My father-in-law, when arranging to visit this weekend, said to my wife and I, “Don’t feel like you need to plan anything for us to do, we’re just coming to see you. We don’t need to be entertained.” With rapier wit and typically self-deprecating levity, I immediately retorted, “Well if you don’t want to be entertained you could come and watch me play rugby.”*


How we laughed.


But that joke, hilarious, nay, hysterical as it was, wasn’t quite true was it dear reader? For what could be more entertaining than watching 15 (and occasionally 14) men do their best Gandalf impressions for 15 minutes of the first half? Your correspondent fails to recall the precise reason that such defence was required but it was a useful test for a team that needed to show something after a pretty pitiful display 2 weeks previous. So pitiful indeed that no match report was entered. For shame.


But how best to explain Hackney’s best performance of the season? By accurately recounting the events of the game? Is this your first rodeo or something?


I’ve been in reflective mood of late and was thinking about Hackney players past; I even wore the boots of a dear departed member on Saturday as a tribute. But I think I’ll borrow a match reporting technique from a former Hackney fly half with beautiful hands, a bit of a paunch and ever decreasing pace (sound familiar?).


Player ratings**:


15. Adam Eagle – Following in the footsteps of previous Hackney fullbacks in his ability to butcher an overlap. Excellent tan. 6/10

14. Ultan Murphy – Kicked everything, dropped a few things. Best lid. 7/10

13. Josh Wald – Passes as much as his mate Adam Eagle, scores tries though so its fine for now. 8/10

12. Jim Miller – Party Walrus is as Party Walrus does. Solid as ever 7/10

11. Yinka Busari – Resolutely kept his shirt on for most of the game. A shame. 6/10

10. Joe Askham – Captain, Leader, Fresher. 9/10

9. Sam Wilkinson – Passed the ball to me. And to others when required. 6.5/10


1. Laurence Mills – Couple of anecdotes. ‘Improving as a rugby player at 29’. 6/10

2. Tom Jellicoe – League Dayyybooooo. Yellow card. Excellent addition to the collection of shit tats. 6/10

3. Dave Lewis – Did scrummaging. My understanding is that it’s difficult. 6/10

4. James Legg – Always seems to be more than one of him on the pitch. 7/10

5. Ben Chamberlain – Ranked somewhere in the upper middle of his 329 Hackney appearances. 7/10

6. Ben Suddell – Really really really lovely man. 7/10

7. Tim Hansen – Starting to fit in to the team nicely. Took the kit. 7/10

8. Matt Strong - Slightly better than normal. 6.5/10


16. Cian McDonagh – Playing out of position without complaint. Will be missed. 6/10

17. James Noble –A fine dayyybooooo. Appears reassuringly grumpy. 6/10

18. Ludo Bathgate – One of the best Australians in the squad. 6/10


*they didn’t actually come and watch.

**numbers largely irrelevant. Except Stronger’s. Which is correct.