The first game back in the New Year is always a challenging fixture, trying to remember what running feels like after overindulging during the Christmas break. The ladies had a strong first half of the season in 2018, and whilst they had won 6 out of their 8 fixtures, they are going into 2019 targeting bonus point wins.
Streatham got off to a flying start, sporting their new gray away kit (sponsored by Pratts and Payne Streatham) with dominant possession and territory. After spending a period in the Barnes 22, number 8 Mel Laidlaw-Anderson made a break from the back of the scrum and an extremely neat out the back offload went to scrum half Dani Reynolds who scored the first try of the game in the corner. Streatham continued the pressure and not long afterwards a tidy move in the back line created a hole for outside centre Phili May to step around the defence and run in under the posts, which with the conversion by Jenny Frost brought the score to 12-0.
Having established their position in the game, Streatham unfortunately took their foot off the pedal somewhat. A period of ill-discipline in defence gave away multiple penalties which allowed Barnes to progress up the pitch, well into Streatham territory. Streatham’s notorious try line defence was solid, culminating in the ball being held up over the line. From the resulting 5m scrum to Barnes, Streatham’s defence continued to be strong, and eventually winger Amy "Baby Rhino" Allen (pictured) managed to smash the Barnes player into touch. Jenny Frost’s left foot did well under pressure from the line out to clear Streatham from the danger zone.
This was the wake up that Streatham needed and they came back at Barnes with renewed aggression. A messy ball from the back of the scrum was picked up by Allen, who stepped her way through the defence to just short of the try line. Great support from flanker Helena Solomon saw her pick up the ball and go over for Streatham’s third; Frost's conversion hit the posts bringing the half time score to 17-0.
SCRFC were confident going into the second half but knew the backs would need to get more ball in hand in order to secure the elusive bonus point. Another break down the blind channel by Laidlaw-Anderson with a great inside ball to support runner fly half Millie Ross nearly saw the finish, but she was brought down short of the line. Tidy forward play saw second row Katherine Cowling go over for the try, which Frost converted, 24-0.
With 20 minutes to go, Streatham were now actively working towards the all-important 5th try. The game was somewhat frustrated by silly penalties and stop-start play, but Streatham were predominantly playing in the right areas of the pitch and getting the ball to wingers Allen and Rachel Drapper to make headway towards the Barnes 22. When Barnes had the ball, Streatham’s defence was concrete and they were able to contain any threats. Eventually a fantastic line from flanker Helena Solomon on the inside of the fly half saw her cut through the Barnes defence to score a brace and Streatham’s bonus point try, 31-0.
Barnes had a few more attempts to get on the score board in the last few minutes of the match, although even with game put to bed Streatham’s defence did not let up. With a Barnes lineout in the final play, Streatham went through multiple phases of tackles, and eventually replacement front row Rhi Kennedy turned over the ball. Great reactions from what was a standout performance from Laidlaw-Anderson got the ball in to the hands of fly half Ross, who switched the play to put full back Ana O’Connor into a gap and steaming over the line to put the icing on the cake. Full time score 38-0.
Next week the ladies host East London at home, 2pm KO Sunday 13th January. All support would be gratefully appreciated.
Forward of the match: Mel Laidlaw-Anderson
Updated 10:38 - 7 Jan 2019 by Millie Ross
Back of the match: Phili May
Scorers: Dani Reynolds (1T), Phili May (1T), Helena Solomon (2T), Katherine Cowling (1T), Anastasia O’Connor (1T), Jenny Frost (4C)