OA Saints 10
Blackheath Ladies 25
In this eagerly awaited top of the table clash, it was the visitors who left with the spoils and with it a bonus point.
Saints started well, controlling the early exchanges and moving the ball between forwards and backs, however with no scores on the board Blackheath started to wrestle back some of the possession and territory through their bigger forwards, playing a very tight game in contrast to the Saints, who looked to open up the play and attack from all areas of the field.
The first half was becoming a real battle of attrition between the two 10m lines with the odd burst through towards each 22m but with both sides cover tackling being on song, no scores were recorded in the first 20-25 minutes. It wasn’t long before the diminutive but pacey opposition 15 found some space and raced away to the line, unconverted try;
Saints 0-5 Blackheath.
With the half time closing in, Blackheath started to use the heavier pack to punch holes in the Saints defence, a catch and drive saw them crash over the home teams line for their second score, also unconverted.
Saints 0-10 Blackheath.
Saints push forward in the second half, until a penalty against the attacking side saw Blackheath clear the danger, setting up play inside the Saints half. Unable to contain the tight visitors game, holes were appearing and soon Blackheath had registered their third score, Saints 0-15 Blackheath. The score saw Saints lose two players with a clash of heads, handing debuts to two new players just turned 18 form the Junior Saints squad. Soon after, Barnes ‘the engine’ at openside had another knock to the face and had to be escorted off the field.
Saints upped the pace with several quick rucks and carries, this was the real Saints standing up, Blackheath were forced in to a kick down field, gathered by debutant Almond breaking the two kick chasers tackles before setting off on a strong run, before finding King who finished off with the score, conversion missed Saints 5-15 Blackheath.
Straight back in to action the visitors pushed hard for a score which would give them a bonus point at least, after some sustained pressure they crossed the Saints line for the fourth time.
Saints 5-20 Blackheath.
Saints were not to be rolled over quite so easily and pulled a score back through full back Almond, after some great link play by her team mates, conversion missed;
Saints 10-20 Blackheath.
With the game almost over Blackheath wanted more and were rewarded when the crossed the Saints line again, although it appeared to be knocked lose by the defence, it was given and the score finished Saints 10-25 Blackheath.
Head Coach Brown Said “Although the performance was not of our usual clinical or pacey selves, I could not fault the effort given by the whole squad today, to lose 3 starting players before half time, dented our mind set for a few minutes, having said that 2 players made debuts and a couple of players were returning after knocks, giving them more game time than planned was not a bad thing in the bigger picture. The players are naturally downbeat, but we have a game this weekend away at Chesham and I am sure the squad will relish the chance to put this performance behind them so quickly. We have some tired and bruised bodies to rest, we will get back on track”.