OA Saints – 28
Tonbridge Juddians – 27
Saints ended the season on a high with a hard fought victory over Tonbridge Juddians at Woollams. Both teams were sat in the top 3 of the League, with a cracking game in prospect, neither team disappointed, as a fast paced game kicked off.
The visitors bigger pack Vs the pace and power of an exciting Saints backline, looked to be the way this game would go. Clearly the home forwards and visiting backs had not read the script as the early exchanges proved.
First score went to the home side, with the play being very much in the Tonbridge half, some great link play between forwards saw Almond find a gap in the defensive line to sprint through under the posts for Collie to convert. Saints 7-0 Tonbridge
This fired the visitors up who responded with a good team try, after some strong link play, conversion missed, Saints 7-5 Tonbridge.
How would the Saints respond to this? Centre Caz Collie provided the answer as she went in under the stiks after some fast hands and strong running, Saints 14 -5 Tonbridge, conversion added by Collie.
Soon after, Almond went in for her second, again fine work by the whole side creating the opportunity. Collie converted 21-5 Saints ahea but not out the danger zone!
Tonbridge came back with renewed aggression especially up front, this eventually told as the grabbed a score back, this time adding the conversion Saints 21-12 Tonbridge. This preceded sustained pressure by the visitors as they looked to score again before the half ended. Some great defence and work ethic by Saints kept them at bay.
The second half saw both teams settle in to familiar patterns. Tonbridge needed to starve the dangerous Saints backs, while the home forwards had to break the stranglehold which the visitors were trying to impose.
The visitors pulled two scores back, fortunately their kicker was not having a good day with the boot missing both attempts Saints 21- 22 Tonbridge. A lose kick caused chaos in the Saints midfield until Almond found space taking the ball in to the visitors 22m, popping up for Scott, who was stopped short of the line, only for Johnston to pick up and cross the line, converted for Saints to regain the lead, Saints 28-22 Tonbridge.
The final exchanges were tight and eventually Tonbridge found a way to cross the Saints line for their 5th try, again the kick was missed Saints 28-27 Tonbridge. The last few minutes were nail-biting with Saints holding out for a fantastic team win against a very good Tonbridge side.
Head Coach Brown said “The game was played as we expected, fast with some great skills on show, arguably the best two rugby playing sides in the league served up a fantastic game of rugby for the sizeable crowd. I am very proud of the squad this season, with every player making a contribution on and off the pitch. Sadly today we saw a player hang up her boots after 13 proud seasons as a Saint, Barnesy has been an important player this season and for many before, certainly in my first one at Saints, she has been great to all players and a role model on and off the pitch, making my job easy”.