After travelling 3 hours for the first away fixture of the season, Lakenham arrived at Hackney with a depleted squad of 18 and missing some key players. Also with temperatures soaring at 27°c it looked like conditions were against the Lionesses. However, the pre match warm up looked positive and Lakenham stepped onto the pitch feeling motivated.
The whistle saw Hackney kick off and instantly piled on the pressure chasing the ball and looking for the tackle. The Lionesses worked the ball through the hands and looked like a threat pinning Hackney into their own half. Disaster struck at the 1 and a half minute mark seeing centre Sian Keeping sent off the pitch after receiving an accidental boot to the face at the bottom of the ruck. Star player Laura Fearnley was the replacement and the game reset with a scrum. Lakenham looked the more dominant side in the scrums and were able to retain possession seeing this weeks captain number 8 Dani Pluckrose bulldoze her way up the pitch. However, aggressive counter rucking from the Hackney side resulted in the ball being turned over. Strong tackles noted from hooker Lauren Halliwell, second row MoM Josie Howl and centre Laura Fearnley saw Hackney's progress slowed but ultimately their excellent handling and aggressive running led to the first try of the match. Lakenham reset and attempted to pile more defensive pressure onto the wings as Hackney looked dangerous around the fringes of the pitch. However, the Lionesses were forced into the middle of the field to defend against the Hackney's fierce back row who repeatedly hammered the defence. The ball was finally moved out wide and the Lakenham backs looked to be in a perilous situation as the pace and strength of the opposition showed as they ran the ball over to score yet another try. The first half continued in the same kind of fashion with Lakenham unable to get back within Hackney's half seeing the score at Lakenham – 0 Hackney – 45.
The second half started with Lakenham taking the kick. The ball was chased and some monstrous tackles were pulled out by the Lionesses. A knock on was forced and the scrum set, Lakenham again looking dominant in the scrums. The ball was won and carried through several more phases of play before the ball was turned over from a kick which saw the Hackney 15 fly down the pitch and over the line. The half continued and the decision was made to end the game 20 minutes early seeing the final score as Lakenham – 0 Hackney – 72.
A huge thank you to the spectators who took on the arduous journey to support.
Thank you to Hackney Ladies who were gracious hosts and celebrated playing 2 ladies teams for the first time at the club.