It was the Goggiest of days. No front row. Another 14 point deduction from the off. A ridiculous urge to fluff tries. Could the Gogs finally push past these barriers and record their first official win of the season?


The team was refreshed after a lovely Chinese meal out on the Thursday night, arranged by captain Hanton. So off we set, on a delightful train journey to Chiswick, made all the nicer by the lack of Tom “this'll definitely work” Davies’ presence on the carriage.


The game began and Hackney actually started well for once, working our way up the pitch and getting multiple phases on the go. Chiswick were forced to give away a penalty in front of the sticks, which Hanton duly slotted.


Chiswick then applied pressure for the next fifteen minutes, sat in Hackney's half. But defence held strong, with great work from the pack. The forwards’ collective strong defensive pressure caused numerous knock ons whilst the opposition were sat in our 22. The Gog’s wingers also chipped in to the defensive stint, with Laurie Benson making a couple of thunderous hits, with an especially good last ditch tackle causing a knock on over the try line, and John Chung helping to relieve the pressure with two scurrying counter attacks.


After 20 minutes, Chris Reay fancied a break and so we saw the reintroduction of C̶h̶r̶i̶s̶t̶ r̶e̶i̶n̶c̶a̶r̶n̶a̶t̶e̶ Florian Racaud, his first appearance this season. The backs looked to get the Suisse maestro involved at the next play and he immediately made a twenty metre break. Continued attacking pressure from the forwards and another great break from JC led to the Gogs working their way into the oppo’s 22.


What followed from Hackney would have made Freddie Burns proud. Overlap after overlap were squandered and at least three certain tries were thrown away due to poor hands (a particularly bad forward pass was made two metres out - your correspondent unfortunately couldn’t recall who made this, but Tom Gluckstein was giving me evil looks all afternoon for some unbeknownst reason).


So half time came, with the scores at 3-0 (or 3-14, depending on how you look at it). After dominating for large phases of the first half, Hackney now had an uphill battle to walk away with a win.


In the second half, Gogs proceeded to control both possession and territory, whilst perhaps not showing some of the clinical play that shone through in the first half. Overlaps were missed, the lineout was stuttering, yet the team kept knocking. The patience finally paid off, with the forwards building a platform 5 metres out. JC hit a great strike line and was clean through, only to be stopped by a brutish forearm meeting his windpipe. Penalty try and yellow card followed (which was fortunate, as I have real doubts as to whether JC would have been able to get the ball down successfully from where he was). 14-10 to Chiswick.


A scrappy remainder of the half followed. The Chiswick eight caused problems with strong running and their 10 and 12 made numerous half breaks. Midway through the half, a Chiswick player made a 50m break and for a few seconds the entire Hackney team forgot how to tackle. An outrageous last minute tackle from Florian prevented a certain try. From here, Chiswick applied pressure and managed to get a rolling maul over the line. 19-10 to Chiswick and somehow the Gogs were staring down the barrel again.


But the team didn’t give up, working their way back up the pitch. Numerous penalties within the opposition 22 kept the pressure up and with 8 minutes to go a penalty was given straight in front of the sticks. Having being badgered by Chris Reay for the last ten minutes to take the bloody points, Hanton finally obliged. 19-13 and the Gogs’ tails were up.


The clock was ticking. Hackney played some good rugby, but again weren't making the most of their opportunities. 2 minutes were remaining and the ball spun out wide, thirty metres out. Dave Huxley found himself receiving the ball in midfield and provided a delightful switch (10 next week, Dave?) to Florian. Flo did as Flo does and proceeded to beat five defenders, skip along the touchline and swan dive over the line in the corner. Good lad. Get your avaliability up more often.


Cometh the hour, cometh the man. Hanton had clearly had his weetabix for breakfast, nailing the conversion from the touchline (don’t worry Reay, I’m sure you would have managed it too). 20-19 to Hackney, with 30 seconds remaining.


Now dear reader, at this point you may be rejoicing. As happy as Ben Graham is in Mascara at 3am. Finally, that Gogs win that we’ve been waiting 2 months for?? There’s no way they can throw it away from here. Well my friend, this is the Gogs. The kickoff was received and at the next ruck, Chiswick turned the ball over. What followed was both brilliant and disastrous in equal measures. Tom Gluckstein made a great tackle on the opposition attacker, with Lawrence Homewood dashing in and holding him up. Only problem was, Lawrence was keeping him up with a chokehold more often seen in the WWE. Penalty to Chiswick, twenty metres out, just to the left of the posts.


So. 80 minutes of rugby. 14 point deficit from kick off. About 5 tries binned off by the gogs. 1 point in it. And it came down to this kick.


Well, let's face it - you’ve seen the score at the top of the page. The oppo kicker missed by about 15cm and that was that. Being the good Hackney lads that we are, there was barely a cheer and it all felt quite surreal. But… we got that win!


Player ratings


Dave Bates - in a day where the joy of propping was cruelly taken away from him (it looks fun from where I'm standing, anyway), Batesy contributed solidly to the brilliant forwards’ defence - 7/10

Darren Griffin - no cross field kicks - 0/10

Matt Rooke - great to see someone finally step up and play front row. Looking forward to seeing how he does there next week - 7/10

Dave Huxley - lovely assist for the final try, meaning Florian had no hard work to do - 8/10

Lawrence Homewood - can't quantify this one, but know it should be really high.

Sam Dunford-Baker - great tackling, great moustache/hair combo - 9/10

Ben Graham - another week, another solid performance. Hopefully still alive after Mascara's extended hours on Saturday night - 8/10

Tom Gluckstein - great game, but kept unnecessarily banging on about some forward pass after the game and so loses 2 points - 6/10

Rich Shorey - after some initial teamsheet confusion as to his position, it turned out Rich was playing at nine. Had an assured game. Still loves a quick tap - 7/10

Chris Reay - think he did some good things. Seemed more intereaysted in the Chiswick 1s game next door though - CR7/10

Laurie Benson - Some unbelievable hits and great runs too. Unfortunate to not record a try to act as the cherry on top of the icing - 9/10 (MOTM)

Matt Hanton - smashed a conversion from the touchline in the final minute to take the lead. Not sure what else Matt did, but frankly don't care - 9/10

Joe Mitchell - enjoyed running into Chiswick’s biggest player for eighty mintutes. Threw a dodgy pass at an unfortunate moment. Apparently I get to pick my own rating - 10/10

John Chung - brilliant game, popping up at all the right moments. Sadly not clinical enough to get a try against his name though - 9/10

Luke Leyland - rest of the backs seemed to conspire to not get the ball out to Luke, despite him always being stood on a huge overlap - 7/10


Subs

Max Heal - stay in Coventry mid week for longer Max, nothing to do with preventing the second team captains seeing you at training, promise - 8/10

Shu Shome - a great addition to the Gogs squad who is growing with each game. Threw some great shade at Hanton the following day - 7/10

Flo Racaud - Florian I love you, but you're not hanging around - 0/10