As a new year dawned Captain Fresh and his young protégé, Guy Whatmore began their travels to the first home game of the season. We pick up the story outside the Tesco’s Metro on Lee Bridge Road…

“It’s really cold” said Captain Fresh

“Right on skip, If you’d be down with it, I could drop some knowledge bombs on you regarding seasonal temperatures and why it gets colder after Christmas. Ya dig?” replied his much younger compatriot.

“NO GUY!” shouted a furious Fresh, “we don’t have time for informative learnings about the relative heating speeds of land and water, the thermo-climactic effects thereof and the whimsical musings that will undoubtedly ensue. I just want to focus on rugby!”

The younger man felt chided, embarrassed but determined, inspired and not a little aroused.

“You’re absolutely right skip. You always are.”

And so to the game of rugby. Chiswick were the visitors to Spring Hill and having put up one of the poorest performances of the year (a tough category to judge) in the early season fixture, Hackney felt they had a point to prove. And prove it they did. To the extent that a losing bonus point is a point proven.

Chiswick allowed an early score when, having never seen Captain Fresh play rugby before, bought an inside dummy and let the Andy Goode impersonator to waddle through, fail to step the fullback and sling a wild offload directly at the shins of Ben Sudell who collected and touched down.

The Griffins chose the first half to showcase a couple of different ways to defend a rolling maul:

1.      The “Being a clever dick” or “Baldrick” method. This involves standing off a lineout, allowing them to take the ball down but, rather ingeniously, not forming a maul meaning they can’t shuffle the ball to the back. The final, crucial element of this method is to tackle the man with the ball. Failure to do so can be catastrophic and make a complete mockery of this entire method.

Result: Try Chiswick

2.      The “Traditional” method. Why not just try and push against their maul and stop it that way?

Result: Try Chiswick. Yellow Card to James “not that kind of player” Legg

A couple of penalties slotted by Ultan Murphy kept the Hackney scoreboard ticking over and they headed into half time 13-12 to the good.

The second half saw one of the finest tries ever scored at Spring Hill: a flowing first phase move involving dummy runners, balls out the back, a through the legs pass, a couple of offloads out of tackles and a saunter under the posts. It truly was magnificent. Unfortunately it was scored by Chiswick. Another scything line from the Chiswick outside centre resulted in a 5 pointer although Hackney were able to respond through Yinka when Jim Miller unselfishly realised he had absolutely no pace and passed to the younger man. A couple more penalties from Ultan kept Hackney in touching distance but a lack of discipline and a strangely malfunctioning lineout consistently allowed Chiswick access to Hackney territory as they were able to take control.

A last minute try from Yinka after some good phase play gave Hackney the losing bonus point that was the very least that they deserved. “Maybe the best performance of the season” said coach and all round cheerful chap, Steve Wagstaff.

Men of the Match: the Front Row. Maybe it was that extra mince pie, maybe it was new studs for Christmas, heck! maybe it was a technical or mental improvement and something that should be genuinely congratulated rather than made light of. Who knows? A scrum that was steady and, dare I say, occasionally going forward is a sight to see and something the whole pack can be proud of.

Back of the Match: Ultan Murphy and Yinka Busari. The former kicked superbly from tee and hand. The latter picked up a double portion of meat.