A refreshed Saints side were looking forward to a tough start to 2016 against a revitalised Ashford side travelling to Woollams on Sunday.
The game didn’t disappoint and the spectacle for the neutral supporters was there as some fine play in all aspects was put on show by both teams. The pendulum swung between Saints coming out strong to take a storming lead and an amazing fightback from Ashford which Saints had enough to see off in the end.
The high tempo Saints were too much for the visitors and after a concerted five minutes of pressure they got their rewards in a try from new recruit Louisa Gallimore. Fly half Katie Robertson stepped up to convert. This pressure continued as Saints controlled possession and territory before perfectly constructing a score for brand new player Bianca Modeste finished off some more fine passing in the right corner. Recent Combined Services cap Charlotte Fredrickson added her name to the score sheet after more excellent passing between her and club captain Kate Barnes through the midfield to score by the posts, which Robertson converted.
Ashford had come to play and given space they looked dangerous and their big pack carried hard to test the fringe defence of the home side. After being pushed back in the scrum on half way Ashford managed to find space to bring in their full back at pace who powerfully beat 3 defenders on her way to the visitors first try, which was converted.
After the half time break, Ashford won a penalty in a kick able position which was duly added and the fightback was on. The dominance at set piece changed hands and the visitors capitalised with a score off a line out which left the Saints low on confidence. Ashford continued to squeeze and earned themselves a try off the back of more scrum dominance, with a move on the blind side.
Nicky Cameron came back into the team off the bench to make a great impact contributing two late tries to help the Saints back into the lead. Both came from the team sustaining pressure and moving the ball wide until the Ashford side tired and weren’t able to stop progress anymore.
Late pressure by Ashford again at the scrum gave them a chance to score a try with a wide kick to draw the game which was just missed, giving the Saints a 29-27 win.
Saints are at home to Hampstead this Sunday – all supporters welcome for a 2pm KO at Woollams. This is traditionally a high-scoring game full of running rugby so it’s well worth the trip!