Match report: SCRFC Ladies vs Worthing
A late second half performance sees the ladies 1st XV see off Worthing 24-10.
In the last few matches Streatham-Croydon ladies have been able to put out fairly unchanged sides and a strong bench, both of which have been important factors in their wins. This week the team sheet looked slightly different and there were fewer finishers, which may have led to some nerves for Coach Nic Verdino. Indeed, after the long journey down to the south coast, the first half was not the high standard that we have come to expect from the team.
Worthing put the travelling side under a reasonable amount of pressure at the breakdown and unsupported breaks often led to Streatham losing possession. However, the defence for both sides held strong and the first half was something of a stalemate. Streatham were disappointed to lose winger Amy Allen early in the game to an injury but she was ably replaced by new addition Katie Corr, a fresher at Chichester University, who put in a solid performance across the board. After a period of sustained presence in the Worthing half, Streatham were finally able to capitalise after neat hands from front row Rhiannon Kennedy put nippy winger Erin Fairley in the corner. With only a few minutes to go before the end of the half Worthing came fighting back and eventually managed to turn pressure into points with a similarly worked try leading to a half time score of 5-5.
The second half saw Streatham settle into a much more comfortable rhythm. Returning centre Anastasia O’Connor, who broke her ankle on tour with SCRFC in the spring, was moved to 12, and utilised her strong distribution game to make the most of our pace in the outside centre channel and in the outside backs. A series of pick and gos from the forwards created space for O’Connor to bust through the strong Worthing centres, carrying a few with them over the line under the posts as she went over for Streatham’s 2nd try of the game, converted by Dani Davies.
After this, Streatham implemented much more structured play, with the forwards sucking in the Worthing defence creating room for the backs. One flowing move which was almost certainly a try was thwarted by a rushing Worthing defence forcing full back Davies to knock on. The back row looked mobile in the back line and this tactic proved effective with O'Connor getting a great offload to Vice-captain Mel Laidlaw-Anderson, who handed off the Worthing full back to go over for Streatham’s 3rd, which was converted again by Davies.
Streatham’s final score was perhaps one of the best team tries we’ve seen this season. A clever chip through from full back Davies, one of many in the game, put the Worthing winger under a great deal of pressure. Davies and Laidlaw-Anderson linked up well on the chase, creating a maul which Streatham were able to charge forwards and win the scrum. Slick hands from the backs got the ball out to Corr on the wing, but she was stopped just short of the line. Good phase play allowed Streatham to keep possession and again O’Connor’s exceptional distribution put the ball in the hands of Erin Fairley who showed great strength to go over in the corner. In a mirror of the first half, Worthing were able to get into the Streatham half from the kick off and go over in the last play of the game for a consolation try bringing the final score to 24-10.
The win keeps Streatham-Croydon 3rd in the table, just 3 points shy of both Medway and Canterbury in 1st and 2nd, and 4 points clear of Ashford in 4th. The ladies now face St Francis away next week (10th December) for their final fixture before the Christmas break. All support will be very welcome.
Forward of the Match: Katherine Cowling
Back of the Match: Dani Davies
Scorers: Erin Fairley (2T), Anastasia O’Connor (1T), Mel Laidlaw-Anderson (1T), Dani Davies (2C)