Women's Championship South 1
The Saints’ run of 13 months unbeaten came to an end after they suffered defeat away at Hove RFC.
They travelled down south looking to continue they’re impressive unbeaten run at the start of this season, which saw them take pole position atop the table.
However terrible conditions and numerous extended breaks for injuries hampered any momentum and progress the former league leaders looked to build.
Hove took an early lead off a lineout on the Saints 5m line. After building the phases, they drew in the defence to allow their tighthead to dot down in the corner, leading to Hove opening the scoring, 5-0.
Saints struggled to maintain possession due to unforced errors and lapses in concentration, meaning Hove took the majority of possession and territory throughout the first half.
After the break, the Woollams outfit retook the field with a renewed energy, and quickly got themselves on the scoreboard, after Caz Collie raced down the sideline off turnover ball, to go all the way and bring her side back into the game.
Hove regrouped, and regained possession in the Saints 22 and looked to respond after maintaining pressure and building phases. Their patience was rewarded, and they scored once again in the corner to retake the lead, 10-5.
Both teams then struggled to gain a foothold in the game, due to numerous mistakes and unforced errors. Until Claire Mckenna tore down the sideline off turnover ball, before offloading to the ever-present Steph Plunkett, who touched down to being the match back to parity. Collie stepped up and converted to take the Saints into the lead for the first time, 10-12.
Hove rallied and, similarly to their previous try, set up camp deep in their oppositions 22, patiently building the phases and using powerful carries from the forwards to gain ground, before they crashed over out wide to regain the lead 15-12.
Hove wrapped up the match with a late penalty to secure the win, 18-12.
Forwards coach Harry Mack said ‘despite long periods of strong defence, we were far from our best today, we made life very difficult for ourselves. We know what we need to do as a team to improve. I have every faith that the girls will bounce back.’
The Saints have a week off before they’ll look to get back to winning ways against Supermarines
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