A wise man once wrote that match reports are a lot more fun to write when you win. This is true. It’s also true that they can be enjoyable enough compositional endeavours when there’s been a good game, in which one’s team have given their best, to the sport and to each other, and, notwithstanding such valiant efforts, have come out on the wrong side of the result.

 

Such matches, regardless of the scoreline, can make it all worthwhile.

 

Such matches can justify the decision of, for example, T.o.m.a.$. O.w.a.i.n. D.av.i.€.s. to forego the pleasure of watching a rare Welsh win in the 2020 Six Nations to skipper the team for the day (or at least for as long as his calves hold out).

 

Such matches can swell the pride of the small band of supporters who come to watch their team, despite the weather, despite the aforementioned rare Welsh win in the 2020 Six Nations, and in the case of The Baron, despite wedding planning obligations.

 

Such matches can assure even the most tired of souls that it’s worth those cold nights getting up from the floor at Mabley Green and watching bloodied little pellets of astroturf fall from now skinless knees and elbows, instead of celebrating a rare Welsh win in the 2020 Six Nations. (Author’s note: this is what I’ve been told that that strange phenomenon of “training” involves (loss of skin, not Welsh wins).)

 

Matches like those are a sweat-soaked, stamina-straining affirmation of our sport and of the possibly apocryphal choice of William Webb Ellis to pick up the ball and run with it.

 

(He was clearly not a Gog. A Gog would have knocked it on, even if at the time there was no Law about knock-ons, because rugby was just a rule-breaking alteration of football, allegedly. A Gog would have found a way to knock it on, perhaps by building a time machine, coming to 2020, learning how to knock-on by watching the Gogs, downloading a copy of the Laws from Jepps’ brain (such neurological technologies having being got from another time-travel-trek to the year 3020), going back to his alleged game of alleged football, explaining the Laws to those around him, and proceeding to break those Laws, by knocking on. But the Webb Ellis story is, as I’ve said, apocryphal, or so I’m told.)

 

Such matches, in short (I once read something somewhere about brevity being the soul of something or other but the aphorism was a bit long for me so I’m sorry to say I’ve forgotten it), confirm rugby’s place in the pantheon of sports.

 

This was not such a match.

 

Or, at least, it was not such a match for the Gogs.

 

Haringey, to their credit, turned up, fronted up, played the conditions well, and took their scores.

 

Hackney did not do any of those things. Rather, most of the things Hackney did ought not be done, on a rugby field or on any field, or indeed on any surface (solid, fluid, liquid, or otherwise), or for that matter in any time-space continuum (or continuae, if your appreciation of poorly-versed multi-universe theories, and even more poorly-versed Latin grammar, will allow).

 

Most of the things Hackney did should be forgotten. For this reason, as well as the other, and indeed principal reason, which is that your author has already followed his own advice (about forgetting, not about brevity being the soul of something-or-other), and forgotten most of the details of the game, no details are provided here about the things Hackney did which, on balance, they should not have done.

 

Thanks to Haringey for the match, and thanks to TV catch-up s€ivaD niawO $amoT can still watch a rare Welsh win in the 2020 Six Nations. Fellowship is something-or-other, I understand, and it’s quite catchy.

 

LINE-UP

 

1. Michael Waithe: was really glad he schlepped from Hove to play. -7/10

 

2. David Bates: emerged even more grizzley than he already was, like the guy in Interstellar who was left on the spaceship for too long, because the main characters got distracted on Waterworld reading a Hackney match report. -7/10

 

3. Nikoloz Abramishvili: Venit, Non Vicit, Exit. -7/10

 

4. Charles Blagbrough: completed this game with both eyes intact despite efforts not to. -7/10

 

5. Cian Murphy: rumours that the Great Locks of World Rugby wear Murphy nightwear have yet to be denied. 11/10

 

6. Ben Graham: remains our most effective headless chicken, though, like everyone else, was not quite as effective as usual, so was somehow less headless, or less chicken, or perhaps an entirely different type of poultry, if poultry could play rugby, not that Hackney could, at least on this day. -7/10

 

7. Pete Walsham: was so very glad to have chosen this as the day for one of his infrequent but always-welcome Springhill trundles. -7/10

 

8. Adam Faulkner: is going to come out of his shell any day now. -7/10

 

9. Rob Corr: won the Faulkner Wallflower of the Week Award even though Faulker himself was playing, although he (Corr, not Faulkner) had to share it with someone else, who I’ve forgotten, for the aforementioned reasons. -7/10

 

10. Matt Hanton: numbered amongst the Hackney players to rugby on this day, and may have shared the Faulkner Wallflower Award with his half-back partner, and if he (Hanton, not Corr) didn’t, he should have. -7/10

 

11. Thoma$ Owain Davies: was even more glad than Waithe and Walsham combined that he chose to play rugby on this day, instead of watching a rare Welsh win in the 2020 Six Nations. -7/10

 

12. Chris Reay: even more glad to have played than Waithe, Walsham, and Davies put together, when he could have spent time with his extended family, watching a rare Welsh win in the 2020 Six Nations. -7/10

 

13. Hugh Price: another to uncharacteristically avoid facial injuries, probably because he didn’t want to go to A&E, because he had a date with catch-up TV, to watch a rare Welsh win in the 2020 Six Nations. -7/10

 

14. Shu Shome: was not meant to play, and probably wishes he didn’t, despite doing better than most on the day, not that that’s saying much, although much could - and has - been said. -7/10

 

15. James Abbot: had a good view of the action from full-back but probably wishes he hadn’t, and that he had instead watched the Wales game which, in case I haven’t mentioned it, they won (Wales, not their opponents) for the first and thusfar last time in the 2020 Six Nations. -7/10

 

FINISHERS

 

16. Darren Griffin: counts himself amongst those Hackney players who can remember a time from before they began reading this match report. -7/10

 

17. Paul Baker: is likely convinced, on the basis of the team’s performance, that Baker Junior also merits a place in the squad, and, on the basis of the team’s performance, is likely correct. -7/10