There are two recurring themes of the season. One relates to score lines, the less said about which, the better. The other relates to trainlines, and how far away our opposition tend to be. If the advantage of our league shift is that more of our opposition are in London, then the disadvantage is that they are in London the way, say, Ilford is, which is to say that they are in “London”.


Anyway. This was perhaps the nicest ground at which any Gog has ever played, and a far sight nicer than Twickenham Stadium, which remains a concrete behemoth that looks like it was designed by a prop using grey Duplo. No, Thamesesesesiansiansians (I don’t know how to stop spelling it) have a lovely ground, with a lovely clubhouse, and passport control between the two had very short queues. 


Before that, however, was rugby, and a fair whack of it. The game started uncharacteristically well for the Gogs, fronting up, and holding much of the play in the middle third of the pitch. Our hosts’ first score came from an awkward bounce between two Gogs, which a swift opposition member pounced on and ran in. 


It seems fair to note that, while our matches in general, and this one in particular, have been won by the better team, the Gogs have had rather rotten luck this season. Bounces of the ball have gone the wrong way and given opposition who were being held at bay the shift in momentum they needed to break loose. 


Thamesianians did indeed break loose, running in another try or two, before the Gogs regained composure and Joe Mitchell got his first Gogs try. He rounded off a good team effort in which we went through a few phases before going wide (note to selves: let’s do more of this). It was the sole consolation, but a welcome and deserved one. 


The Gogs continued to front up, not least in the scrum, with two won against the head. In the end Thamesians ran in another few to close out a well-earned win, before being excellent hosts back at theirs. It was a fun arm wrestle of a day, thanks to the boys from “London”, and to the referee who let it flow. On to the next game. Fellowship Remains Life. 


1. Khris Sankar: only his second shift of the season, a full 80 in a strong scrum, useful in the loose too (8/10)

2. Matt Rooke: trust Rookey to hook, just don’t trust him with your new kit bag (7/10)

3. Matthieu Arneguy: solid in the scrum and made a useful nuisance of himself (7/10)

4. Mat Cole: lifting and jumping in the line-out and great at babysitting Simpson too (8/10)

5. Cian Murphy: easily one of the top four locks in the squad on the day (11/10)

6. Arran Ferguson: punches way above his weight in contact, pity his eyes are bigger than his belly (and bladder) (7/10)

7. Ben Graham: fast becoming this correspondent’s Gog of the Season (9/10)

8. Eric Cohadon: brings much-needed passion and intensity, if, like his namesake, sometimes a little too much (7/10)

9. Charlie Parker: growing into Gog rugby - when he adds gobbiness to his vision, speed, and step, we’ll be unstoppable (8/10)

10. Matt Hanton: no gobbiness issues here, and an imperious day in midfield. A necessary mutiny made him MOTM (sorry Ben) (9/10)

11. KL Chung: two sensational breaks and the work rate we have come to expect. 5 weeks to chattalhood (9/10)

12. Kieran Murray: our utility back and future captain was great until he cramped up like a man twice his age (7/10)

13. Joe Mitchell: a deserved first try for the Gogs (8/10)

14. Calves Hufflepuff: went off because of tactics, rather than lactic, so we have a roll-over sweepstake (6.9/10)

15. Chris Reay: easily one of the top seven half backs in the squad on the day (7/10)


Finishers:

Davis James: a searing break late on - pity JC’s brother couldn’t finish it off (7/10)

Jake Kedge: our itinerant talent remains the gobbiest of Gogs, with Stringer-esque distribution (8/10)

James Simpson: he’s flying without wings but you can’t lose what you never had (7/10)

Shu Shome: some great darts down the line in the second half, growing stronger in contact too (7/10)

Jack Lidyard: where did this rangy leader of men even come from? Hope he knows that once a Gog, always a Gog (8/10)