A squad of 18 made the journey from Norfolk to Romford and felt hungry for that elusive away win. Keen to build on the intensity and skills covered at training, Lakenham looked dangerous from the warm up demonstrating focus and drive.
The whistle blew to signal the start of the game and Lakenham took the kick off. The ball was chased and caught by a Lioness but the ref pulled it back because the ball hadn't quite made the 10 metre mark. Very strong in the scrums, Romford looked keen to keep the ball in hand and work the phases up the pitch. However, their plans were scuppered by aggressive counter rucking by Lioness flankers Jenna Ray and Jasmine Donovan who managed to gain the turnover. Strong carrying saw the ball pushed up the field pinning the home side within their own 22. Within touching distance of the try line the ref called a penalty for infringements around the ruck area seeing a disappointed Lionesses side set for a scrum. The Ravens managed to get the ball out of the scrum quickly, thanks to a fierce strike from the hooker, and saw the ball worked along the hands to the Romford full back who kicked the ball over Lakenham's defence. The Ravens were quick to chase seeing the speedy winger pluck the ball from the air from the bounce and sprint down the pitch managing to plant the ball securing the opening try of the game. Lakenham coach Dee Mann came striding onto the pitch to offer tactical advice before the game reset seeing Romford again receive.
Strong tackles were noted from number 8 Chloe Travis, second row Josie Howl and fly half Lauren Halliwell. Enjoying her first start for the Lionesses, winger Natalie Cornish managed to turn the ball over in the contact area before being tackled to the ground. Strong rucking secured the ball seeing scrum half and captain Sophie Bambridge ship the ball out to the forwards seeing several phases of play along the field before the Lionesses found themselves within 5 metres of the line. Quick thinking from a messy ruck saw the ball passed out to fly half Halliwell who spotted the gap and ran through tackle attempts seeing the ball grounded for a well deserved score. Resetting, it was Romford's turn to kick which saw the ball caught by this weeks hooker Lizi Williams. Taking the ball into contact, the ball was knocked forwards seeing a scrum set. Excellent positioning from the Lakenham forwards saw the ball won back and passed out to Dani Pluckrose who found herself playing centre this week and powered through the defence utilising her trusty hand off before finally being grounded within the 22. The ball found itself in the hands of second row Imogen Pitcher before being offloaded to prop forward Chloe Halliwell who managed to add more precious metres. From the ruck area the ball was passed out to winger Cornish who ran into the contact area but saw the ball move out of play into touch. A beautifully executed lineout saw flanker Ray make a nuisance of herself in the air snatching the ball and managing the offload to captain Bambridge before fellow back row player Donovan found herself with ball in hand. An excellent tackle saw the ball grounded just a couple of metres from the try line. Feeling a flurry of excitement, the ball was shipped through the hands before finding itself with MOM centre Laura Fearnley who turned on the pace and used her quick feet to dodge through the defensive gaps getting the ball safely over the line scoring her first try for Lakenham.
Romford did not appear fatigued and took the kick off for the reset immediately executing a physical tackle. Despite the fact that Lakenham looked to be dominant around the breakdowns the Ravens countered beautifully and managed to force errors which ultimately led to a penalty. Looking for ground the ball was kicked for the lineout. Romford managed to retain possession with a well practised performance but the ref blew his whistle, the ball was not thrown in straight. A scrum was awarded but Romford were clearly outraged and threw themselves into the scrum leaving Lakenham with no alternative but to absorb the impact. The scrummage was messy but the ball found itself in the safe hands of number 8 Travis before being shipped out to centre Pluckrose. Again finding themselves within touching distance of the try line Lakenham worked the phases, repeatedly hammering the defence before the ball was called out and saw fly half Halliwell repeat her earlier performance by powering over the line to score another 5 points which she then converted. The energy was palpable as the closing minutes of the half ticked by finally seeing the mid way score as Lakenham – 17 Romford – 7.
The second half started with Romford taking the kick which landed in the hands of centre Pluckrose. Flying up the field she saw herself dragged to ground around the halfway line but managed the offload to supporting player in centre Fearnley. Devastating speed saw several tackles slipped before finally being caught by 2 players who refused to allow the feisty centre get to ground, however, their grip was lost as the visitors' support play drove over her managing to force her to ground. The forward pods were ready to go seeing impact player second row Alex Bunn take the ball at pace and rush into contact before being grounded. Next was the turn of the back row to shine as they bound onto each other and piled into the defence. Inch by inch Lakenham managed to claw their way up the pitch before having their momentum stopped at the 5 metre line. Unable to penetrate further the Lionesses kept up the intensity before the ball was called by replacement fly half Jasmine Collins who offloaded to centre Fearnley who skipped around the defence to score her second try of the game. The conversion was scored and Lakenham could taste victory.
Keen to keep the momentum going, the ball was caught and rushed into contact but Romford were ready and turned the ball over but disaster for them saw the ball knocked forwards and a scrum set within their own half. Lakenham seized possession and the ball was shipped out to centre Pluckrose who danced through the defence and rocketed over the line for another try which was converted. The half continued to look as through Lakenham were the dominant side but the resilience of Romford was apparent as play hovered around the centre of the pitch with little movement and plenty of turnovers either way. Eventually, after Romford kicked the ball for a penalty it was caught by full back Alana Carpenter who came straight up at the Ravens before offloading to centre Pluckrose mere seconds before being taken to ground. Seeing the defence as an inconvenient obstacle, Pluckrose again managed to dart over the line to score her second try of the game. Coach Dee Mann looked at her watch and noted that with less than 10 minutes left of the fixture Lakenham were one score away from a bonus point. Pushing their way along the pitch the ball found itself again in the hands of Lauren Halliwell who had changed position to prop forward and who managed to draw the defence before another offload came to Pluckrose who finished the job by planting the ball down over the line to finish the scoring and secure the bonus point.
A strong and dominant performance have seen the Lionesses seize 4th place on the league table and finish a monstrously successful weekend for Lakenham Hewett securing a double victory with the final score as Lakenham – 41 7 – Romford.