Match report: SCRFC Ladies vs Cuffley Ladies
By Millie Ross
Streatham Ladies 1st XV secure their 10th win on the road in their last league game of the season.
For the last league game of the season, Streatham-Croydon ladies went on a journey around the M25 to Cuffley in North London to face their furthest opposition. Seeing 4 seasons in one day with hail, rain, wind and sunshine, the elements were a challenge throughout.
Streatham started strongly, playing with the wind they dominated territory, and it became obvious from the off that there would be a real battle at the breakdown. An early turnover by Mel Laidlaw-Anderson saw fly-half Millie Ross able to clear for distance and pin Cuffley into their own 22. A series of phase play with the backs being denied on multiple occasions eventually saw Mel Laidlaw-Anderson go over in the corner, which in the wind Jenny Frost was unable to convert.
The Cuffley strategy became transparent within the first ten minutes; one out runners as a tight pod with very little opportunity to turn the ball over at the breakdown. Skipper Paige ‘The Rage’ Abbs and back row Amy ‘Judo’ Ellis-Thompson were taking names early doors and denying the big forward runners any metres. Ill-discipline around the breakdown gave Cuffley multiple successive penalties that allowed them to progress down the field towards the Streatham line. A blistering run saw them held up over the line.
Streatham were able to exit well, and some good runs in the outside channel by Phili May and Amy ‘Baby Rhino’ Allen gained good territory. The referee returned the favour to Cuffley, deeming Mel Laidlaw-Anderson “held up” over the line, and calling the half time with the score still 0-5.
SCRFC came firing into the second half, ready to right the wrong. Some good attacking platforms allowed them to keep the ball in hand, and a brilliant inside line off 10 run by flanker Helena ‘Ribena’ Solomon saw her take on the full back and score under the posts. The softness of the ground (in combination with the fact that she's still wearing bright orange football mouldies in the depths of winter) meant kicker Jenny Frost slipped as she took the conversion so it was unsuccessful, bringing the score to 0-10.
Cuffley came straight back at Streatham with their tried and tested method for making ground, sending in pod after pod of forwards runners. Eventually they were able to strong arm their way over the Streatham try line which was well converted bringing the score to 7-10. Fly-half Millie Ross did well to prevent breaks as they continued to target her channel, and any breaks were tidied up nicely by a combination of scrum half Rachel Drapper and Streatham debut player Katherine 'Ken' Maynard.
The last 20 minutes of the game had Streatham practicing their, by now extremely well drilled, try line defence, something they have become well known for this season. Yet again, they fronted up and were able to keep Cuffley at bay despite wave after wave of attack through multiple penalties. After multiple warnings to the team, hooker Ana ‘The Slammer’ O’Connor was eventually the player sinbinned for going off her feet at the breakdown. Despite being down to 14, Streatham were able to see out the game and it was a relief when the full time whistle went and Jenny Frost was able to clear to touch. Full time score, 7-10.
Having won 10 of their 14 league fixtures this season, Streatham have finished 4th in the table topped by Sutton & Epsom, 4 points behind Hackney Gladies, just one point behind 3rd placed Battersea Ironsides, and eighteen points ahead of 5th placed Barnes Ladies. Having conceded the second lowest number of points in the league after the league leaders, they can come away confident in their defensive abilities and next season will focus on securing more bonus points. It is a remarkable achievement having moved over into NC London & SE 1 this season.
Next week, Streatham-Croydon Ladies Development XV travel to Brockleians ladies (Sunday 24th March, 2.30pm kick off). All players looking for game time should contact Rosie Carr and any supporters coming to cheer on next season’s stars would be welcome.
Forward of the match: Ana ‘The Slammer’ O’Connor
Back of the match: Millie Ross
Scorers: Mel Laidlaw-Anderson (1T), Helena Solomon (1T)
Streatham Junior Girls also played yesterday, joining with Warlingham Junior Girls to take away a 37-25 win with the 2 Streatham U15s scoring 4 tries between them.