Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Herts Women push Middlesex all the way

Middlesex 20, Hertfordshire 15 (HT: 20-0)

Hertfordshire ladies started their 2009 county rugby championship off with a combative performance away to favourites Middlesex.

Playing at Grasshoppers rugby club in London, the facilities were excellent and the pitch, though firm, was very well kept. The side were lacking some cohesion after having had only one training session prior to the game, and that with a depleted squad. However, Herts showed no lack endeavour against a strong Middlesex side that were very used to playing with one another.

In the first half, Herts started well and managed to build periods of pressure that, unfortunately, were not turned into points on the board. Simple errors cost Herts both points and possession. Middlesex capitalised on these mistakes and were able to run in 4 tries which flattered them on the scoreboard.

During the half time team talk, Captain Nadia Brannon gave a rousing team talk with coach Gareth Lewis giving the team areas to improve upon.

In the second half, Herts kept control on the ball much better and started to put Middx under pressure. Herts nearly scored after some brilliant support play, only to be stopped, illegally, just short. Captain Nadia took a quick tap penalty, span out of the attempted tackle and dived in to score a good individual effort to cap off some brilliant team play.

Perhaps sensing that Herts were back in the match and putting them under intense pressure, the Middlesex players started to drop like flies. At virtually every stoppage there were one or two Middx players down injured. This disrupted the flow of the game and Herts did well to maintain their focus. One injury was very real though and a Middx player had to go to hospital for an x-ray after one particularly crunching Herts tackle. She was accompanied by Hertfordshire winger Helena, who was suffering breathing difficulties after a crushed chest.

After this enforced break in play, Herts picked up where they had left off. Fullback replacement Megan making a good break, feeding winger Mihi who in turn offloaded to back row forward Geri in support to run in a stunning support play try.

Back in the game, Herts threw everything at Middx and were rewarded with another score from winger Mihi before the end but couldn’t quite catch up the lead they had given up in the 1st half. A Jekyll and Hyde performance in many respects, small errors giving up points but great team work, defence and attacking play, Herts can be proud of their performance and take many positives into their next game at home versus Kent.

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