OA Saints 21
Hammersmith and Fulham 15
The Saints travelled in to London for the eagerly awaited clash with Hammersmith and Fulham. This particular away game brought back a few memories from last season bringing trepidation to some of the players. This would therefore be a true test of their character and determination.
The game started at breakneck speed, within the first 5 minutes Hammersmith were threatening the Saints 22 and found their way over for an opening score, extras missed. This was a real welcome to the jungle wake-up call. Saints duly responded with some slick hands, although not quite getting the final pass as accurate as previous weeks, maybe the blurred lines were not helping.
After some good linking rugby and with Hammersmith stretched under pressure, Kiff crossed the line for her first try at senior level, Robertson added the extras. 7-5 Saints
The restart again caused a few problems for the visitors which the home side could not take advantage of. Quick hands and forwards driving hard found the Saints back in the home side 22. Quick ball from a ruck found King, who worked her way through the defence and over the line, Robertson again added the extras, 14-5 Saints.
Nearing the break, Hammersmith come flying out of the blocks with a series of good tackles and pressure. Saints were staying alive, until the home side found a gap and squeezed over to score, kick missed, 14-10 Saints
Saints reacted and raided the Hammersmith half, some great hands a running lines spread the defence and a lovely offload from Centre Collie to winger Sims opened her up for a race to the posts This was Simms first club try, Robertson added the extra 2.
Half time Hammersmith 10 – 21 Saints
The second half became a real slog with lots of defending by both sides and Saints wondering just how they failed to finish at least 2-3 more chances. Feeling a bit thunderstruck, Hammersmith broke out and weaved their way in to the Saints 22. Some big hits in defence and a few penalties led to a Hammersmith try, the extras were missed to the saints relief.
The remaining 20mins or so contained lots of attacking and flowing rugby but no further scores
Saints won 21-15 at a tough venue.
Head Coach Brown said afterwards “We started slower than we have in any game this season and Hammersmith punished us, but I am a believer that this group of players never drop their heads, and fought back as I expected. Some of our play in patches was exceptional, however we were unable to build as the game was very stop start. We have a few things to work on over the coming weeks, mainly being more clinical in our finishing. To come away with a win against very tough opponents is a testament to their confidence and belief in each other, so I am happy”