An interesting weekend for the Championship North 1, with a top of the table clash and a relegation clash. Unfortunately the Swans are battling for the latter.
With the girls knowing how much this game meant, preparation was key. A good warm up, was backed up by a solid start to the game, piling on the pressure from kick off.
However despite this pressure the Swans weren't able to convert any into points.
Once the away side had managed to escape their 22, they made good ground very quickly. With the swans working the scramble defence well, they were looking for turnover ball. However they were too keen to win the ball and a penalty was conceded right in front of the posts. Novo's took the points. 3-0 (15mins)
The Swans stuck to there game plan and worked very hard across the park, Sophie Lepper leading by example hitting everything that moved, carried the ball very well and causing chaos everywhere.
The balance in the back row was superb, with Sophia Maynell working very hard around the breakdown, turning over a lot of ball. Meanwhile Chantal Trigg was feeding of the scraps caused by the 2 above.
Pressure was key today, and with Katie Clark putting boot to ball Sam Cleaver and April Hambridge forced the away sides back three into awkward positions and Sam is certainly not afraid of a tackle, dumping the Novo's winger into touch. It was tackles like this that inspired the home side, putting them in the right places.
This meant that when the injury of Jean Lambert at fly half happened a re-jig was forced at half time, and without a natural fly half in the squad Katie Clark moved across with Chantal switching to the centres.
The second half got quite scrappy, but given the conditions it was always going to be a tough on. With the game going end to end and both side getting good ball in the right areas. It was the away side who got the next score, crashing through the middle to score under the posts. (55 mins). The game was still far from finished.
With the home side tiring slightly and the away side on a high having lead the game, another change was made moving Bec Bray from 9 to the back row. This didn't really change her game too much as she was fighting left, right and centre for the ball, helping the back row gain turnovers, distributing the ball when necessary.
However it was when Novocastrians had a scrum on their own 5m line and the Swans applying massive pressure pushing the scrum backwards and then following this with a charge down, all to no avail you sensed that it just wasn't going to be our day.
Forward of the game could have gone to a couple of players, however the work rate at the breakdown and the amount of turnovers won meant this week Sophia Maynell gets the award.
Back of the match went to Bec Bray, who was quite frankly the 4th member of the back row, ensuring that we looked after the ball, kept the pack working, and her overall work rate was sublime.