“A comprehensive team effort, there are many things left to work on but the team can feel confident going into rest of the season”
Throughout the long hot summer training on Streatham Common, the ladies have made the most of the break to recruit some new players, work on their fitness, and implement substantial changes to their approach to the game and overall structure and playing style. With the sun still shining and the warmth of summer in the air, there was a buzz of anticipation in the return to Frant Road and the old faithful crowd that came to support were not disappointed.
Streatham came firing out of the blocks, stringing together some good attacking phases and keeping hold of the ball. An early attacking scrum managed well by the pack and scrum half Dani Davies gave a great platform for the backs and fly half Millie Ross took the ball to the line, and delivered a flat pass for centre Phili May to fly through a gap in the defence and run in the opening try of the season under the posts. Ably converted by Ana O’Connor.
The pack’s dominance was further evident when they turned over a defensive scrum, and it looked like Cuffley might struggle to get their hands on the ball. However, with Cuffley losing a prop early in the game and having no front row replacements, they had to go uncontested at the scrum. The home side initially allowed this to affect their game somewhat and after an attacking phase from Cuffley culminating in try line defence, a series of penalties led to Cuffley going over at short range for what would ultimately be their only points of the game.
The uncontested scrums allowed Cuffley to have a few phases of attack but they were well contained by strong Streatham defence, and any breaks in the outside channels saw the ball returning to Streatham hands with some exceptional turnovers from flanker-turned-fullback Amy Allen.
With Streatham dominating at the lineout and in the loose, swift hands to new recruit winger Charlie Uden saw a break down the right wing. Great support play across the team saw the ball go through the hands of nearly everyone on the team, with front row Rosie Carr picking it up off her laces to ship it wide to Mel Laidlaw-Anderson who crossed for Streatham’s second, bringing the half time score to 12-5.
Streatham felt confident that they were the better team but knew that they would need to finish their opportunities if they were going to come away with a bonus point win. The second half started well, with Ross breaking the line to offload to centre-turned-flanker Helena Solomon who went in under the posts, converted by O’Connor. With Kat Tucker and Katherine Cowing dominating in the lineout, and captain Paige Abbs and front row Alix Bushnell making aggressive carries down the middle channels, it was only a matter of time before another full team effort saw the ball go wide to full back Allen for her first of the season.
With all the preseason fitness demonstrating its worth, both Solomon and May managed to pick up a brace in the last 15 minutes of the game. A comprehensive team effort, there are many things left to work on but the team can feel confident going into the rest of the season and look forward to their next game away to Hackney on 23rd September.
Forward of the Match: Alix Bushnell
Updated 11:00 - 10 Sep 2018 by Millie Ross
Back of the Match: Phili May
Scorers: May (2T), Solomon (2T), Laidlaw-Anderson (1T), Allen (1T), O'Connor (3C)