Last Sunday in the glorious but punishing 26 degrees, Sophie Messem (Captain) lead the Emeralds out for their 2nd league challenge V Streatham & Croydon.
The intensity was at full throttle from the off with Streatham & Croydon winning the attacking game in the first 15 minutes. Camped in the Irish 5 meters for 6 minutes, the Emeralds defended their line for 3 successive scrums, held up twice, with their fourth assault finally resulting in the 1st try if the game for the opposition @ 15 minutes of play.
The Emeralds responded with a better attacking phases of play but it was Streatham & Croydon who would capitalise on some unusual handling errors and lose of possession from the Emeralds to run in 3 further tries in 16 minutes. Facing a score line of 4 tries but no conversions the Emeralds regrouped and starting to chip away at the mounting lead. A Streatham & Croydon yellow card for a high tackle and with 4 minutes to go to half time, Ellie Smales (Number 3) made a break away run and scored the Emeralds first try of the game. The half time score settled at 5pts.- 20pts, the Emeralds had significant work to do.
The second half kicked off with the Emeralds running in a masterful try by Niamh NiCraith (Number 14) resting it unchallenged under our posts, Jemma Smith (Number 4) converted it with ease. A 12-20 score line looked and felt more convincing for the Emeralds. It took another 14 minutes before another score registered, and again it was the Emeralds. Hari McCormack (Number 8) carried with stealth and determination across the line for the Emeralds third consecutive try but the conversion failed to land on this occasion. At 17-20 it was anyone’s game.
Streatham & Croydon rallied and again capitalised on their rucking game scoring a further 2 tries in the last 15 minutes. With 6 tries but no conversions for Streatham & Croydon, the full-time whistle blew on a 17-30 result. Streatham & Croydon secured the winning bonus point and the Emeralds resigned themselves to a loosing bonus point on this occasion.
Defensive & Backs Coach Paul Fyfe said “We are frustrated with our performance today at times, but we won the second half, came from a 15-pt. deficit to within 3 pts of the oppo and overall finished strongly. With only 2 substitution changes made in this game we saw the stamina and resilience in our players as a result of the preseason conditioning. We recognise we have areas to develop and address ahead of our next game, but the potential and ability of this squad is undeniable”.
Try scorers: Ellie Smales, Niamh NicCraith, Hari McCormack, Jemma Smith (conversion),
Substitutions: Sophie Bennett for Eleanor Turver, Chloe Nash for Edie Brazier.
Next league game October 6th away to Havant Ladies RFC- KO 2.30PM