Hackney RFC 72 V Stockwood RFC 0
Whilst the score line would speak for itself in fact underneath the headline there is a great deal to be happy about .
Stockwood Ladies of 2017-2018 on a sunny day in August embarked on a new journey with a new coach and whole load of new players … and unless you know the history of the side you wouldn’t necessarily understand the huge improvement that is being seen. Sometimes devoid of structure, belief and numbers .. the one thing the girls have always had is a togetherness and a determination to enjoy themselves whatever happens.
This game was only the 5th time some of them have played a game and it was only the 5th they had played as a team …. What we did see was structure, a little belief and a squad of 20 … unfortunately a couple of the better players were unavailable but that just gives other people opportunity and experience .. which is what we need.
Hackney are top of the table and there is a reason for that .. pretty well drilled ..but the real ace up their sleeve was a winger of extreme fitness and pace ( to be honest should be playing at a much higher level than this ) and with a wide pitch took full advantage of her despite the best efforts of our never say die fullback Irish… who was heard to say (FFS) as the girl stepped inside her at pace to score the first try after 5-6 mins with a big grin on her face it has to be said. Hackney at every opportunity fed the ball to this girl and we even kicked it to her from the re-starts to add to the difficulties. She was so confident on many an occasion she would leave her wing and join in the opposite side as the extra person ..she had serious gas and it was too much for us.
However we won every one of our scrums and indeed pushed them back on their own a couple of times we made the gain line every time we took the ball into contact and our rucking was very good all day … Daisy made great strides giving us some go forward and the handling in the backs was good ..we just couldn’t break the line despite the best efforts of Debs , Sophie ,Aimee and Ellen … our 2 inexperienced wingers gave it everything (Chloe and Ally) but they would always struggle against a girl of this pace .
Dara ,Fran,Claire and Danni were working hard Tracey was everywhere and Faye and Cath always seemed to be the ones taking the ball into contact ..and setting it back I may add..
It wasn’t as if we didn’t have any of the ball .. just when they had it their line was so deep that they could always shift it out to old speedy on the wing.
At half time it was 53-0 and not particularly reflective of the rugby we were playing … but hey scoreboard doesn’t lie right?… We discussed the need to get closer to their back line to try and stop the ball getting out to the wing … with the oppo giving us no respite by not taking her off …. We started the second half brightly and defensively much better … being a little more aggressive with Alice and Kristie (making her debut this year) Shania coming on to have a go and get some game time under the belt. Having scored only a couple more tries midway through the second half the backs started to come up and then drift out and suddenly found themselves nearer to the oppo and started to put them under pressure and surprise surprise they started to panic a bit .. play became a bit broken and we were a match .. it was a shame we hadn’t done it earlier .. Sophie and DEBS were putting in some big hits and eventually managed to get hold of speedy right in the corner and knock her into touch .. with Katie and Aimee doing a pretty good job at organising and putting tackles in themselves .. it was a really good second half with the game finishing at 72-0 …. Only 20 points conceded in the 2nd half … massive improvement…
One of the oppositions spectators was heard to say that he thought our structure and gameplay was better than Hackneys because they were very one dimensional .. but when it works why would you be any different … for the record the other winger was a good player as well but not the destructive pace the other girl had … it would be interesting to see how it would be without her as she gives them a great deal of confidence …
Friendly team, nice hospitality and look forward to the return on our home patch next year …. We will be very different then .. that’s a promise
Forward of the match DAISY huge performance for the full game .. has the bruises to show for it
Back of the match SOPHIE big shoes to fill with Eleanor not playing and she was immense ….
Special mention this week for Cath … puts a huge amount of work in and as one of our more “experienced” players leads the way with her never say die attitude.
Well done Ladies .. two good games to come Haringey at home and Kilburn away …. Play like we have been and we have a shout ….