Sport has a happy knack of bringing you back down to earth and Stockwood Ladies experienced just such an experience this weekend.
With the runaway League Leaders, visiting the park with a previous score of 72-0 in the bag, this was another chance to see our development against a team that had brushed us aside previously . Without a few of the regulars
this was also a chance for the finishers to make an impact.
We had discussed some tactical differences as Hackney have a fast back line and quick wingers so it was important to try and stop the ball getting wide.
From the start Park made a few phases and were looking good only to turn over the ball and knock on for a scum almost in the centre of the field. Hackneys no 8 picked the ball from the base and brushed aside a couple of park players to score under the posts after 2 mins.. with the conversion made not the start we were looking for .
With Hackneys confidence on the rise .. we certainly seemed to galvanise a bit for the next 5 minutes with us pushing them back with a few phases and keeping the ball well ,then from their 22 somehow the ball is lost and they attack on the short side with some great covering tackles from Debs and Eleanor ,Dara makes a great midfield tackle as Hackney swing back the other way for Irish to dump their winger into touch
From the ensuing lineout we are pushed backwards even though we have possession and Katie is forced to touch down herself for the 5 metre scrum.
Hackney keep the ball alive for a few minute but good Stockwood defence kept them at bay .. finally they manage to get that little bit of space and go wide .. for all thre world it looks like the girl was put into touch by Irish .. but the ref again can only give what he sees .as our Linesman had gone absent . and after 14 mins it was 12-0..
Again we had a couple of good phases into their 22 to only be caught on the blind from a scrum and the no 8 popped to their winger who ran in from a long way out and went under the posts .. with the conversion made after 20 min its 19-0 and we now need to dig deep as every mistake we were making was ending in a score . simple I suppose stop making mistakes ..
For the next 10minutes we have possibly our best phase of the game picking and driving off loading before the tackle Daisy and Fran making good progress backed up by Dara and the Fayes spreading wide to the backs but we
couldn’t quite penetrate .. but Hackney were in their 22 and under a little bit of pressure .. once again we somehow cough the ball up and Hackney were very adept at moving the ball quickly the full back joined the line to slice through and run again all the way from their 22 to under the posts and with the conversion made on 30 mins 26-0..
Once again we then force them into their 22 for the remaining as it turns out 10 mins and keep them there whilst hitting their brick wall defence . unfortunately we lose Cath to a twisted ankle and at half time it was 26-0
Now as I said previously we were 56-0 down last time we played so you cannot argue there is improvement.
With a few injuries and re-shuffle we are not quite as intense in the second half and it doesn’t help that less than 2 minutes in Hackney score again, like a carbon copy of the first half we get into their 22 put them under pressure make an error in the backs which was seized on and again their speedy now inside centre runs all the way under the posts.
With another break off a scrum we defend by sucking in a bit which allows the ball to be moved for an overlap and another score .. we are starting to fall away a bit and with a few harsh words we set for the re-start
For the remainder of the game we cant really get out of our own half and whilst defending resolutely .. didn’t do enough with our own possession on to make a difference and from a scrum the 8 went blind and had enough to carry herself over to score and with one final score right on the whistle it ended 53-0 . we never give up . .but something wasn’t quite right .. taking nothing away from Hackney who are well drilled and organised and thats the reason they are winning the league and we should look to play like they do ..
All in all its another improvement but a bit of dent after last weeks euphoria .. Another game this Sunday .. need to count the walking wounded getup and go again
Aimee had a great match as did Faye 2 .. and Eleanor made her tackles as normal big thanks to everybody for their efforts shame about the last score as a 40 odd point loss would have been a better reflection ..
Nice words from the Hackney Coach and Girls as they commented on our improvement .. remember this is only the 9th game as a teamin this league..lets not let the expectation run away .. keep working hard and it will come .