Sunday 16th October 2016 saw the Saints return home for a fixture against the old foe Beckenham RFC, this promised to be a tough encounter, would the Saints build on last weekend’s unlucky defeat and bounce back with a victory, this was the question the players, supporters and coaches were asking.
The game started in a somewhat erratic fashion with both sides taking a few plays to find any real rhythm, after several attempts by each side to break the deadlock, it took a quick tap from another penalty awarded in favour of The Saints, who then put 3-4 phases together, which resulted in Gallimore scoring to the left of the posts, extras added by Robertson 7-0 Saints.
The restart caused a few palpitations amongst the home support and gave the visitors a chance to score, however the home defence was in a buoyant mood and showed early glimpses of the afternoon ahead, shutting down the opportunity. After more exchanges Saints were forced back in to their own 22m, with Beckenham having a rather tall front jumper, the call and execution had to be near perfect, from the resulting lineout, Saints ran the ball up the middle, after a series of well-timed passes and great support lines, McKenna found herself clear to round under the posts for a fantastic team score, extras added 14-0 Saints.
A few passages in play from both sides signalled each team’s intent to play open rugby, much to the delight of the now growing crowd. A lost scrum by Saints ended in in a turnover at the breakdown setting the record straight, with a blind-side break by the midfield resulting in several players touching the ball before McKenna scored to the right of the posts, extras again added 21-0 Saints.
Half time was approaching as Beckenham upped their tempo forcing the home side to concede a penalty in the red zone, a tap and go, plus 2-3 phases saw them cross the line for an unconverted try 21-5 Saints. The half ended soon after.
Now the questions were which Saints side would appear for the 2nd half, and how would Beckenham respond? The answer unfolded later, as the visitors started the half, as they finished the first, their energy was good, but the Saints’ pressure would not allow them the space to threaten, forcing them in to several rash clearance kicks, one which was returned with interest, as Collie found her way over the line, after some good hands were shown by forwards and backs. Conversion added 28-5 Saints.
The game then struggled to live up to the previous half and opening few minutes of the second, after the home sides playmaker left the field to recover from a late looking hit, Saints were forced to make a couple of positional changes, as now both half backs were on the side lines. Eventually the player maker returned, and Saints relaxed back in to their patterns and started to control the tempo once again, quick ball led to King crossing the visitor’s line for another score, extras added 35-5 Saints.
The re-start went straight to Collie who found space and offloaded to the supporting Bebbington who split the defence to race 50 plus metres for a score, again the extras were added 42-5 Saints.
The game then slowed for a few minutes, as substitutions, fatigue and injuries started to play their part.
With the clock ticking Saints attacked once more, gaining a penalty inside the visitors 22, some good linkage between forwards and backs followed, with the ball finding its way to Collie, who scored her second and Saints final try, extras missed 47- 5 Saints.
Head Coach Brown said afterwards “The score is pleasing to look at, but more importantly the performance showed real class, discipline and great team ethic. The players have risen to the challenges set by them and myself each week, this performance has been building for the past three games, we still have some areas to develop and will focus on them in the coming training sessions, the playing group and coaches are very open about their targets and goals, which is helping us to move forward on a week to week basis.
The squad now have a week off before making the journey to a tough Blackheath side; we look forward to the challenge and travelling support from the club members”.