The Saints came into this game on Sunday knowing that they would face determined opposition in the shape of a Hammersmith and Fulham side who would fancy their chances of a win at Woollams.
The howling wind played a major factor in the style of rugby on offer as it was used by and limited both teams in different ways. From the kick off and subsequent phases OAs displayed their trademark control and shape in defence before a momentary lapse against one of the visitors strong ball carriers, resulted in a break and a converted score gave a sudden 7-0 lead to H&F.
The response from Saints was powerful as they controlled territory and possession for long periods in the first half. An accidental high tackle on a Saints player as she approached the try line was pulled up by the referee on safety grounds, disappointingly for the home side as she had carried on running and was set to score with only 10m to run in.
In control at the set piece, OAs built multiple phases in attack but were unable to execute the large number of opportunities they created, instead protecting possession. The visitors scrambled in defence and worked hard to cover constant wide attacks. The gain line was fiercely contested and unable to gain domination there, the Saints went into the half down on the scoreboard but buoyed by a comprehensive first half performance.
Substitutions were made throughout both halves due to the physical commitment of both teams. At the very start of the second half, the visitors showed how effective they could be, using their ball carriers to break tackles and win penalties until such time that they wore the home defence down for another converted score, making it 14-0 to H&F.
The second half continued to mirror the first with another powerful retort by Saints who seemed to do everything but actually score. After generating fast ball over several phases there was space created but an incorrect decision to chip the ball over to a covering defender, resulted in an 80m score by the H&F left winger under the posts.
With the game lost at 21-0 down, the Saints continued to play their flowing brand of rugby and from a 5m scrum, they showed their power up front by walking Hammersmith back over their line, with No.8 Katie Allcock controlling it at her feet before picking and scoring a try I her last game for the club this season. Captain Katie Robertson narrowly missed the kick, score 21-5 in favour of the visiting team.That was how the game finished but in spite of a disappointing loss, the Saints feel positively about e momentum this performance gives them going into their last two league games.
Forward of the match Katie Allcock left everything out there, carrying and tackling her way through a vast amount of work. A completely committed performance. Back of the match Katie Robertson was determined in every facet of her game, physical as a carrying threat and defender whilst skilful as a distributor.The Saints travel to Chesham in their next game on 6th March.