even-kidding” Conner engaged his go-go-gadget arms to claw in a flat pass from Alex O’Hara and cantered under the posts untouched. Old Man River repeated the trick moments later and when PJ ended his try drought to finish off a flowing, counter-attacking move, Hackney were 21 points to the good.

 

With one foot seemingly on the party bus, the Griffins thought the end of season party had started already and in anticipation of throwing shapes on the D-floor, began throwing offloads on the pitch. Unfortunately, the offloads were more like this than like this and, as the ball was apparently as slippery as Matt Strong’s glistening bonce, possession was lost on numerous occasions. Kilburn began to gain a foothold in the game and, after some good work in the tight, spread the ball wide to find Hackney’s outside defence more exposed than Ali Dunlop wearing a drinking kilt to score in the corner. But as the men from Spring Hill have shown all season, if you rattle their cage (or wherever Griffins live) you should prepare to get stung (or however Griffins strike back). A meat pie for the burrowing Mike Ward was followed by a period of play that epitomised Hackney’s entire season. Five minutes of resolute goal line defence featuring some huge shots on Kilburn’s big runners took Hackney into half time with their tails up.

 

The Griffin’s Swansong of a second half was punctuated with scenes that could have been taken from any one of their previous 21 victories: an interception try from Conner to complete his hat-trick and silence the increasingly vocal home support; belligerent defence leading to turnover ball and a half the length of the field run in from Matt Strong which was, fittingly, at pace but (I assume because I was blinded by his glistening bonce) sans tekkers; and, perhaps most appropriately of all, an O’Hara trundle from 5 yards out to end the game. The only blemish in the second half (trundle aside) was a try from Kilburn’s impressive 13, giving Matt Strong a lesson in both pace and tekkers with a hard line through the midfield and over the try line.

 

And so, dear reader, at the end of an unbeaten season, whilst enjoying a crate of beer in the changing rooms with some bagels generously donated by our accommodating hosts, my thoughts turned to the workings of traditional Persian rug makers. I recently learnt that these master craftsmen will intentionally sew a missed stitch or a minor design flaw into their rugs for it is their belief that only Allah can create true perfection. I like to think that’s exactly what Fraser Tait was thinking the night before Hitchin away.

 

Further extracts from the memoirs of Jonny Crockett aged 87 ¾

 

“Tell us more Granpapa”

 

Little Johnny Junior was always curious, always keen to hear more about those golden days.

 

“Yeah Gramps, tell us how the story ends”

 

With a single tear rolling down my old, decrepit face I reply, “well, I don’t really know kids because I wasn’t there but I like think the end of the season went something like this:…”


 

The Alternate End of Season Awards

 

After much deliberation by the committee it is my genuine pleasure to make the following awards:

 

Best impression of Wayne Rooney at a wedding

 

Winner: Noel Leonard

 

Best excuse for missing a game

 

Winner: Sam Wilkinson

 

Longest WAG related absence from a dinner table

 

Award shared by Matt Strong and Guy Watmore

 

Best Chip ‘n’ Chase

 

Winner: N/A

 

Best anecdotes

 

Winner by overwhelming majority: Lawrence Mills

 

Sexiest Fresh

 

Winner: Ali Dunlop

 

Best Newcomer

 

Honourable mentions: Fraser Tait, Ali Dunlop and Dave Akkersdyke who can all genuinely do rugby.

 

Winner: the PJ Lloyd impersonator who murdered the PJ of 2015/2016 vintage, disposed of the body and took his place at some time during the course of pre-season training.