Saints Fail to Fire
Playing at the open public ground of Hampstead Heath has always been a tough away fixture for the Saints, and this match was no different. We are slightly feared in this league due to our strong reputation and potential to win the league , therefore Hampstead had no reservations that beating us was the only option by any means necessary!
The Saints kicked off by spending the first 15-20 minutes pinning Hampstead in their own 22. Unfortunately unable to convert the pressure in to early points, conceding a penalty, which was marched a further 10m for not retreating quick enough. The restraints now lifted, Hampstead started to grow in confidence and strung several phases together.
The question in players and supporters minds was who would score first and to the saints dimay the home side prevailed. 5 – 0 Hampstead.
Saints upped a gear or two, putting the pressure back on the home side, creating some good link play between forwards and backs, multiple phases later Robertson crossed the line and converted her own efforts, 7 -5 Saints led.
The remainder of the half was a tough affair with both sides trying to gain the upper hand, but to no clear outcome. Half time came with Saints just ahead and confident.
The second half began at a fierce pace from both sides, until Saints lost front rower Cook to a broken fibula, causing a reshuffle, which led to a loss in focus and direct play.
Saints tried to find their rhythm, showing spurts of good play, but eventually became fragmented, allowing the home side to get hold of the game and scoring to take the lead 12-7.
Suddenly Saints started to chase the game, making some uncharacteristic errors. The home side capitalised on this to score further tries to finish the game 22-7 victors, condemning Saints to their first league defeat of this season.
Head Coach Brown said, “Today was a tough lesson for us and the demands needed in the game, Hampstead are a good side of whom play a fast attacking game. The injury to Cook dented the side; we did not react quickly enough to changes, losing sight of the game structure. The game did give us some pluses giving 6 league debuts 5 of which are from the clubs under 18 Squad and another new player to join us this year. I have no doubt the squad will react to this blip, with the coaching group and players already looking at tweaks for an improved performance, luckily that opportunity is this weekend, as we visit Romford ravens in the Cup”.
OA Club Captain
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|Hampstead Rugby Club|
|Hampstead Rugby Club, Parliament Hill Fields, Highgate Rd, Highgate, London NW5 1QR, UK|