In an encounter that typified everything that was good about the women’s game, Beckenham and Hertford played out a high quality thriller where the result was in doubt right up to the final whistle.
The visitors started the stronger and were using their powerful runners to make inroads into the Beckenham half but the home side were defending magnificently with Kath Gubb and Amy Hooton
putting in some big hits to keep them out.
Beckenham got themselves back into the game with some good work by their forwards, Alex Doyle
, Toni Lynch and Becky Hopkins
who were dominating the set piece. This gave Anna Plews
the opportunity to release Harriet Bold who cleverly mixed up her running and kicking game to create space for centres Vicky King and Lucy Hooton
After a strong run from Gubb, Sabrina Hammandu and Amy Hooton
were on hand to clear out the opposition at the breakdown and Plews was swiftly there to sweep the ball wide and Dave Mills
drew the covering defence before giving Sheree Long
the opportunity to go over in the corner for a fabulous team try. The difficult conversion was missed and Hertford came fighting back from the kick off and again the Beckenham defence was tested as the visitors dominated the remainder of the half. But all they had to show for it was a penalty to leave the half time score at 5 to 3 for the home side.
Beckenham dominated the early stages of the second half, good set piece with Sammie Livie finding Amy Hooton
at ease in the line out and with the quality ball they set up camp in the opposition ‘22’. Hopkins, Mills and Gubb were pounding at the opposition line but the Hertford defence was not giving way and whenever they managed to clear their lines kirsty long
and Lucy Checksfield were running the ball back to set up yet more attacks.
Eventually the inevitable happened when Bold ran a rehearsed move off first phase ball. Mills and Lucy Hooton
ran a dummy line and took the defence out of the equation and created enough space for Checksfield to scythe her way through and go in under the posts. Mills added the conversion to give the home side the lead by 12 to 3.
But Hertford responded with an unconverted try of their own to set up a grandstand finish. Both sides were playing positive rugby and the visitors looked certain to score as one of their powerful runners crashed through the middle and headed straight for the posts. But Beckenham skipper, Bold had other ideas and made a last gasp -match saving tackle much to the delight of the home crowd.
The same crowd were even more delighted to hear the final whistle minutes later and celebrate a victory by 12 to 8 and consolidate Beckenham’s position in the top half of the table.