Old Albanian Saints 26 Henley Hawks Women 12
Henley Hawks women travelled round the M25 to Hertfordshire to face strong newcomers to the league; Old Albanian Saints. Keen to improve on two side’s first meeting at Dry Leas (38-7) Henley had a strong start, pinning OA’s in their own half for most of the first forty minutes.
OA’s opened their account first with a converted try after twenty one minutes (7-0). Henley’s dominant kicking and line-outs continually allowed them to attack in the right areas of the pitch. Not long before half time Henley’s constant pressure was rewarded with an unconverted try through the fantastic hands of Lininia Kaufana to be dotted down in the corner by Jemma Thripp (7-5).
After the break, and some impactful substitutes for the Saints’ they began to pressurise the Hawks resulting in a second (14-5) and third try (19-5) for the home side. Unlike previous weeks the Hawks women’s performance did not drop as the score began to open. Following on from the restart, a penalty against OA’s resulted in Chloe Baker diving over the try line (19-12). OA’s responded with a score under the posts taking the score to 26-12. Despite the penalty count increasing towards the end of the game Henley dug deep and kept Old Albanians out of their 22 meaning the Hawks came away with an all-important bonus point.
Players’ Player – Jennie Green-Hope. Playing her second match in as many years due to ongoing knee injures, Jennie was tenacious and a menace around the ball all afternoon. She stripped the ball from OA’s players on several occasions, turning defence into attack. And then in attack she used footwork to attack space and leg drive in contact in order to gain ground for us.
Coaches’ Player – Shira Kilgallon. “Shira led our line-speed and go forward in defence, relentlessly, all afternoon. Constantly applying pressure upon OA’s which led to several turnovers. In attack she kicked accurately when needed, ensuring that we played the majority of the first forty minutes in their half. She was instrumental in the build up to our first try also.”
Tina Simpson 200th Cap – What an outstanding achievement. She has also played 150 times for Trojans’ in Championship 1 South. To play so many games for one team is testament to her hard work, dedication and relentless commitment to the team, the club and the sport. Not only has she played this many games, I’m sure there will be more to come. She has been one of the first names on the team sheet so far this season and continues to be one of our most consistent performers. She is a role model to those around her. Here’s to the next 200. Well done Tina.
Coaches Thoughts – “The best performance of the season to date. All we as coaches ask of the players is an improvement in performance from game to game. And, since the 1st time we played Trojans in September, we have got that. We haven’t necessarily got the outcome from matches that we wanted, coming close to losing bonus points away at Hove, Thurrock and Bath respectively. But in the last two weeks we have picked up two losing bonus points. And they could easily have been wins.
In defence we were much improved and we hunted the ball down. In attack we played a large majority of the match in OA’s territory which put them under pressure.
The score was 19 – 12 to OA’s with 5 minutes left. They sit 2nd, 2 points off the top. The 1st time we met them they beat us at Dry Leas 5 – 38, this time around we picked up a losing bonus point and reduced a 33 point deficit to a 14 point one.
If we continue to show that hard work, that character, that level of improvement we will fight our way out of this relegation scrap that we are in and we will fully deserve to be in the league come next September.”