So on a sunny Sunday afternoon the Ladies had their first away game in the League with the short journey to Hitchin …
With a fabulous squad of 22 and plenty of support too there is no doubt we are gaining momentum with our Journey.
Wasn’t sure what to expect when the Ref announced before the game that he had sent 2 Coaches off this season already and that I should be aware that his daughter used to play at Hitchin albeit she was at Uni now… and as it transpired I needed to expect nothing as that is what we got ..(not that the result would have been different, but that is not the point)
Anyway … we started very brightly and for the first 10 minutes or so had a very even battle albeit in our own half … with Dara and Fran leading the contact and Katie and Aimee organising the team we look structured and generally held ourselves together well and defensively were sound. However we dropped our intensity a bit and this gave Hitchin a bit too much momentum allowing them to score after 15-20 mins or so ..
Hitchin play with a lot of aggression and intimidation and with very specific attempts at handing off on the face whilst not strictly against the laws are certainly on the edge of what is acceptable.
With Irish making her normal saving tackles .. Eleanor all over the pitch in defence we held ourselves together enough .. but started to pick up injuries and conceded a couple more scores quickly . We really need to compete more at the breakdown as we are allowing teams to have too much of the ball and by the 5th or 6th phase of an attack the opposition tend to be able to find some space .. albeit they have had to work for it.
We galvanised ourselves well and played for the last 15 mins or so of the half within 10 metres of their line … we put together lots of phases and found Hitchin committing penalties at the breakdown Amy ,Dara , Daisy ,Faye ,Tracey and Fran all working hard as we kept inching towards the line ..Debbie and Cath trying their utmost to get through and get the ball wide to Ellen or Ally to score .. Hitchin kept us at bay but through conceding 6 or 7 Penalties in what is known as the red zone .. for me this is either a Penalty Try or a Yellow card as they were deliberately fouling to stop the play/momentum and on 2 occasions this led to a break out by Hitchin to score ….. the second half had a very similar flow to it .. although by this time both Katie and Aimee were off injured with Cat doing the scrum half duties and Alice Lisa and Chloe… coming on to give it a go.. Shania playing in various different positions giving her all. Hitchin managed to score regularly but again we never give up and for the last 10 mins of the match found ourselves doing exactly what we had at the end of the first half but his time with 8 or 9 penalties to keep us at bay .. again we were not awarded anything for this and ended up scoreless and 53-0 result.
Personally I feel this not to be a fair reflection of the game perhaps a 39-15 would have been more indicative of how we had played. The last time we had played Hitchin we were on the end of a 93-0 scoreline so to have almost halved this shows a great improvement considering the intensity with which Hitchin play.
My last comment about this game is surrounding the ref …we accepted every decision as we should and showed him a large amount of respect as is the Rugby way …. But he refused to shake my hand at the end of the game and I find that unforgivable ..