Hackney welcomed Enfield to Spring Hill on a lovey late summer afternoon for a mere game of rugby. Although after 80 minutes the confirmed crowd of 1,008* (a record for a September fixture) left wondering if they had witnessed something else entirely...

40 minutes of what most commentators decided was definitely rugby happened first. Highlights included: 

1) Chamberlain throwing his best ever pass off his left hand following a great break. Sailing 15 yards through the air, it landed a mere 3 yards in front of its recipient. All those years of practice finally paying off. 

2) Questionable defence and some strong Enfield play to open up a 12-0 lead over Hackney.

3) A Churchillian speech by Laurence Mills 

4) A great try by Legg following good work by Cian, Fraser and Chamberlain. Extras were added to reduce the deficit to 7-12. 

5) A further penalty gave Enfield a deserved 7-15 lead going into the break.

During half time, 2 things were confirmed: 

1) Laurence Mills was very sorry 

2) Fraser doesn’t like being told the oppo think he's not up to much

And so the 2nd half began, and the story becomes more interesting. Fraser, now fired up, was looking for any opportunity to make his mark. Matt Strong gave him just this chance, providing the tip assist to end all tip assists. He put Fraser away with only 40 yards to run and 9 men to beat. What. An. Assist. The Iniesta of Hackney rugby....With the extras added it became a 1 point game. Buoyed by a scrum reinforced by the (insert number here) year old Mike Waithe, the Griffins were gaining the upper hand.

It was at this moment that, for some unknown reason, The Brains Trust of Hackney LLP decided it would be a good idea to spice things up by trying to simultaneously win a game of rugby whilst also playing a drinking game. An odd idea I know, but I literally cannot think of any other reason that explains the 2nd half. After several ideas such as 'funny bunnies' and 'fuzzy ducks' were likely discarded, agreement prevailed on playing a modified version of '21s' (or 20+1 for the connoisseur). Rules dictated that each Hackney player would increase the score with every penalty they gave away. A tall order to reach 21 penalties in one half alone but one Hackney were confident they could achieve. 

As Hackney were to learn, playing 21s and winning a rugby match is no easy feat. Every time they established good field position, another penalty would be ‘claimed’ by one of the proud Hackney lads, resulting in a kick sending them 40 metres back in the previous direction. It became like a complicated game of snakes and ladders. At one point one of the Hackney forwards thought that, by giving away 2 penalties in quick succession, the decision would be reversed and awarded in Hackney’s favour, in line with the rules of 21. Instead, Hackney were marched back to almost their own try line. Much head scratching ensued.

The pressure finally told and, with the referee handing out penalty fines to freshers like the true drinks master he clearly has always wanted to be, 2 kicks by the reliable Enfield 10 gave a scoreline of 14-21 with 10 minutes to play. 

A great steal by Josh Wold and a good kick by Adam Eagle enabled Watmore (buoyed by shouts of ‘your quicker than them’ by his captain) to be quicker than them and touched down to give Jo Fresh a chance to draw the scores level. Alas, the only 21 the skipper was interested in was the penalty count and the score remained 19-21. 

Time remained for one last Hackney attack. Instead, Hackney gave away another penalty. Unsure exactly what it was for, it required someone to fall on his sword and accept that he had delivered the coup de grace, the 21st infringement. Matt Strong is just that man and now has the opportunity to create a new rule (law) for this game. What will he decide? Everyone must comment on the re-lid daily? Plum t-shirts for all? Only time will tell. What is certain is that, with Enfield's 10 slotting another kick with the final play of the game, the final score was 19-24. 

Some good stuff from Hackney but lots to work on after 2 games. Perhaps they key lesson, is that all drinking games should be left until after the rugby has finished...

*accurate to within 1,000