OA Saints 17pts Romford 10pts
Sunday saw the Saints make the trek to Romford & Gidea Park for a League game that held high expectations given our close win over Hampstead RFC two weeks prior.
The game was always going to be a bruising encounter and certainly lived up to the pre match discussions about styles of play.
Saints started well and push Romford deep in to their own half by some surging runs, good lines and some clever kicking, although defending well, the opening score was surely not long in coming. After a few scrappy exchanges of play Saints were on the attack again and a probing kick by the 10 saw a defensive confusion lead to a bouncing ball that was finally pounced on by Barnes, who ran through to ground the ball to the right of the sticks, converted by Robertson 7-0 Saints.
Some more attacking flair by Saints ended with no positives outcome on the scoreboard, some control by Romford saw a speculative kick and chase result in a penalty for the home side, who electing to tap and go found themselves within a few metres of the Saints try line, some resolute defending could not hold out the home sides efforts, who after several attempts crossed the line, extras were missed 7-5 Saints.
The restart again forced Romford to defend and their scrambling defence were able to thwart a series of Saints attacks, several lineouts and scrums were now the order of the day, which helped the home side contain a Saints side, who were happy to run and build phases, but lacked a clinical touch in the last quarter. Another passage of multiple phases led the home side straying off side in front of their posts, up stepped Robertson to extend the lead 10-5 Saints.
The game started to get scrappy, as penalties, re-set scrums, handling errors and injuries slowed the game down, this disrupted the flow and any pattern that Saints wanted to develop, whilst helping Romford’s pack to gather breath and build up a head of steam.
Suddenly from a couple of plays, Saints hit a great attacking play and King took a pass at pace and found herself some space to run untouched to the line and dot down under the posts, converted by Robertson 17-5 Saints.
The game being unusually played in quarters to allow controlled water breaks on a blistering hot day, the game was always played in a broken manner, this clearly did not suit the way Saints wanted to play and the final quarter demonstrated this perfectly, as the Saints tried to open the game up, with some success, but lacking the final pass and third of the pitch discipline that may have added more scores to the away teams total.
The final 2-3 mins belonged to the home side who pushed Saints back in to a rare defensive position in their own 22, finally saw the home side awarded a penalty, which was kicked to touch, a safe lineout and drive, resulted in a try, conversion missed 17-10 Saints.
Only a minute to play and Saints attempted to set the record straight by running the ball in to the Romford half, resulting in a penalty being award for an infringement, with no time to kick deep in to the home sides half and set the lineout, skipper King cleared the ball off for a relieved Saints to celebrate the win. Played 2 won 2.
Head Coach Brown said “although I am happy with the win, we have some areas to work on, which we will discuss on Monday at training, positives are outweighing our negatives at present, which is a good position to be in, the lineout is functioning well and scrum is efficient, however we need to work on the support lines and line speed, although we do set well and our basics are solid.