OA Saints 33, Hampstead 31.
Hampstead arrived at Old Albanians to face a Saints side determined to start the season well…. The players and coaching staff were quietly confident that preparations would put them on the right path.
The game started at a frantic pace, with both sides making errors at key times, a stop start beginning was broken up when Bebbington stepped the defensive cover to cut in under the sticks, converted by Robertson 7-0 Saints. The restart was solid, but Hampstead came back strong and within minutes had scored a try of their own, fortunately the extra points were missed, this appeared to rattle the Saints, who started to execute some nice phases of play, Hampstead’s defence stood up to the barrage, and somehow managed to go ahead through another try, this time converted 12-7 to Hampstead.
The first half continued in much the same manner, as both teams tried to take the initiative by playing some attractive attacking rugby, the defence of both teams were on top for most of the half however.
A flowing move saw Chambers fight her way over the line for a Saints score, again converted by Robertson 14-12 Saints
Half Time 14-12 Saints
A few well chosen and direct words shared by the players at half time saw Saints come out in a determined manner, clearly realising that a score line this close was going to be tough to defend, as both sides would look to make changes and fatigue would become a factor.
Soon after the re-start Saints scored another try, some good continuity by the forwards led to quick ball for the backline to exploit, which they did with great effect, a nice controlled flick by King led to McKenna getting the space, which she took great advantage of to touch down in the corner, brilliantly converted by Robertson 21-12 Saints.
Hampstead, conscious that another Saints score would kill off the game, started to play a faster off loading game, creating pressure on the Saints scrambling defence, eventually after a succession of penalties and breaks in play Hampstead scored a converted try 21-19 Saints.
The re-start again controlled by Saints, but quickly turned over by Hampstead created problems for the Saints, this along with stoppages and replacements being made by both sides, led to a disruption in both sides, which Hampstead took full advantage of to score a converted try. 26-21 Hampstead, now with their heads high, started to put real pressure on the Saints’ defence…… a couple of relieving penalties and some great touchline kicking, soon turned the tide and Saints were back on the attack, another strong lineout and a ‘trick’ pass, was gathered by the attacking side and some great link play saw Chambers go over again, this time in the right hand corner, the extras could not be added this time, scores level 26-26.
Again from the restart Hampstead pressed and a period of sustained pressure was eventually halted with some resolute defence…… some good running and phase play, saw Saints move up field and away from danger…… a penalty saw the forwards set up clean ruck ball, with Bebbington taking a great outside line and pop from Robertson to crash over for her second score, converted by Robertson Saints 33-26 up with a few minutes remaining.
Another sustained period of pressure and some tired defence saw Hampstead’s winger cross the line for a two point gap, with the conversion to come………. Missed!
A great team effort from all involved…. new faces, returning faces and smiling faces.
A few things to work on, but a great squad win, now we move our focus to Southwold at Home 18/09/16