After a heavy defeat last week Sirens had trained hard and focused on a more aggressive style of defending. Which they knew they would need against the formidable force of T-birds second string.
Things started well with the Reds getting some early territory and a few phases of play. Lineouts were being dominated by Kate Mitchell jumping like a pro NBA player on her debut.
With the usual fly halves both injured Rachel "Ratty" Crowhurst donned the number 10 shirt, adding a more physical dynamic, with the aid of centres Shannon Harold and Frances Hughes. All three would prove a handfull for any other back line. Hitting tackles hard and solid running throughout.
Both sides were playing assertive rugby in the near arctic conditions. Captain Debbie Walshe
never stopped running, Natalie Ward always in support and Karen Gibbs smashed Thurrock players back with every hit. Sadly, the first half was not without its victim; Kat Richardson and Lisa Gounden
both having to leave the field of play before half time after giving their all.
At half time Thurrock were up 54-0 and never looked like relenting. But the Siren's were still smiling...still ready to enter the fray with Walshe leading the way.
The second half was still all scores for the visitors but those there saw a more organised, positive, aggressive Sirens defense. The black and whites had to work for the tries. Siren's had more possession and territory. All the Reds stepped up a gear.
seemed to get a second burst of energy that didn't relent until the final whistle. Kerry Bowden and Heidi Rumble must have hit every ruck possible. Crowhurst, Harold and Hughes piled on tackles after pressured tackles and at points Thurrock looked like they wouldn't get through.
This pressure soon told as with mere seconds on the clock Sirens threw together a stunning period of perfect play that involved everyone. Forwards cleared the rucks perfectly, the half backs controlled the crash balls, passes down the line...but to no avail as the last pass wasn't to be.
Thurrock are a well drilled team and so scored plenty of tries, particularly through their backs link play. However, the Stanford Ladies never gave up and showed real spirit, even coming close a few times to scoring in the second half.
Special thank you to the local girls who came to support the Sirens. We all appreciated it hugely.
If Stanford Ladies play like this for the rest of the season, especially defensively, the results will turn. The spectators that were on the home side are all proud of you girls for never giving up and the coaching staff all agree there are many positives to take from the experiance. After all thats what makes this sport so brilliant...the spirit. The passion.