This was, as all games are, one of two halves. In the first, the Gogs laid the foundation for a good performance, and so that half shall be written about. In the second, the Gogs laid waste to their own foundations with the fervour of a fresher philosophy student in an encounter with Derrida. So that half (alas unlike Derrida) shall not be written about.


For the first time this season, the Gogs were in a position to [endure/enjoy (delete as appropriate)] contested scrums, and much to the surprise of pretty much everyone, they did well. A front row of Pete Walsham, Man-of-the-Match Leo Glass, and the ageless Dave Bates, set themselves with outreaygeous intent and drove Verulamians back time after time. 


Assistance in this work came from the engine room: the prodigal Club Captain, back from a sojourn to the Motherland, and Lawrence Homewood, his hirsute partner whose entry into the squad fills a hole left in our heart, if not in our rucks, by another Club Captain lost in Faulknerland.


Assistance too came from a new(ish) back row. The Bens - Graham and Veyrac - as well as the no-longer-walking-wounded Neil Cunningham - rounded out (pun half-intended) a pack that was imperious in the scrum and also stole opposition line-out ball. In the loose, Cunningham, in particular, was a wrecking-ball.


Of course, the backs were well-rounded too, despite some recent promotions to the Gargoyles. The 9-10 axis of Shorey and Reay might look like a joint advertisement for Just for Men and Regaine but they were nevertheless effective - as was Matt Fielden when it was his turn to drive the bus.


Davis Charles and Davis James also did well in the first half, or at least one of them did, for your reporter can’t really tell them apart. And the Skipper, with the cunning of Sun Tzu, hid himself in the guise of an inside centre. His Hanton-like kicking was, well, Hanton-like. By this it is meant that every time his team won him a penalty right in front of the posts he rewarded them with three points. And along with his Worthy colleague he was the axis in several moves that came close…oh so close… to the sublime.


Nevertheless, all Gogs were profligate with possession, and the game fast became Smithfields just after dawn. Despite butchery of the highest calibre Hackney did, just about, cross the whitewash. It was not Doctor Leyland on the blind wing who did it but instead the other man out wide. John Chung, of course, has been the subject of so very many doctors’ efforts, and his bionic body dove over after good work in close by both forwards and backs. 


This, it must be said, was the high point of the half and, for the Gogs, the game. Before and after, too many flung passes did not find their target. And so Hackney was wasteful of opportunities which, if converted, might have led to a deficit too great for Verulamians to overhaul. Even the 16-3 lead at halftime would ordinarily be sufficient foundation for a good result. But alas…


In the second half all was lost. Hats off to Verulamians for a thirty-point reversal. The Gogs lost intensity, togetherness, momentum, a few bounces of a ball, some 50-50 decisions, and ultimately the game. After the niceties the Skipper, to mix my Eastern references, came over all Siddhartha and told the Gogs to wash it off. And they did.