Like most games this was one of two halves. Unlike most games the first half was about 20 minutes long and the second took a full hour. The Gogs began that first half well and got better. At the kick-off, Hufflepuff, loyal as ever to his No 10, spotted the Ickenham 12 and 13 sitting deep. Hanton dropped the kick short and Owaeine was on it like a Niffler. The Gogs used possession well and built their phases. Their first try came from strong running in midfield and good hands all around. The Seventh Best Gog, despite the number on his shirt, Chris Reay, ran a deceptively clever line and made the conversion easy enough for Hanton.


The Hackney scrum was as makeshift as ever - necessity remains the mother of prop creation. Nevertheless it helped earn the second try. Tranquility Faulkner and Versatility Hawk packed down either side of Butcher Cleaver to lead the shove. Although one scrum wheeled it was otherwise solid and even made a few yards. Joe 90 marked his penultimate game by crashing over the line - albeit with somewhat less consideration for Hanton’s hamstrings than Reay had shown. The Gogs had an entirely uncharacteristic 12 - 0 early lead.


Unfortunately that was the end of the short first half. Cleaver’s shoulder went and with the seemingly never-ending Hackney wedding season leaving the squad threadbare, the Gogs were at 14 men for 60 minutes (who organizes a wedding in September?!? … congratulations Ben!). They kept Ickenham at bay for some time - despite the West Londoners making good use of their ample bench. Matt Cole disrupted their line-out and Shu Shome was an overgrown terrier on the wing - not so much snapping at the heels of the opposition runners as leaping up and flooring them. Still, with scrums now uncontested, and Hackney a man short, there was more space for the Ickenham runners. Two of them crossed to leave the score 12-10 after 40 minutes.


The second 40 was a more trying affair. Kat Kelland’s work on the sidelines - keeping all Gogs in water and sun cream - was vital. But as the game wore on even the most well-hydrated were beginning to wilt in the unseasonal heat. On a broad and hard pitch the Gogs ran hither and thither. The shuffled back three of Shome, Murray and Leyland had plenty of running to do while the pack slogged to plug gaps.


The hosts were able to pull ahead, at last, with about twenty-five minutes to go. Their kicks were still going wayward, though, so the lead was only three points. The Gogs were still in with a shout and displaying All-Blacks-esque positional flexibility, with Hanton going to 1, Arnold to 9, and Charlie Killoran playing just about everywhere.


By the end, however, most of the shouting was done on the floor. The breakdown became increasingly messy. Why go off your feet when you can swan-dive off your feet? Why release the tackled player when you can go from rugby to sumo in one move? As frustrations built a yellow became inevitable. And, always one to sacrifice himself for the team, Matt Hanton dove on it.


So the Gogs finished with 13. They hammered the Ickenham 22 in the last 10 minutes but to no avail. Somewhere along the way Ickenham has gone over twice more - and converted one of them. It wasn’t the score Hackney wanted. While it reflects the game as a whole, there was much for Hackney to be happy with in that short first half, and to build on in the weeks to come. Thank Lomu there are no more weddings coming up.


James Hawk: in his first week at the club, an angel off the field and a demon on it. 8/10

Callum Cleaver: the former Gargoyle captain was good for as long as he went. 7/10

Adam Faulkner: rampant around the park, as usual, and a handful at the breakdown. 8/10

Matt Cole: the perennial Gog was a nuisance in the lineout and in the loose. 7/10

Cian Murphy: exemplary in all aspects of the game, as always. 11/10

Chris Reay: despite the number on his back he remains our Seventh favourite Gog. 7/10

Kieran Murray: a good all-round performance to cap a great first week as captain. 10/10

Charlie Killoran: continues to grow in stature and deserved his MOTM award. 9/10

Matt Fielden: the best Cambridge man in the Club is back in business. 7/10

Matt Hanton: if only he would do some work off the field what a Clubman he would be. 7/10

Luke Leyland: some great running when the Gogs were in possession. 7/10

T. Owaeine Davies: excellent effort throughout - kept his head when all others were losing theirs. 6.9/10

Joe Mitchell: he’ll be a loss when he goes which, thankfully, isn’t for another week yet. 7/10

Shu Shome: best defensive performance he’s put in on a day when it was most needed. 8/10

Luke Arnold: did good work, including steering the end-of-game assault on the try line. 7/10