It was snowing again as we approached Barnsley and we thought the writing was on the wall. When Louisa scored our final try with three minutes to go to take the lead we knew it was all over!
Playing on the bleakest pitch ever seen, that Barnsley nickname “Siberia”, on the very top of the hill overlooking the town of Barnsley, knee deep in mud, sleet falling from the sky and the wind blowing it was a day for brave performances and big tackles.
The Old Northamptonians started well with great hands allowing Ella Halcrow to round the opposition and sprint 60 yards for the first try. A few minutes later a miss move in the centre again made space for Ella to sprint up the wing, with two covering players coming across she made a great pass back inside for Louisa Burgham to run in under the posts from 30 yards, Steph Warlow’s conversion was to prove decisive later.
Barnsley started to apply the pressure creating turnover ball, combined with strong running and more hunger for the ball on the floor scored 3 tries in the first half. The ON’s did not help themselves by passing the ball to players in a worse position than themselves. Half time score 15-12 to Barnsley.
Great defence in the second half together with some very cold players, on both sides, struggling to hold onto the ball and complete passes, the game got bogged down. The pressure was all coming from the ON’s, Lucy Long failed to ground the ball over the line with five minutes to go, was the chance gone? The players believed it was still possible, Louisa ran strongly from 15 metres out and extended her arm to put the ball down on the line 17-15 to ON’s and lots of celebrations.
The last three minutes were played out, the whistle blew and the muddy, cold, wet ON’s hugged and jumped for joy – what a win!