Last Sunday saw OA Saints take on Henley Hawks in the quarter finals of the intermediate cup. Henley, who finished third in Championship South I, travelled to Woollams to take on Saints, who finished top of the league below, Championship South East 2.
Despite a sunny morning, the weather took a turn for the worse, with strong wind blowing down the pitch and heavy rain. The skill levels on display remained high however, with only a small number of scrums throughout the match.
The Saints took an early lead through openside wing Claire McKenna, scoring in the corner after 9 minutes. The wind was too strong for Captain Katie Robertson’s boot, and the score stood at 5-0.
Henley drew level ten minutes later with a try in the opposite corner, also unconverted to bring it to 5-5.
The first half saw one more try apiece. Sophie Tyler broke through the Henley line and running in from distance to score under the posts and give Robertson a simple conversion. Henley replied five minutes later with a score wide on the right wing.
The teams went in at halftime with Saints 12-10 ahead and about to turn around and face the strong wind.
The second half saw some incredible scramble defence by Saints as Henley dominated possession and territory, making good use of the wind. Saints kept their heads however and stayed organised, with scrum-halves Maddie Gunnell and then Nicky Cameron organising and directing the defence, and the forwards working hard to keep Henley behind the gain line. Breaks by McKenna and Blunt eased the pressure, with the Saints bench also playing a role.
Almost continuous Henley pressure finally saw them score in the right hand corner, making it 12-15 with ten minutes to go.
Saints pushed for another try, but couldn’t create a clear opportunity in the face of the heavy wind and rain.
Henley go through to the semi-finals, while Saints prepare for their promotion playoff with an away trip to Loughborough before taking on the Army at Woollams on 14th March in the annual Georgie Robinson Memorial Match – spectators welcome!